Monday, 25 October 2010You know the ones.
The one' who's facebook statuses are a constant love fest of
"Johnny said the cutest Jesus reference today!"
"Sarah is just the most beautifully behaved three year old child! She is the delight of my life!"
"Look at these 150 thousand adorable photos of my kid... eating... watermelon" (or whatever)
"I've been away from my kids for 2 days and I MISS THEM SO MUCH!"
"Daughters are.... sugar... spice... everything perfect and nice... repost if your daughter brings you more joy... blah
You may have guessed that I am not the gushy parent.
And I seem to be the lone voice when it comes to "tough morning" or "I want to run away and never come back" status updates. I feel like there's something wrong with me when we do get a night or two to ourselves, and people ask, "so do you miss them?" and I'm all like... "*laugh* No".
I don't keep every item of schoolwork they bring home. In fact, I loathe it when the teachers send it all home at the end of the year. I don't keep detailed books on their first year, or do monthly scrapbook spreads, I don't keep every piece of artwork that gets shoved under my nose or whatever else people do that unintentionally makes me feel like an inferior parent.
I have friends who are constantly telling me that they ABSOLUTELY LOVE HOLIDAYS (while I've just told them how badly I'm struggling not to send mine to Siberia) or that they just COUNT DOWN THE MINUTES until their cherubs get home from school (while my younger kids begin to cry as soon as I tell them we have to go and pick the others up) or how sweet and loving, and already passionate about Jesus their 2 year old is (while I've just about given up on mine ever doing as they're told). The constant "my kid is so adorable" seriously makes me want to puke. I'm like... what fantasy land do you people live in? Can I get tickets please?
It makes me feel bad. Because, obviously, I'm doing the whole mothering gig terribly wrong. It makes me feel guilty, too, because I know how lucky I am to have my children with me... alive.
Oh, I have 'excuses'.
I am aware that we are coming out of an incredibly trying time. We eight live in a tiny house. Troy has Autism, which has been regressing rather over the last 12 months. This then, of course, leads to lots of screaming and fighting and bickering. I realise this does not help with the liking of children right now.
But this is not the real reason.
And this is where the introspection comes in.
I should enjoy my children more. I should notice the things they say more. They ARE only little once, and this should be such a wonderful time. All the mothers who have grown children that I admire all say the same thing... "I wish I'd played with them more" or urge me to get down on their level more.
Back when I was the 'perfect parent' (ie: NO CHILDREN) I had all the intentions in the world to do just that. I would play tea parties and dolls with the girls. Have a sword fight with the boys. Teach them all to cook. Lay out on a blanket in the backyard with the baby. We'd have traditions, and beautiful memories.
Why did it not work out that way? I grieve that time.
I've tried to do Emily's Tuesdays Unwrapped, because I think it is a beautiful, intentional thing, but at the moment, it just feels like when you get a HUGE present, and you unwrap it only to find it's just a brick.
I've tried to find the God in every moment as so many of my friends seem able to do... and I know He's there... I just ... oh... I don't know.
Sometimes it seems like I'm making it something it's not. Sometimes, it just... is.
Perhaps I should fake it til I make it?
Am I just tired? Emotionally and physically? Have I not made a big enough effort to make the best of the situation? Families our size live in smaller houses than I all over the world, and they still manage to keep it clean and have a loving family.
I bought a plaque when we first moved in here, because it was what I truly believed would happen while we were here... "Love grows best in little houses"
It mocks me now.
And I'll be leaving it here when we move.
At the moment, it's like I'm looking down the tunnel and I've finally see the light at the end. And I know that I only have a short way to go until I don't have to hold white knuckled to my sanity or the last shreds of determination not to become depressed. We will be moving the day after school lets out for the Christmas break, and it's almost like we are pining all our hopes of normalcy on the bigger block. We have reasons to do this... we never had the problems we do now when we lived in a bigger house etc etc... but I realise it also will depend a lot upon my own attitude, and the instillation of new routines, and the RE introductions of others... like eating at the dinner table (no room here for our 10 seater. We've eaten all but about 4 meals on the living room floor in the last 2 years.)
I don't think I'll ever be gushy. But it sure will be nice to be able to post funny things again, like I used to. That I'll be able to notice the little things more, because I won't be so distracted by the newly broken window, or the fists that are being thrown.
There hasn't been a lot of laughter the last year.
I'm really hoping that will change.
We will have 8 weeks after we move to find our rhythm before school begins. My "To Do List" for those weeks begins like this:
* Have a tea party with the girls
* Have a sword fight with the boys
* Lay on a blanket with the baby