Lately I’ve been feeling like parenting has gotten the best of me. This may be because of end of the school year exhaustion or maybe it’s my oldest’s quick slide into the parenting abyss that is adolescence but I’m definitely not a shining example of good parenting this days. I’m often forgetful and disinterested and I definitely have not been saying the right things to my kids during times of drama and stress. I keep looking at the calendar and literally counting the days until our big summer “reset” on our schedule and lives.
As I sit and type this I’m working very hard not to beat myself up over it. I also can’t help but think that I’m not alone. The number one reason why I read blog posts is to get that comforting feeling of camaraderie and acceptance from other moms experiencing the exact same things. So, in that spirit, here is a list of things I’ve done lately that have made me lose a little sleep and have reminded me that I’m not receiving that “Mother of the Year” trophy any time soon.
I forgot to put my three-year-old to bed…on a school night. One recent Sunday night, after an exhausting weekend filled with soccer games and birthday parties, I got comfortable on the couch in front of the TV while all three of the kids kept themselves busy doing…well, I don’t know what they were doing but they were quiet. At 9:15 the baby wandered into the room and very sweetly said (while rubbing her eyes), “Mommy, can I please go to bed?”. Oops. She was snuggling with her sisters and she was happy up until that point but she wasn’t too thrilled when I dragged her out of bed the next morning.
I got into an un-winnable argument with my oldest over absolutely nothing important. I know my tween is going through a tough time. I’ve read all of the articles and blog posts about parenting tweens and parenting girls. I know her negative moods are caused by many underlying factors that I simply cannot change for her. But wow, some days…I just can’t take it anymore. I can’t take the back talk and the attitude. I can’t watch her say or do one more mean thing to her sister. I. Just. Can’t. So I snapped and I told her just how I was feeling about her at that moment and she told me how she was feeling about me at that moment (FYI, not good) and we went round and round and when it was all done I felt worse. I know that she needs me to set some limits for acceptable behavior and I know she needs to hear how her actions and words are impacting the rest of us but I’m sure I haven’t found quite the best way to do that.
I sent my children to school with no packed lunch and forgot to refill the money in their school lunch account. My girls became adept at negotiation and charm as they tried to convince the lovely woman in the school cafeteria, several days running, that their mother definitely put money into their accounts and “it just hasn’t hit yet”. I have to say I’m proud of them—they didn’t once come home in tears because Mrs. B. wouldn’t let them have lunch AND the extra dessert. I may be forgetful about all things school related these days but at least my girls are learning some self-preservation skills.
I was a lousy gift giver. My family has several spring birthdays AND it is a time I like to call “Mini-Christmas” since I am also buying teacher gifts, daycare provider gifts, coaches gifts, etc., etc. For several nieces and nephews I sent gift cards (I adore you all, my loves, I swear) and for one other I bought a gift the day of the party and forgot to buy wrapping paper. I wrapped it in bridal shower paper and hoped neither he nor my sister would notice. I scrolled through my Pinterest feed quickly skipping over the cute teacher gift ideas because, well, it’s not happening and I don’t need the guilt. I told the three-year-old to make something crafty for her daycare providers (I’m sorry but I didn’t supervise—I hope you both loved it) and I supplemented with gift cards. I told the older girls to scout out what kind of coffee cup sits on their teachers’ desks and visited the local coffee shop. I’m thankful for all of the adults in my children’s lives and they deserve those gift cards but I’m just not into the deep and meaningful these days.
I said “No” to my kids…a lot. The last few weeks have been draining with a jam packed soccer schedule, multiple birthday parties, and end of the year picnics, parties, concerts, etc. As a special educator I’ve had final transition meetings, final reports, and other end-of-year wrapping up to be done. When I had a chance to actually sit and do nothing I found myself saying “no” to my children way too often. Can we go down to the carnival that’s in town? Can we go see that new movie? Can you play Candyland with me? Can we go to the playground? Can we go for a bike ride? Can we rearrange my room? Can we…Can we… Can we… UGH. Is it summer yet? As a working mother the summer is my time to say “Yes” to my girls. Without work commitments sapping my energy I can give and do whatever they would like. We just have to get there.
So, while I certainly do not deserve a “Mother of the Year” trophy I’m not sure that I earned the “Worst Mother” trophy either. I’m doing okay and that’s just going to have to be…well…okay for today. I’ll be better next week, I promise.