22 February 2013

silver lining

I have some friends that are plagued by dark clouds right now. Like Eeyore, the rain clouds seem to follow them wherever they go. I can provide an umbrella and a warm hug, but I can't make the clouds go away. Oh, how I wish I could make the clouds go away.

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I'm a good mom.

It's hard for me to say that, because I'm humble and polite and it's not nice to brag. 

But my kids are happy, and people—even strangers—tell me all the time how great my kids are. It's the best kind of performance review a parent can get.

So many mothers are hard on themselves. They feel like they don't do enough or throw the right parties or cook the right dinners or read the right books. We hear constantly, “Enjoy them when they're young. It goes so fast!” We feel guilty because, yes, it does go fast, but it's also hard to enjoy kids when you're in the middle of raising them. 

“Oh honey, I love when you puke on me and bounce your basketball on the windows.”

It's only when you step away and gain some perspective that you can enjoy them. It's the reason I feel overwhelming love for my children mostly when they're asleep or away. I realized yesterday that having babies was pretty easy compared to having school-age kids. Sure, I was sleep-deprived and stinky and pawed over all day long, but the day was mine and I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I lugged the baby along. Now we have schedules and activities and homework and hormones and bickering. I'm a drill sergeant in the mornings, barking the same orders every day so we get to school on time. (And I hate it.) But having school-aged kids is pretty easy compared to having babies, because you can say, “Go brush your teeth, please,” and they do. Remember this:

Kids don't have an easy stage. Parenting doesn't get easier. The challenges simply change over time.

Some day, my kids aren't going to want me around. At least not the same way they do now. So I'm ok with the house being a mess and the dishes sitting in the sink and my craft supplies sitting unused and quitting Pinterest (best decision ever for me). And I'm so incredibly thankful that my husband and I have built a lifestyle that does not require me to work. I am able to spend unlimited amounts of time with my kids, have an active role in shaping their education, and nurture myself so I have more mental and physical energy for them. The kids are both old enough now that there are several activities we all enjoy doing together (board games, word games, crafting, hiking, cooking), and we do them every day. I have enough perspective now that I know I want my kids to have good memories of me. I want us to build good memories together, because at the end, that's all we'll have. (That, and pictures. Lots of pictures.)

I want them to say, “Man. We had a good mom.”