|You don't have to be perfect to be an awesome parent.|
I can feel that day looming on the horizon. Every day, it seems to inch closer and closer, and there is not a thing I can do about it. The other night, I was laying in bed doing my nails. The light was off, but I had the bedside lamp on, which is typically more than enough light. My husband and I began debating something that required me to read the back of the nail polish bottle. It was that moment I realized I had the eyes of someone who is middle aged. I blinked a few times, squinted a little, I even moved the bottle closer to my face. It was all in vain. I couldn't read the damn white print. I was convinced the issue was the bottle until I turned on the light and the words magically appeared on the bottle. Every day, I get one day closer to being thirty seven years old. It is happening and I can't change it.
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.
You know, it wasn't that long ago that I was a teenager. I remember how it was, even though you may not think I do. I remember how endless the school days were, which is why I am excited to hear about what you did, when you walk in the door. I know how annoying parents can be, so I realize why you roll your eyes behind my back. I even remember making that same semi-growling noise, when I didn't want to be bothered. Believe it or not, I remember exactly what it was like to be a teenager. It really wasn't so long ago, even though you may think we are so different and I don't understand you at all.
I remember when I was young, standing in front of my mom’s vanity. I would hold up her jewelry to my neck and ears. When she allowed, I would put on a bit of blush or lipstick. I was in awe of my mother, she was beautiful. My mother worked all of the time, but she still took care of my brothers and me. In total, there were four of us. I was the only girl and the oldest. My mom made everything look so effortless. From making us a hot breakfast each day to always looking beautiful for my dad. I wanted to be my mom.
Each day I am so thankful that my children and husband have incredibly low standards. I really believe this is the only reason I am still around. I truly think that the reason my kids insist I am the best mom in this world is because they have nothing to really compare it to. If they ever watched The Brady Bunch, I would be screwed.
I see these other moms, with their homemade, pre-digested toddler snacks and biodegradable yoga pants. I feel like a failure. My kids drop an Oreo on the floor, I brush it off and hand it back to them so I don't have to listen to the whining because it is the last one. Why is it so easy for other parents? Why can they do it all and I am barely holding it together?
Every few months I get a blast of my own mortality. I get sent to the cancer center where I have to have some treatments done. I do not have cancer. I am one of the few lucky ones there. I have something wrong, but the doctors aren't quite sure what it is. Anyhow, I have to go to this cancer center and get these blood treatments. They are long and tedious. I am stuck there for hours.
I hate being there. People look at me with pity, trying to figure out what is wrong. The husband and I try to make the best of it. We take lunch with us, and we have a date while I am getting my treatments. We sit there and talk. When we run out of things to say, we watch television in our little cubicle. When we don't have a sitter youngest joins us. He is the highlight of the day for each person there. Youngest brings a smile to the face of every nurse and patient in that awful place.
I can't be the only one. I know I can't. Most moms have to feel the same way I do. Holy shit, can't I just get two minutes for myself.
Why is it so hard to find any time at all where little voices aren't yelling "mommy" or the husband isn't asking where something is. In truth, I believe I deal with it pretty well. I take it all in stride, and go with it...most of the time. But then, there are those moments. The ones where I am making the mental list of everything that I still have left to do that day, dinner is burning, someone is tattling on another, and the husband feels the need to have some in depth discussion about something right at that very moment. I feel like my brain is going to bleed and all I want is quiet.
There has been much ado in the news over the Ray Rice scandal. The question at the forefront of everyone's mind is why his then girlfriend chose to stay in an an unhealthy and abusive relationship. The truth is, only women in that situation can truly understand why you choose to stay. Everyone has their own reasons and they are all different. My first marriage lasted ten years. It was riddled with abuse, both physical and mental. I chose to stay, until I didn't. There was no moment of enlightenment for me, I just couldn't do it anymore.
We enter into this world knowing that we will eventually bury our parents. It is a horrible, sad reality of life. Every once in a while, fate gets it wrong and the parent is the one left behind. It is one of the most heart wrenching experiences anyone can ever go through, the death of a child. It does happen though, and that moment changes the parent forever. When my little girl died, it altered who I would be for the rest of my life.