I could hardly wait to be a Mama.
I played house for the first 13 years of my life.
Intermittent in there was pet rocks, tree tag, and all the usual kid playing but the main feature was house. I took care of my babies faithfully and I took my role dead serious. I could hardly wait for babies of my own. I dreamed of what kind of mother I would be and I pictured my self rocking and reading and singing endlessly. I would have a gentle voice even when they were naughty and I would teach, guide, love and protect every day of their lives.
I was going to be the perfect mother.
Fast forward twenty one years and 3 months to last Saturday.
My honey and I wanted to go play in San Francisco. Benjamin had a game off of highway 24 in Orinda at 3:30 ...so on our way home out of the city we would watch the rugby match.
So after my run I walk in the door, ready to get the other two kiddos out the door with us. These two have been fighting pretty much consistently for a couple of months now. Which is hard to take because they used to never fight and would play so adorably 95% of the time. So the fighting is a tough pill to swallow. So no surprise but they are fighting when I walk in the door.
I tell them the plans and they fight getting ready, they fight over breakfast and they fight getting dressed. They fight over which games to take in the car and they fight over where they are going to sit. They fight all the way into San Fran. They can really fight over anything...it might be a talent.
We pulled over onto the side of the road and I told my two children in not the gentle voice (that I thought I would use even when they were naughty) that they needed to do 350 jumping jacks and run laps.
Did this solve the problem?
No it did not.
Not that I really thought that it would but maybe they would just be a little too tired to fight.
Or truthfully maybe I wasn't thinking at all but I just needed to do something...anything.
Motherhood is not for wimps.
My friend gave me this sign when my Nicholas was just a little guy. I thought it described that stage of my life perfectly with little sleep and toddler tantrums. Ha! I had no idea what age and multiple kiddos could do. Looking back those days were skipping through the tulips. :) But no matter the stage...parenting is not for wimps.
Fighting is just one of the examples that make parenting difficult. It certainly isn't the hardest...although it does grate on my nerves day in and day out the most. When you have teens, the worries and stresses you have seem to make fighting pale in comparison but it is all of it. It is the years of all of it.
I went over to my best friends house on Sunday and I plopped myself on her couch and we started to talk like we were in a middle of a conversation. Because that is what it is like with her, there is no beginning and end to anything we have to say. She just looks at me with tired eyes and says, "How do we still suck at this after 19 years?" I knew what she was talking about she certainly didn't need to say...parenting.
Yep, we all suck at it.
It doesn't matter how long you have been doing it. It is one of those things that you don't get better at with time because even if you get cocky for just a moment and you think you might be getting the hang of it another child either hits a phase or crap hits the fan with something that you haven't been confronted with before and you are like, "Well what the heck do I do with this one?"
I am no longer trying to be the perfect parent.
Those days are long gone. I have excepted that and certainly realize how ridiculously unrealistic that goal is. It's emotional suicide...that's what that goal is.
I guess that's why we needed to be parents to keep our egos in check and realize that we don't have control over these amazing humans we have been blessed with. Because the only constant in my parenting is the appreciation of them. These beautiful, caring, amazing humans that I have the privilege of living with. They are not me. They have there own dreams, hopes and desires. They choose paths that I think are dangerous and I try to guide them back to safer ground. But in the end it is their choice to be led back...their choice. You can't make them do anything. I can barely make them clean their room for crying out loud. Of course you have consequences that you hope will deter any unwanted behavior but they can still do whatever they want.
So all I can do is love them.
The real love no matter what...the unconditional kind, the Christ kind. Not that surface love that we all so freely give when they are behaving and doing and being who we want. That is easy love. Any parent can do that.
All children deserve more.
My flawed kiddos deserve that love and they have it in spades.
I will keep working on my gentle voice though. ;)
This picture has nothing to do with anything except to say that I was going to put other pictures in here and it didn't feel right. This one felt right. A foggy morning on my honey's run last week. Parenting for me is a lot like this picture I guess.
I am trying to figure out where to go and how to get there but it can be tough sometimes.
But then the sun came out this day, just like every other day in the bay area in winter,
at about 12:30.
Things become clear and I know exactly what I need to do and how to do it... until it becomes foggy again. ;)