Tug-of-War: The Game of Life

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Tug-of-War: The Game of Life

The game of tug-of-war was always my favorite in gym class when I was in elementary school. I loved the rush pulsing through my veins when my team was pulling their hardest to get the other team dragged through the dirt. But then so quickly being pulled and yanked across the lawn, only to land on my friend’s hand, as we fell to the ground defeated.

So often, I think motherhood and tug-of-war go hand in hand.

Life lessons were learned about motherhood while on the grassy lawn covered in dewdrops. Those lessons would not surface until I became a mom, a long time after the push and pull of the childhood game. The constant ebb and flow of life, unexpected twists and turns, ups and downs, the excitement of what is to come next, and the unknown always keeps me on my toes as it did in the yard of the playground.

The past few months, while staying home and social distancing once again has become a game of tug-of-war. Daily, there is a feeling of being pulled in both directions.

Should the kids wake up at their leisure or stay on some sort of a schedule? Do I limit phone use or allow it to become their sixth appendage? The mess of their rooms, leave it to the mice that may appear claiming salt & vinegar potato chips or help keep it neat and organized? Do I stay home, or how can I help others?

These are strange times for all of us, and we are all simply trying to find a balance. Finding the balance of everyday life was already, at times, a struggle, but since COVID-19, a balance seems almost impossible. What I have realized, all of those nights wide awake at 3 a.m., is that all I can do is try my best. It sounds silly, simple, and maybe a bit juvenile, but for me, that’s it in a nutshell.

My best is enough, and I need to be confident that even though there is a push and pull at the present moment, a balance will once again emerge.

Maybe I just need to go back to my nine-year-old self, on the playground in Florida, and feel the confidence I radiated while walking towards the thick white piece of roping that lay on the ground for a game of tug-of-war. When I picked up that wide rope, I gave it my all. I wasn’t going to give anything less than my best to not disappoint my classmates or myself. But guess what? Even when the balance was lost, I dropped the rope, dusted off the dry dirt, and moved on, ready to find joy in other parts of the day.

And that is how I am going to approach each day, while the six of us are at home, attempting our best at finding a balance. I am not going to give anything less than my best. When I fail, and there are a lot of those moments, I am going to dust myself off, move on, and exude confidence in the next task at hand without looking back.

The white rope of tug-of-war will continue to be present, but I can celebrate the wins while also accepting the defeats, rather than letting it take over. Because isn’t this what life really is all about…a back and forth to truly find the best version of oneself?

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Ali lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and her husband. After moving around a bit as a child, she spent her teen years in Westchester county, moved to NYC for college and returned to Westchester fifteen years ago. Prior to having the girls, she was an English teacher, and on the side always enjoyed writing with the hope to one day publish a poetry book. In her free time, Ali enjoys going on long runs, browsing independent bookstores, catching up with friends. She is in a constant state of doing laundry, cooking, policing arguments, driving to and from activities, and trying her best to be the kind of mom her girls will admire, even on her worst days. Ali is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart. You can follow Ali on Facebook at https:www.facebook.com/hangintheremama/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hang.in.there.mama