Monday, June 7, 2010

The Ugly Truth

I'm just a jumble of thoughts this evening, so hopefully everything will make it out ok.

I was closing out today, exhausted as usual.  Laboring over making dinner, begging the princesses to eat it, cleaning up the obscene mess in the kitchen, shooing the princesses from pj's to toothbrushing to bed.  I sat down at the end of it to catch my breath, when Princess #4 started fussing in her crib.  With the exception of last night and tonight, this is a fairly unusual occurrence.

Ignoring the harpy in my head telling me if I were to give in again her waking would become a habit I'd be chained to until I broke, I went into her room, picked her up out of her crib, wiped away her tears and settled into the rocking chair for my new favorite habit.

I love parenting a baby.  The demands are simple.  They require no negotiation.  Especially when they're tired and they just want mama.  Rocking and singing and stroking her hair, breathing in the last bit of baby that clings to her soft skin.  I sat with her for an eternity, wishing I could stop time.

As I left her (asleep) in her crib and stepped out of her room, a realization struck me with a force I wasn't expecting.  It's something I think has been nagging at my subconscious for awhile now, something that I've been pushing back as I wasn't ready to deal with it.  But tonight was the night.  And it suddenly hit me:  as much as I love being a parent, I don't really enjoy parenting "older" little kids.  School age kids.  Sitting in princess #4's room and soaking up her baby-ness made it painfully clear to me.  Being the parent to a baby I love.  Being the parent to little kids... it's not fun to me.  They are constantly whining, the negotiations are tiring beyond belief, they fight with each other, there is no break, no relief.  I don't know if I'm too uptight or what, but I find very little joy in it.  It just makes me tired.  And that's terribly sad.  They're kids.  If I'm not having fun with them, then clearly the problem lies with me.

I've been rolling this over in my head, trying to get a handle on it.  Because as ugly as the truth is, I have to face it if I'm going to change it.  Somehow, in the process of becoming the mother to four princesses, I've allowed my focus to shift.  It's changed.  Where I used to find joy I only find chores.  Where I used to find laughter I only see messes.  And I've allowed that focus to overrule everything.

We all battle a selfish nature, and I think that I've allowed mine to win.  I've put my desires for a clean house or an orderly day over the needs of my kids to be kids.  I wonder though... I wonder if I set that all aside, if I allowed myself the freedom to enjoy my kids doing what they do best, if my needs in some way would be met afterall?  Or maybe my needs would change altogether?

My biggest fear, is that I wake up one day and my princesses are suddenly grown.  And I've lost the opportunity to know them.  I don't want to look at them one day and see strangers, or oddly distant adults who look a little bit like my daughters once did.  And I know that the prevention of that fear becoming a reality starts NOW.  And it starts with me.  Not in me getting them to whine less or eat more of my food or clean their room more often.  But in me really engaging, playing, loving, living, being with them and soaking it up. 

I love being the mama to a baby.  But my baby days are coming to an end.  It's time to start loving being the mama to kids, because they deserve that.


  1. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog.

    Have a nice day!

  2. This post makes me want to reach through the screen and give you a hug. I'm afraid I have no pearls of wisdom, but I understand.

    Being the parent to kids is incredibly difficult, kind of like the everyday life of marriage after the great wedding. Something they really don't prepare you for in "What to Expect..."

  3. Hey, this is a great post T, and I don't think you are the only one who struggles with this. But I must say maybe this is one of the reasons God put us into each others lives. Because, although my Peanut is only 2, and I have 1 to your 4, I am almost completely opposite when it comes to messes and eating and playtime. My thoughts are more of the, she's a kid, she needs to be a kid, creative and silly and this is just a house. Material and not lasting. Besides it's not like your couch is ever going to sit in your lap to snuggle, or tell you how much they love you at the end of the day.
    You are an incredible mother, I watch you and admire you, and actually envy you a little in the fact that you have a larger family and get to watch the whole sibling aspect.
    Just know that even if you are coming to realize this selfish nature, you always put them first, you show them love each and every day, even when you won't get a kitten. :)
    love ya heaps, hang in there, and hey! why not bring out the playdough today?

  4. I struggle with this all the time - whe I get frustrated and want a certain "phase" to be over - then I realize they won't be this little forever.

    You are not alone.

  5. Sometimes I think you are reading my mind. Eerie. I miss those baby days so much, it was just so much easier. You changed them, feed them, put them to bed and didn't have all the discipline to deal with. I do enjoy my kids at the stages they are in now, it's just hard sometimes.

  6. Also,
    I went back and read over what I wrote and realized I left out a part.
    Scatterbrained-mommy syndrome.
    I said,
    "maybe this is one of the reasons God put us into each others lives. I am almost completely opposite when it comes to messes and eating and playtime."
    I meant to also say, "and I have already started to try and organize my meals and make better ones because of you. Plus the snack drawer in the fridge, and the bento stuff, and budgeting...." you get the idea, right?
    okay, done.
    By the way, did you get the play-DOH out today?
    Just checking...

  7. Thanks Jess! No play-doh today actually, but we did read lots of books and create houses for stuffed animals out of blocks. Baby steps. LOL

  8. So I absolutely understand. And all that I can say is that while I LOVE my biggies, there are some days I don't LIKE their behaviour.
    Lately, we've been having conversations about that - a lot. Honestly, it is getting better. They do get more self sufficient (read - less whining) and their behavior generally reflects the level of my consistancy with rules and expectations.
    Don't be too hard on yourself - we all have these moments.

  9. Wow... I could have written this post. I love, love, love the baby stage. I've always said that I wished I had a baby that just circled around from age 0-12 months over and over because I would love to always have a baby in the house, but I can't handle more children! I find school-age children to be so much more difficult. They are much more mentally demanding where as babies are just physically demanding. Fortunately, my husband is the opposite. He loves kid-parenting and struggles more with baby-parenting, so we have a good balance. Like you though, I need to find ways to step back and enjoy it. I know I'll miss it when it is over.


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