This week is spring break and I am not home. Each morning one or both of us have dropped the girls off at Nana and Jeannie’s. It’s a luxury.
It’s also a sacrifice.
I find myself feeling like a sham at work and at home as I take this week that so many parents are spending with their kids, and I work. We started this business when my belly was just beginning to grow with Briar inside of me. Our family grew along with our business. I have spent late nights, endless weekends and white-knuckle days building this business, and then a second. I have also spent afternoons I might otherwise have missed, playing with my girls and enjoying swaths of sunlight. Even as I have cut back some time, I struggle with whether I work too much. I am needed here at work and I am making the most of my time. I also want to be here.
Monday the girls went shopping, Tuesday they went horseback riding. Wednesday they went bowling. Today they were planning Between each activity I have no doubt that I suppose I am not really needed, yet I struggle to shake the feeling that this isn’t just unloading my kids. They are having the time of their lives, all five of them. Yet a part of me feels furtive, waiting, tensed, for some sort of strike. A look? An aside? From strangers or the girls, I’m not even sure. My idea of succeeding as a mom is certainly different from theirs. I need to stop focusing so much on how I am doing compared to how I thought I would do or how I think people think I should do.
I try not to get in the middle of political disputes, but I think in the same way that the media has adopted a very voyeuristic and accusatory bent, people have become cruelly uncensored in their non-stop judging of one another and themselves. Our appetite to measure success and failure as well as the relentless comparison of one way of doing things to another, is bottomless. Except that I have hit bottom.
I don’t want to parent as if I am in a contest. I don’t want to rationalize what I do as if I am on trial. I cannot continue to second guess and falter because I worry that things might not be just right.
I want to parent remembering to be flexible and forgiving. And when I fail at the former, lean on the latter. I wish for all parents and all children this same license to live your life without worrying about the naysayers and the strength to not be one yourself.
Tagged: acceptance, working mom
I agree. There is always the voice in my head, usually telling me I need to stop letting my kids watch so much TV. And I don’t think the guilty feelings of, “Am I doing enough?” ever end. (Men seem to have an easier time rejecting those.) The best way out, I think, is the camaraderie of other parents.
One of my favorite things is when I get to spend time with moms who have a completely different reality than my own. Hearing their challenges or the things they envy in my life cracks me up, because it reveals how hard we are ALL trying. Also, tantrums, potty-training, scheduling conflicts and surliness don’t care if you punch a time card, homeschool or worship fairies.
Yes. Yes. Yes. I find myself judging myself so harshly. I’ve lately been trying to get that inner-judge to shut up by letting the thoughts and judgments roll off just as they rolled in. This is a constant practice for me.
We (moms, parents, PEOPLE) definitely all need to step back from the judging and just learn to support each other more. It’s hard to do given how prevalent the judging is in society, and how we like to believe it makes us feel better to be doing a “better job” at this crazy thing than other people, but really we can’t know each other’s realities and we can’t be in each other’s shoes, we can just be a hand that reaches out on a dark day. Well I hope someone can, I need hands on dark days more often than I would have expected before becoming a mama.