“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well, matters very much.” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
When I started this blog I made the promise to myself I would never just throw out my real life problems without first coming to a solution. I did not want my readers to feel downtrodden or in any way negative. Today I am going to break that promise and I’m sorry.
I’ve always known that homemaking was not going to be a role with which I would excel. This is why I made the declaration of “no children” before I agreed to marry. Despite declarations and preventative measures, there are two sweet souls sleeping in my bed right now who needed to exist and I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.
What I would like to change is how I present Motherhood to my girls.
I want to feel like I know what I’m doing. I want to lead my children with confidence in my decisions, they deserve that kind of role model. I also don’t want my girls to see me sacrificing myself. I don’t want them to think that being a Mom means giving up everything we want for ourselves. That will only lead to them being, well, ME. A reluctant, overwhelmed Mother, burdened with guilt and regret.
The answer I’m searching for is not perfection, it’s balance. I don’t know when to laugh over the spilt milk or cry. They say don’t sweat the small stuff, but as a parent it’s almost always small stuff. Dozens of small things that are the sum total of our days. When do I demand that the house be cleaned and the good food be eaten and when do I say “hang it, wear what you want and let’s eat cake for lunch”. Because let’s face it, some of our best childhood memories are those moments when our parents broke all of their own rules, just for us.
Go ahead, play it that mud puddle, I’ll even jump in and get muddy with you. Let’s stay home from school today, wear our jammies and eat jelly with a spoon.
But this can’t happen all the time, order and rules are the boundaries that make children feel safe.
I’ve met the Mom who’s home life is clean, organized and a machine, each piston firing with perfect rhythm. Their children are always well kempt, well behaved, bright and do well in school. But I didn’t see much joy in the face of the children and the Mother seemed exhausted.
I’ve met the Mom who seldom does laundry, children wear mismatched sometimes not so clean clothes. The floor is dotted with various toys, books, banana peels and day old sippy cups. The kids are unruly, don’t mind, loud, and can’t sit still for too long, but they are imaginative, sweet and full of life.
I believe that both of those Mother’s are doing their best, and quite likely their children will turn out fine, but residing somewhere between these two Moms is the harmony I am looking for.
There should be a company, a national, fortune 500 company comprised of accomplished homemakers. Women who come to your home to consult, listen, kvetch and console. Women who’ve been there done that and know what the next step is. I would empty my savings account for such a service. Why doesn’t this exist? If I had to venture a guess, I would say they are either too busy or they don’t exist.
The horror of parenting is seeing ourselves look back at us when we look into the face of our children. Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s anguish. For me, it’s often times too much, too much responsibility and I just want to find the nearest hole, crawl in and sleep forever. I would of course never do this, I ignore that hole like the pile of laundry in my closet and I know that how ever much I experience failure, I am not the kind of parent that would ever make use of that hole. That in itself, tells me, somewhere inside of me is the ability to overcome the challenges of Motherhood.
I’m just so exhausted from the search and
that hole is getting harder to ignore.