I am so tired I can barely type this. If I am thinking of things to feel bad about, there are lists I could make.
I think often we stay away from talking about feeling off. Depression is one thing — and I do flit in and out of that one — but some days I just feel badly. I can be overwhelmed, or irritated, or frustrated, or insecure, or beyond logical rationale. This is not something we often talk about though. I think we call this complaining. At the other end of the spectrum, we don’t talk about how great we feel either — we can call this bragging. For me, I’m always suspicious if someone is “doing great” for too long. I suspect chemical substances are at work to make that happen.
I had a really nice weekend. I think a few things combined to make that happen. Principally, it was because my daughter was away all weekend on a camping trip. For those of you without kids, that’s TWO whole nights. It literally halves the workload and if you take away all the fighting, arguing, and tattling between my two kids, that’s also a good 25% reduction as well.
My daughter is high-energy. She is forthright. Her interpretation of the world is very specific and focuses a lot on perceived injustices. She does not shy away from telling us what she doesn’t like, or how life is unfair. I hear her and I get it, but I am one person and can’t change her whole world for her. The trickiest thing is that these demands and likes/dislikes are a moving target. You can never stay ahead of the game.
My son, who’s 7, is more relaxed. Like my husband and I, he likes to stay home. One morning he woke up, put on gardening gloves and pulled weeds out of our lawn. He did this on his own without being asked. He wanted to do this.
It was sunny all weekend. My son and I went out for breakfast together. He helped me clean the house. It was like it was summertime and the living was easy.
No one tells you you are a good parent, or that you are doing it right. People are either too tired themselves to notice, or they think you are doing it wrong. There are days where I look forward to getting to work just so I can sit in my cubicle with my eyes closed for 5 minutes of silence. When I pack up and head home, I brace myself for the next phase into the unknown. Sometimes getting home to the kids can feel like another job.
My daughter is now 10. When I picked her up from camping she overwhelmed me on the half-hour drive home. I secretly went into the pantry and ate a handful of chocolate chips right from the bag. People tell you to cherish this time because it goes so quickly. While this may be true I can barely remember what happened yesterday, let alone a month ago or 5 years ago. I don’t know if this makes me a bad parent, but I can’t be bothered to figure that one out. I’m trying to get through today, through homework and dinner and bedtime.
I gave this post to my husband to read before I hit publish. His response summed up the situation: “This, and everything else you do, shows you care. There is no perfection in parenting, for anyone. The best you can do is see the perfection in the growth and the journey.”
And if tomorrow comes I know we’ve made it another day. Our family is carrying on and doing what we can and remembering that we are doing our best in that moment, however it may look.