It’s been 7 days since my last entry and a lot has happened in that time.
· gotten into arguments with family
· seen Santa (and his reindeer, Dasher)
· sobbed from my soul
· been told by more than one child that I’m the ‘worst mom ever’
· been told by over 5 strangers I’m ‘the best tarot reader they’ve ever had’
· planned our trip to Disney World
· given two separate presentations
· been told by all of my children I’m ‘the best mom in the world’
· organized Christmas gifts
· had deep meaningful conversations with strangers
· forgot to pick up Christmas gifts from store so they were put back on the shelf
· reordered Christmas gifts
· played at toddler gym time
· sang karaoke
· crafted, painted, and crafted some more
· taken my kids to several free holiday events around town
· vowed to never take my kids out in public again
· continued to take them out in public to free events
· begun the Elf on the Shelf tradition on 12/1 and attempted to make a “calendar of events”… it’s blank.
Today, Raphael (our elf) brought a “craft” for the kids to do. It was a Christmas wreath that I thought would be fun for the family to do together. It was not. One kid didn’t want to do it. Another one went rogue with the kit. The third kid was still sleeping. And the fourth nearly flipped the table each time a challenge was presented.
Through it all, I remained calm and patient. I’ve really been working on this within myself. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I helped encourage kid one to not give up on the train they decided to make out of boxes, despite feeling frustrated. I helped kid two make a “steering wheel” for the box train out of the wreath supplies. Kid three awoke and helped kid one with the wheels (though it was really kid two who wanted them on there as kid one had given up by this point). And kid four and I both completed our wreaths.
This afternoon I had signed up 5 of us (minus the toddler who would be napping during that time) for the free craft painting pour event at Michaels from 2-4pm. I thought it would be great to do something all together as a family.
I had been asking my 7 year old to fold her basket of laundry and put it away since Friday after school. Several reminders and gentle nudges over the weekend were met with procrastination, exasperation, and hysterics. The expectation was for it to be completed before we needed to leave today (Sunday) at 1:40pm.
It’s funny how hypocritical parenting can be sometimes. I find myself painfully urging my children not to procrastinate (like me) or distract themselves when they have tasks needing to be completed (also me). Yet, here we are.
Getting her clothes folded was down to the wire. I honestly wasn’t sure if she’d get it done on time, as she moped around her room as though I’d grounded her for a month. She has quite the flare for being dramatic (wonder where she gets that from?).
I remained patient throughout and held my ground on the potential consequences, though I really didn’t want to follow through with them.
As a parent, you must create the laws of the household and you also have to do it while considering everyone’s individual needs and developmental abilities. Then, you have to find a way to teach those laws and expectations to each individual at their developmental level, sometimes having to first teach yourself so that you can successfully teach them. Once you’ve done this, everyone just obeys and life is peachy, right? Wrong. Your children come along and knock those fucking peaches out of your hands and stomp on them, then watch you suffer as you mop up the floor and wash their peach juice-stained clothing, all the while complaining they’re hungry and want you to play with them. When you explain you can’t and ask them to help clean up the mess they helped create, they act as though you’re asking them to solve world hunger. Amidst all of this, you’re also hungry because they ruined all of the peaches but they smother you with hugs and beg to be near you because ‘you’re the best mom ever!’ Yet you are the one who fills guilty as you ask them to stop climbing on your back while you’re attempting to mop up the floor.
Parenting is lit.
I’m like mother-fucking Cinderella. Where’s my fairy godmother?
We were all able to go to the painting event, though I’m not sure it was worth it. The event itself was fine, though there wasn’t much room to complete the project. One kid rushes in, without a care in the world, paint literally everywhere. The other argues with even the most helpful of tips because their need to be right and in control supersedes the success of the project – though it doesn’t and usually results in a complete meltdown. Which it did.
I remained patient.
After dinner I asked for chores and homework to be completed, school supplies to be organized, and showers to be had. You’d have thought I cancelled Christmas with the way they reacted. My chest felt tight, and it was difficult for me to breathe. I wanted to scream “I’VE HAD ENOUGH, YOUR SELFISH LITTLE FUCKS! YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN!” and book a one way ticket to anywhere.
But… I remained patient. I took several deep breaths and took a break away from the commotion. It’s during these moments, I often think, “WTF am I doing wrong as a parent?!? Where am I failing?” Tonight, right or wrong (because parenting really is a game you make up the rules to as you go) I came to the conclusion that I don’t allow them to be disappointed enough.
As a parent, especially one who is newly breaking free from a lifetime tendency of people pleasing, it’s really hard to see my children disappointed – especially when it is at my hands. Partially because I don’t like to see them sad and partially because I don’t want to deal with and help them process that sadness. It’s like a selfish guilt, if there was such a thing.
For the thirty minutes leading up to bedtime, I zoned out. My energy was completely depleted.
“Do you want to play a boardgame?”
“Can you help me with my homework?”
“Are you going to lay with us?”
My 7-year-old daughter went out of her way to make a gift for the elf out of beads and also a mailbox to put it in. Oh, and she also apologized for the way her 3-year-old sister was behaving towards me at bedtime, as she was begging to have an extra 15 minutes to stay awake.
While cleaning up the bead mess from the above impromptu elf project, I decided to make myself a new keychain in honor of parenting.
Perhaps I should start selling these in the school parking lot after morning drop-off.