In the early hours of the morning, I wake with an overwhelming weight upon me. Aside from the 80 pound lab that snuck into bed and is found sleeping on my legs, it’s the weight of motherhood and parenting that blankets and envelops me.
A seasoned veteran by now with three children, I’ve got years of experience under my belt and wisdom between my ears. Through days, weeks, months and years of accumulated battles, celebrations, successes and failures, I have earned some notches in my belt, yet I’m not sure how qualified I am.
This parenting gig is hard. As my children have grown and developed into multifaceted individuals, my job has become more complicated. Oh, how easy the babies are. Feed, sleep, poop… repeat and add some play.
We may or may not have different approaches to parenting but we all share in the daily march; questioning at each crossroad which direction is right. I try to simply keep up. Keep up with basics not the “Joneses”. The Joneses can suck it since I haven’t showered yet, am still in my PJ’s and just discovered yesterday’s empty lunch bowl of noodles on my desk with a fork and napkin dried onto it. I’m pretty sure the Joneses have me beat and lapped, so screw it. I’m just in it for the win today.
I appreciate the honest dialogues as parents we engage in about how awesome parenting is, how great the wins are and how uplifting the successes are. However, I will not lie that I crave more the honest dialogue about the reality.
The reality of how hard this job is; how mentally and physically exhausting parenting is, how thankless our jobs can be and how simply keeping track of our daily schedules is insurmountable sometimes.
I crave a dialogue about the reality. A dialogue about while we’ll always love our children, moments exist when we really, really don’t like them. That no matter how thick our skin, they do manage to really hurt our feelings. A dialogue about how our efforts fail and we fall flat in our children’s eyes. Dialogue about frantically searching late at night for clean school pants, underwear or socks that you swear you just washed. No matter how many wins we have under our belts, we will forever beat ourselves up over the fails.
Most mornings when I don’t take the boys to school, I lay in bed waiting for happy chirping to come through the baby monitor on my bathroom vanity. I pull off that weighted blanket and begin the day. There is breakfast for Harper, coffee to brew and attempts made to catch bits and pieces from the Wall Street Journal.
There are dogs to shoo from under the high chair 900 times. There is time spent sometimes fretting and hoping Paul packed Cooper’s lunch since I’d forgotten the night before.
There are emails to respective teachers about new tutors hired, teacher recommendations and transcript releases, and reminders that I promise as room mom to be on top of those valentine party ideas to name a few.
There are vows to take a shower, do a better job enforcing that the kids make their beds and remember to finally send those thank you notes.
There is playtime and vacuuming after I see how much dog hair is on Harper’s PJ’s after she rolls around on the carpet. There is nap time and the frantic rush to get the “everything under the sun” stuff done before the chirping comes through the monitor. There is never enough time but there is always tomorrow to make that overdue Dentist appointment, annual OBGYN visit and get my eyebrows waxed.
There is lunch and there is carpool. There is the mad dash through late afternoon Atlanta traffic which on a good day remains unforgiving. There are tired kids and there is homework. There are hours spent at the kitchen table sounding out words and repeating yet again, “I am happy to help, but I am not doing homework for you”. There are tears and protests. I have counted the minutes until bedtime and I feel guilty.
There is keeping their different school schedules, activities & fundraisers straight and simply doing my best to show up at the right school at the right time each day. I remind myself that I’ve got this all under control and would be lost without my calendar.
I make dinner, do laundry and chase a happy baby. I try to keep the peace and attempt to teach two brothers how to compromise. I lose my patience. I accept that yet again, we will not eat as a family due to Paul’s schedule and the boys, Harper and I sit down to dinner.
We laugh, we goof and we share. There is the bedtime routine, reminders to brush teeth and go potty. Stories are read, hugs, kisses, bedtime wishes given. I love you’s and sleep tight and see you in the mornings said.
Doors are closed, three are tucked in bed and I look at the imaginary notches in my belt.
I wonder what I’ve accomplished and I wonder if I made the right choices. I wonder if the direction I chose at that last fork in the road was the right decision. I question myself and vow to have more patience and get better organized. I vow to be a better mom and to be more present because I can only conclude from the chaos of each day that quite possibly I must have gone astray to be such an ungraceful parent.
Parenting is hard, amazing and often unforgiving. As I crawl into bed each night I simply hope I pulled off another chaotic misadventure in the win column. I hope the kids remember more positive, uplifting, entertaining and happy moments than moments where I lost my patience, one, both or all kids had meltdowns or I simply wanted to throw in the towel.
I appreciate the support and honesty of those friends who live this parenting adventure honestly and with transparency. I appreciate that we can share and eventually laugh with perspective on our greatest fails and high-five the greatest wins.
Being honest and real as parents makes living this chaotic parenting adventure and real life that much easier. So, for those who march the paths of parenting each day with me, thank you.