Seriously, if anyone told you how hard it was, you wouldn't believe them. If you did believe them, and actually comprehended just how hard it was, the population would be severely depleted.
I can do the little things. I can pick out clothes, I can give great buzz haircuts, I can roll some mean sponge curlers but the rest? I feel like I am in one of those goofy high school movies where the clumsy girl trips, stumbles, stutters and flounders. That is my life. Give me the hard stuff like teaching right from wrong and how to interpret the gray area and I am grasping at straws. Disciplining - probably just making it worse.
I am quite positive I am messing up, continually. When E comes to me with some emotional drama of Pokemon proportions, I lose my patience. When he falls to the floor when I refuse a Wendy's trip (which, let's face it, would be easier than actually preparing a meal - but that isn't the point, is it?) and wails, "YOU MEAN NEVER, EVER, EVER AGAIN? WE WON'T EAT NUGGETS EVER, EVER AGAIN?" or when I tell him that we don't always get to have play dates and he falls to the ground and say, "YOU MEAN I'LL NEVER PLAY WITH FRIENDS EVER, EVER, EVER AGAIN?" or "YOU MEAN I CAN NEVER, EVER, EVER HAVE FRIENDS? I SHOULD JUST NOT MAKE ANY MORE BECAUSE I WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER PLAY WITH THEM?" and I reply, "No, Eli, never, ever, ever will we eat at Wendy's or her farm cousin up the road. " or "Yes, Eli, stop making friends. You have no need for them because you will never have another playdate." You think I jest? I have made these replies. I have scarred him for life I am sure.
Or when I am tired and it is tv time (I truly believe in this, for my sake and theirs'. Of course, they are only watching the Science or History channel, I'm not completely negligent) and Caroline comes to me with a question about why Cinderella's sisters are so (historically) mean to her or why the Wicked Queen would ever poison Snow White and I look her in the eye and say, "Caroline, what is the rule? We don't ask questions, we just watch for entertainment remember?" True. We don't encourage questions in our house. It is what it is. Just do what you are told. Or go ask a teacher, but for Heaven's sake, leave Mama alone!
I am mildly joking. But truly, this task is all consuming. It is day in and day out. There is no stop to the parenting. This is what we signed up for, knowing the importance or extent or not. We, I, am molding this generation. And believe me, my kids know when I mess up.
Last week, I was sick. I hadn't felt well in days, my head pounded and I swear my kids never stopped talking. And why should they? They should chatter and interact all day with me. But sometimes, sometimes I just want quiet. Contented quiet. Caroline was being a pill (gasp! Caroline wasn't perfect and picture worthy? I hear you, unbelievable.). She refused to let me brush her hair. She refused to get dressed. She refused to brush her teeth and she was treating Joey horribly. But I had to brush her hair. We had errands to run! I had no time for such antics. So, I stood her between my knees and I brushed. I brushed sloft (Caroline's request and word - slow and soft). She whined and cried. So, I threw caution to the wind and brushed with intent. More dramatic crying and then came the fight with Joey. He tried to take a plastic recorder (the instrument) from her and instead she swung it back and hit me HARD! Of course, it was by accident but I let out a scream that is still cringe-worthy when thought of. And I gave her hair one serious brush and then threw down the brush and threw my head in my hands and sobbed because I wanted to be invisible. I wanted to be alone. I didn't want to break up anymore squabbles, I didn't want to make any more lunches. I didn't want to make any more dinners that children refused to eat. I didn't to be the bigger person or have patience. I wanted to throw things at the wall and see them shatter - and I didn't want to have to clean up after my tirade.
Dave saw the wild look in my eye. I had already sent Caroline to her room - more for her safety than for me. I sat with my head in my hands for a good 5 minutes. Then I went into her room and laid next to her on the bed and held her. She was tired too. She was tired of being patient with her 2 year old brother and her grumpy, sick mom. She was tired of a mom that doesn't like to play dolls or get all the paint out because it is messy.
I know I complain about being needed all the time. Of course not every day is me ruining lives, one neglected teaching moment at a time. I'm doing my best. Some days I am magnificent, most days I am mediocre to pretty ok, a few days should be magically erased from their beautiful little noggins. I say I am molding them, but really they are molding me. I wake up each morning with the resolve that today I will be a better mommy. I will be kind, gentle, patient. I will be a great example of industry and domestic bliss. I will know exactly what to say, to answer each question and to guide them merrily on their way and then by 10 am I am once again falling, stuttering, rolling my eyes and gasping for air. But hopefully, to them it looks like I am dancing, singing, batting my eyes lovingly at them and good posture.