Sometimes I feel like I’ve got this parenting thing under control. I know I’m no “expert” in parenting (but let’s be real – who really is?!) but I know what my girls need, what they like and what they don’t. I make sure they eat well, have a regular bedtime, practice their letters, work on their reading and limit their TV time, so they can discover their imaginations. I work hard to keep our home clean, keep the germs away and keep them healthy. We hug often, say I love you even more and try to make sure this place, our home is a safe one.
For the most part they are well behaved sisters who love each other, share, play and encourage one another. They’re helpful daughters, polite girls, compassionate friends and intelligent creatures that never cease to amaze me. I realize the majority of those traits have zero to do with Corey & I, and everything to do with who God’s created them to become but I still like to think we play a roll in the molding process.
Then there are the other times. When there are too many treats, not enough sleep and the girls are melting down. Sometimes it’s the little girls that are melting down, but others times it’s the older one, the “grown up” one. Someone comments on how “often” our girls get sick, how I should try feeding them better and “tink” my self esteem starts to crumble.
Some days they don’t get along. It’s one battle after another. It’s hurtful words that slap their sister in the heart, the shove that gets her in the arm, the selfishness and disobedient, obstinate nature that takes over.
I get frustrated. I get angry. I shout more than I like, stress more than I should and at times say things that require an apology later. There are privileges lost, punishments given and in one fell swoop I feel like a failure. Like all of the things I thought I was doing so well are really just a farce, an illusion I let myself believe.
Then I look around at the other Moms, and I feel worse. Let’s face it we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, not our bodies, not our homes and not our parenting, but we do it anyway. At least, I do.
From the outside they have it “all together”, they never raise their voices, they’re always patient and their hair is always in place. In one fell swoop I feel even more inadequate and it really has nothing to do with those I’m looking at and everything to do with me.
Lately I’ve been battle those “less than” emotions. The thing that’s triggered it? The fact that it’s been 2 years since anyone in this house had swimming lessons. The school is starting lessons with Bethany this week and I feel sick to my stomach that it’s been so long since she was at the pool for lessons.
What’s worse? Is that Audrey has NEVER had swimming lessons. Oh, they’ve been booked but every single time they’ve rolled around we are either in hospital with her or just out causing us to cancel. Pools are a dangerous place to take a kiddo with the issues Audrey faces and so I’ve avoided it. Fear won out.
Now, hearing about all the lessons the other kids have had, I feel like a flop.
Then to ice the cake Christmas saw more treats than normal, more TV and less routine. The girls were fighting, I was yelling and all I could think was “You’re NEVER going to be good at this. NEVER”. My heart wanted to stop the frustration, gather my girls in my arms and cry. Instead I had to make dinner and administer time outs & consequences.
It’s not an easy road this parenting gig. I know that. Nobody’s perfect, I know that too. It’s just that some days knowing those things and feeling them are like knowing burpees are good for you and doing them.
I don’t really have a point today. Mostly I needed to vent, and maybe I wanted to share in case you’re in the same puddle I am. I’m doing my best (most days) I know that, I love my precious girls unconditionally and will protect them fiercely, I just need it to be enough.
I guess what it is, is that sometimes knowing that we’re not the only ones struggling with the “day to day” grind of raising our kids makes everything feel a little better.