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.
I am so proud of my children. I really do have the best kids anyone could want. Granted, there are some days I like them a bit more than others. But, all in all, they are pretty awesome.
Even having the best kids in the universe, it does not make this whole mom thing any easier. There are so many times I question everything I am doing, and to what extent I am screwing them up. I try so hard to do everything right, but it is just so damn hard.
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.
The first time I saw her I fell in love all over again. I knew the feeling because of oldest child, and I didn't think my heart could possibly hold anymore love. It could, and it did. When I met her she was absolutely beautiful and she still is.
Middle child is the exact opposite of me. I am a tomboy and she is the epitome of a girly girl. She loves nail polish and makeup. Her favorite color is pink and she adores anything with glitter. I like understated beauty and glitter makes me itch. Raising middle child is a challenge.
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."
Yesterday I was sitting on our front patio talking to middle child. A group of kids walked by and she got very sad and quiet. It took her a bit, but finally she told me what the problem was. "I want a group of friends like that, but everyone just leaves me out of everything," she told me, "my cats are my only friends, but they can't talk."
I told her, "That isn't true at all, I am your best friend and I always will be."
She replied, "It isn't the same, mom. You have to be my mom, not my friend." She is right, and I didn't have a response. I wanted to cry, as my heart broke for her.
As a parent, I want to fix everything. I want to make everything better by putting a band -aid on it and giving it a quick kiss. Unfortunately, middle child is reaching the age that her problems won't be fixed so easily.
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.
Middle child repeats things. Not just once, but many, many times a day. To the point it would drive the sanest human mad in a matter of minutes. If I wasn't her mom, I don't think I could cope. Instead, I take a deep breath and I answer her same question for the fourteenth time by ten in the morning. I smile to myself, and I realize I am lucky to have such an amazing and intelligent little being in my life.
It is road trip season again. This means, if you have more than one child and you are driving more than ten feet down the road, you will hear fighting in the car. Siblings tend to find anything to pick on each other about. The husband and I can vouch for this first hand. We have also found an amazing way to combat it.