|You don't have to be perfect to be an awesome parent.|
The one thing that I am exceptionally good at is producing very head strong offspring. The one thing I really had to work at was learning to parent them. Each one seems to be more difficult than the last. Some days are much easier than others, but in the end I know that I am sending very unique and individual children into the world. It is just getting them there that proves to be difficult.
Many nights, I wake up to reach for my husband in the middle of the night, and instead there is only his pillow beside me. For many women, they would love the break from the snoring or the enjoyment of having the entire bed to themselves. Instead, I dread when my best friend is gone for work. It is like a piece of me is missing. I want to curl up in a ball and just wait for him to get back home to complete me again. Instead, I have to keep going because I have three little people who count on me to make breakfast or to play board games. I knew exactly what I was getting into years ago when we met. At the time it didn't seem like it was a big deal, I figured it was a small price to pay for such an amazing guy. Then, reality hits.
After three children, volumes of parenting books, and two mother in laws I could probably write my own book on raising children. Instead, I can make it pretty simple. Laugh.
In our tiny, crazy family of five, things are not always ideal. The kids bicker and fight. There are days the hubby and I barely talk even though we both work at home. We have bills and payments just like every other middle American family. There are days that it is actually really, really hard to keep it together. Even on those days, we laugh.
Middle child is turning ten. She has been in this world for nearly a decade now and they have been ten of the best years of my life. I love that little girl more than anyone can possibly imagine. She is my world, as all of my children are. So when middle comes home from school crying because kids make fun of her or abandon her, it breaks my heart. As a parent, you talk your child through it and wait for things to pass, but with middle it doesn't go away. All summer she has been dreading this year. She knows that kids can tell she is different now. She knows she is different. I try to tell her that different isn't bad, it is beautiful and wonderful. But when you are ten, you don't want to stick out, all you want to do is fit in.
Each time we go to grocery store, middle child stares at the covers of the tabloids that are in the check out line. It is my fault also, I get distracted with putting the groceries up on the belt, so I don't stop her. But, she is just fascinated with the covers and what stars are getting fat or who has cellulite or who is the skinniest currently. These magazines sit at a nine year old's level and shout out, "This is what you need to be in order to be perfect."
There are days that I feel like I am always on the losing end of a constant battle with the kiddos. It started with time outs and escalated to taking toys now we take electronics. Then, oldest grew up. Now, we discuss consequences. However, since he is a teenager, he is never wrong...and since I am the parent I am always at fault.
When I became I parent, I always said I would never spank my children. I would never use phrases like "because I said so" or lie to them. I was so full of shit. My young, naive self had no idea that you do whatever it is that you need to, in order to make it through the day. There are three of them and one of me. They wear me down and then spring when they smell weakness.
It dawned on me, last night, in the hotel, we are THOSE people. As the baby was screaming at top of his lungs and it was 11 o'clock at night, we are the ones that people cannot stand. We are the ones that most people stare at in the restaurant while youngest chucks food at us and middle child is singing us some new song she learned. Oldest is typically hunched in the corner wishing on everything that we are about to tell him he is really adopted, and he has no real ties to this insane family. The husband and I are typically rolling with the punches and making the best of it. Getting pissy does no good, so we generally just don't do it anymore.
I remember a time when I lived alone, and I took it for granted. I was young and so oblivious to how fortunate I was. I could walk around naked and no one complained. There was no one to barge into the bathroom when I was peeing. I could sleep until noon and it didn't matter. I wasn't responsible for anyone but me. I kind of have roommates now, and they are awful. Times have changed.
In any relationship there are times that you find yourself in a lull, right? Times where kids, work, friends, everything else seems to come before each other. I know it happens, it has happened to us. I hate that it has, but instead of letting it go on we changed it.
Our general rule of thumb is: if no one is going to die because we don't do it, then it doesn't HAVE to get done. Because of this rule, we find much more "us" time and much more "family" time. This adds much more balance to our family. We also realize that in order for our kiddos to be happy, the husband and I need to be happy. Our relationship needs to be healthy and needs to be a priority.
There are many days I feel like I am being pulled in fifty different directions. I feel like I am completely falling apart in multiple facets of my life. I work harder at one thing, yet three others slip. I feel like I am doing a shitty job. I lay in bed at night feeling like a failure. I know that I am not alone in this feeling, because there are billions of other mommies in the world. It is our nature to feel like we are not good enough, even when we are perfectly adequate.
Middle child has therapy at our home twice a week. Now that it is summer, this is draining. It usually happens in early evening. This means an entire day of entertaining kids, cleaning house, mediating fights, spending time with the husband, dealing with an angst filled teen, and attempting to rationalize with middle and youngest.