As a mother, we strive to be “good”, to do our best. You always need a goal. Sometimes you reach it and sometimes you’re left feeling the weight of a job not well done. And then you start all over again.
I have a boy and a girl, 8 years apart. I am 47 years old. And these are my stories.
Opinions are like noses, we all have them. But are we entitled and allowed to have them? If I find it hard to find a voice to express them, I may not feel I’m allowed to have an opinion in the first place. As a woman, it can prove tough not to judge myself for what I have to say as necessary or valid as I’m considering actually saying it. Then I may choose to keep quiet. I have my own internal bouncer at the thought door checking the validity, wittiness, or profundity of my outgoing thoughts and opinions. And often, they’re...read more
Today was Fiona’s fourth birthday party and it was a complete success, by her standards and mine. Yes, she got enough Frozen themed party paraphernalia and stuff to satisfy all Frozen itches for a decade. And I got to bask in the knowledge that me and my daughter matter to all these lovely people. The reason I go to such efforts to decorate and to heap yummy food on my kitchen table is a tribute to the love that these people have for and show me and my family. My gratitude runs very deeply. I am almost speechless but then, not quite,...read more
It’s conflicting to be a parent. They are of me but not mine. I need to be open and honest for them to trust me. But I need to keep a safe distance when they have to work out who they are because sometimes, that work is at my expense. Frankly, my children will bully me to get their needs met. They’ll be disrespectful but only to me. It’s business, not personal. They’re working themselves out and I’ve got the bruises to prove it. My son’s a bully when he wants more screen time or when he needs food because...read more
My fellow Mom and I were standing there watching our children do laps at the Christmas train show. And I mused how it was hard to find that middle ground in between that place where everything your child does is all about you and that place where you’re completely disengaged. But to choose to stand on the ground in between. It’s hard to be there. If I make everything they do about me, as in making me happy, making me look bad, etc., then how can I expect them to not think everything and everyone doesn’t revolve around them....read more
Remember, they’re still so little. When they’re big people, they won’t be little anymore. They say “The days can be long but the years are short”. I have to imagine them grown already to appreciate them more here while they sass me and argue with me. They are clever and funny, manipulative and innocent. I hold space for all these qualities in them that they find what’s right for them. I try to be a wise and patient parent. And then I snap, apologize for my humanity and move on. They are of me but not mine. I...read more
How do you guarantee your own safety and comfort in your own head? The declaration that your head as a protected area, a safe zone requires an inner adult. And this statement of safety is then woven into the fibers of our being and we take it wherever we go. Seems my adult needs to show she has my back for me to trust she’s got it wherever I go. My inner adult is either trustworthy or she isn’t. And when she isn’t, I feel frightened. I do not know or trust that I will be safe. I can rush off conjuring the future mishaps and...read more
The sound of my whining children is like a mosquito circling my head. But instead of swatting the bug/child, I realize that they always think that they are never going to get their way, get their needs met, or be able to negotiate for themselves. Just as you have to tell them that all movies are make-believe and any movie I allow them to see will always end well, you have to tell them they are allowed to ask for their needs to be met. They don’t know they’re entitled yet to positively ask for what they need. They don’t know...read more
After our teeth cleanings, I moaned to Penny behind the desk at the Dentist’s office, “I’m done with Summer. I am just so done.” I’d begun to chew rigorously on the inside of my lip from the stress of the two bickering in the back seat on the way to the appointment. I was glad that the dental hygienist hadn’t mentioned the damages during my teeth cleaning. Knowing that school is a mere 5 days away, I can almost let my breath out. The Summer played out like the swim test my son took and passed. Started out confidently,...read more
I wrote the following on September 27, 2014. Fiona was 18 months and beginning her toddlerhood in earnest. I remember it seemed early for the horrible twos yet there she was acting horrible. And so I wrote out my frustration here. And soon forgot about it. Until I found this eloquent and desperate plea today. And want to offer up all of my compassion to anyone, mother or not, who finds themselves in a place that feels hopeless. That feeling overwhelmed is OK and writing or talking it is even better. And when you let go of your overwhelm and...read more
Seems women are less compassionate towards themselves than men. Men will rate their own efforts way better than women will judge their own efforts. Somehow our need to care-take the world means that we have to reserve our compassion for others? We need to work ourselves to exhaustion for the sake of everyone. Martyrdom is then a complete lack of self-compassion and crediting our efforts. Why are we saving the world and driving ourselves into the ground if we just end up being mean to ourselves? Mean shouldn’t be our motivation to work....read more