My kids are all asleep, after a regular long week. Did the laundry, made the meals, almost missed the bus a few times. Went to Target, forgot about snack, washed all the soccer stuff for a game that is now rained out tomorrow. Paid bills, went back to Target, found lost stuffed animals. Kissed boo boos, washed knotty girl hair, picked up tub toys, had meetings, meetings, meetings; explained to kids about said meetings. Promised I would be home before they went to bed, broke that promise because meetings went long. Kissed nighttime sweaty post bath asleep heads, wishing I had been home to read stories, looking at copies of Mr. Bump and Wacky Wednesday that had been laid out in case I made it home in time. Stayed up at nights after the baby got up at 4am, worrying about random things. That poor girl who was kidnapped and found dead. What her mother must be going through. Worried about whether or not the kids have gotten their flu shots, if I remembered to schedule their check ups. If I remembered to get an oil change, adding it to my mental list. Worried about needing to buy new gloves, snow pants, boots, hats, winter gear. Worried.
I’m a mom. I’m a parent.
I miss the times when all I worried about was getting to class on time. If I had enough money to go out that weekend. I took those days for granted, I complained about them. Over and over again. I wish I could shake the much skinnier and more attractive me that had oodles of time to waste and say "GET ON WITH IT AND ENJOY YOURSELF NOW". Not that I didn't, but I wish I hadn't complained quite so much.
And I thought when I was a parent I would be THE BEST MOM OF ALL TIME. Sew their own clothes, make homemade meals, be an amazing wife, have a career, decorate my dream house amazingly, just generally kick life's ass in all aspects. I thought at least most of those would happen...
One emergency c-section later I was brought down to earth. Hard. I was thrown in, wanting to be thrown in, unprepared to be thrown in, to life with kids. I guess sometimes, six years later, I still feel like a week or two (or six) of catch up time would be nice. You read all the baby books, you prepare for labor, it's all great. But, where is the preparation for toddler time? When do you get a break to prepare for potty training? When you are waiting for that first baby you plan and you plan. But that's it. No extra time to prep before they are peeing in a potty in your family room. Boom. It's just one long big ride with no stops in between straight on till teenage town. Buckle up baby. Oh and if you have more than one? Get your shit together, because multi-tasking just took on a whole new level. But I digress...
I don’t mean this as a way to complain. I mean it as a way to say that I know how hard even the “easy” stuff can be. And sometimes even the easy stuff can seem impossible. Maybe you have a new baby at home, maybe you don’t, maybe you are pregnant, maybe you aren't. Maybe you just have one and the little tiny demands just pile up and up until they seem insurmountable. Get them here at this time, try to feed them something remotely healthy which they will then refuse, give them a bath which they will then complain about being too short or will just complain about having. Make them their favorite dinner from last week which they will this week proclaim to be gross. Try to them coerce them into eating said dinner. Don't feel bad when throwing out healthy dinner and giving them nuggets.
Sometimes there are days when it seems like even if you have the most amazing kids it all feels like work. You don’t want it to, but it does. You love them to little tiny bits and pieces, but the idea of putting one more child in that tub even if its just for ten minutes seems like it will just push you over the edge. You will just. Lose. Your. Mind. If they knock on that door one more time when you are just trying to get your first shower of the day, your patience is tried. Snapped, even.
Until they go to bed. Then you feel like crap sometimes (other times, "crap" means "celebrating"). Then you think, I shouldn't have been so short tempered. And the time goes by, and the worst part is, as the time goes by they move away from you quicker. They make these new friends. Who is Caleb? Is he a nice boy? You're having an alone play date? You worry again. The time slips away from you like sunlight and even though there are great times there weren't enough great times, they grew up too fast and you yelled too much and didn't do enough crafts and didn't make enough special pancakes and now they have a girlfriend and you can't tell if that's a beauty mark or a facial piercing and what was her name again anyway?
And you know, I'm going to say it is hard even with kids that don't require any extra special attention. The parents that can do the above and beyond, I reward you personally with more accolades than there are stars in the sky. You deserve more than you will ever get back most likely. Try to ignore this whining, please.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's okay to feel burned out. To feel like you are always coming up short.
Finn’s soccer coach emailed all of us parents tonight, “Sleep in on Saturday, see you Wednesday” at 11:45pm tonight and I could have kissed him I was so happy (don't worry Mrs. Soccer Coach, it was only for canceling practice I assure you). Finding four shin guards (Lev’s coach canceled too) two jerseys which I hope are clean, four cleats, two pairs of shorts...all to hear "I don't think I want to go to soccer today..." A reprieve sounds nice.
And I realize I'm being a bummer. And maybe I sound like I am, in my twenty minutes between "family stuff/work" and "work work" and "sleep" and getting up and doing it all over again. And weekends? What happened to you? You're more work than weekdays! As far as I'm concerned Monday is the new Friday for parents! But you all know what makes it worth it. Finn filled out a questionnaire last year, saying "My mother is great because _" and he filled in "she works hard" in his little penciled in newly learned words. It broke my heart. Slaughtered me. Because he recognized it at five years old. Because he thought it was worthy of being great. I wanted to ask him about it, wanted him to explain it, to give me even more, but I didn't. I framed it. It sits on my desk. I look at it every day. It will stay there forever. I will never receive an honor higher than this. It brings tears to my eyes, as I sit here, so tired from my life as a mommy, both because I'm exhausted, and because I truly know why it is worth it. I was lucky enough to freeze a space in time to remind me.