I have said for some time that parenting is the toughest job I have ever had, even tougher than the year I cleaned houses for the summer. A lot of people think that teaching kindergarten is a tough job. And some days it is. But in many ways, it is MUCH easier than this whole motherhood gig.
At school, I teach these 20 precious children. I teach them academic skills like reading, writing, counting. And hopefully along the way I teach them some life skills like being responsible, self-control, and cooperation. Now even when it is evening, these students flash through my mind as I try to figure out how to help them be successful in the classroom. But overall, once 3 o'clock comes, they are no longer my "responsibility".
Now my own 4 precious children...they are ALWAYS my responsibility. Even when they aren't with me, like at school, they are my responsibility. I am responsible for every aspect of their lives...physical needs (for some reason, they like to eat), emotional needs (hugs, words of encouragement), spiritual needs (teaching about God, praying together), social needs (getting along with others), financial needs (school supplies, braces), character (patience, love, honesty), and the list goes on. That is a HUGE job. Times four!
Now, throw in one perfectionist personality, and all it equals is failure.
Try as I might, I cannot be a perfect mom.
I never call my children the right name. Ever.
I sometimes forget to turn in permission slips, lunch money, and other school notes.
I turn down camps and other social activities when I am feeling overwhelmed with all that is going on.
I sigh. Alot. See, I just did it. And there are times when I am being asked questions or hear "Mama" that I sigh. Loudly. Alot.
I also have been known to roll my eyes.
I sometimes turn on a movie for the kids just to have a little peace and quiet.
We probably eat out too much.
Most of my children do not eat veggies no matter what I try. One won't even eat fruit.
I require a "quiet" time every afternoon so I can take a nap (that only works in the summer and on weekends).
I sometimes nag.
And I sometimes yell. Not often but there are days I am at the end of my rope.
On occasion, I have called my husband and begged him to come home and help me deal with the masses.
And a time or two I have wished for a minor, painfree ailment that would put me on bedrest. In isolation would be even better.
I don't always know how to handle discipline/behavior issues.
My kids are not perfect.
I am not either.
And every night, I go to bed thinking about all of the "wrong" things I did. In my mind, they are mountains. I worry. I fret. I beat myself up.
A few days ago though I realized something.
I don't do everything wrong.
I think I have mentioned I am reading "Raising Your Spirited Child" which I plan to share more on later.
We have not one but two spirited children (and another one I would classify as "spunky".
Some days are challenging.
And while I don't always handle the things the right way, a lot of times I do.
Like calmly explaining the rules of the household which are the same rules we have always had...sometimes my children seem to forget them anyway.
Or responding to a screaming child with a quiet, calm voice even if I feel anything BUT on the inside...
Or when I am settling dispute #56 for the day.
Or answering question #675...before noon. With minimal sighing.
Or grabbing a few towels as my child spills his/her milk (right after I warned that child that it would spill if they kept playing...).
Or picking up scrap paper and craft items that just mysteriously finds its way into my living room or on my table.
Or even when I stick to my guns on a consequence even in the face of wailing and gnashing of teeth (in hopes that next time we will have a different outcome).
Or when my nice morning at home ends up being a morning of errands, all children related (appointments, camps, etc...).
I am not perfect.
But I don't do it wrong all of the time.
In fact, some days I am not so sure there are too many qualified for the job I have (with this crew anyway :).
I am learning to remember the things I do right.
I am giving myself permission to give myself a break.
How about you?