Saturday, December 25, 2010

so this is christmas.

And I am sitting here, at the computer.
I have a pint glass, full of diet soda and possibly quite a bit of bourbon.
Because I can.

It was quiet today, even though it was loud, louder, loudest.
The waking up!
And the gifts!
And the happy!

Oy, and also vey.

I have reached a certain point with my short people.
A certain very critical point, possibly a crossroads of some sort, but who's to say, really?
Because more than anything, parenting well is about realizing you are at a point before you can even give a name or a purpose or a reason to the point.

I long to parent well, and I fear I do not.
Do you fear that, too?  Because from where I am perched, right this very minute, I feel alone.
I look and I watch and I calculate and I plan and I judge and I watch some more and I try to figure it all out.

I feel like I have too many children to do a good job.
And this is not a life-long truth; it is not even close to being a good assessment of my life, our life.
Do you ever feel that way, too?  Just once in a while, even?
Like you are in over your head, or you're soon about to be submerged by the requests and the needs and the I JUST WANT MY MAMA TO PLAY DINOS WITH MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because from where I am sitting, right here and now, I'm sinking.

They say it is a season, that things will not always be this way, but ohmygoodness.  When does the upswing begin?  And then they say, Heh. Well.  Enjoy it now because it only gets worse.  Who are these people whose lives suck more and more with each passing day, and why do I feel like I'm joining their club? 

I celebrate holidays with a full-out contemplation of my responsibilities.  I cannot explain it to you.  I cannot explain it to me.  I sat in my living room today amidst squeals of excitement and charming lovelies and warmth and full bellies and I feel...  I feel...  

I don't even know.  Inadequate, I guess.  And I hate inadequate more than anything.  Because those four little people do not deserve inadequate.  They don't deserve adequate, either, for that matter, and that I'm not even coming close to meeting the standard is causing my heart to hurt very much.

What's it doing to them?


  1. Yes, I feel that way all the time, everyday. Multiple times a day even. I am too cranky, my patience is too thin, I don't give them enough attention. I worry that they will remember me as a cranky, un-fun mom who never had time for them and did not smile and laugh and play enough. I don't know what to do about it.

  2. you. are. never. alone.
    well. sometimes you are alone. but not usually. because, like me, you are a mama. but still.
    you aren't alone in your feelings. i promise. with three i feel overwhelmed and quite possibly at my breaking point at any given minute. i feel like i suck and i can't do this well. but still i know i need to pretend sometimes.
    i remember a long time ago when my friend's mom told us that it's ok to not be pretty when you are little, because that means that you will grow up to be beautiful. and i use that stinking advice EVERY SINGLE DAY. because i think that maybe my kids suck today - but then the teenage years are going to be a piece of cake. and they are horrendous today at home because when i take them out in public they are going to be amazing.
    here's my advice. late one night - long after kids are supposed to be in bed. drive to walmart. and observe. because much of what you will see could possibly make you feel oh-so-much better about the mama that you are.
    and i know for a fact that you are a damn good mama.
    just hand out a bunch of i-love-yous and kisses tomorrow. take a moment to yourself - long enought to miss them. and go look at them when they are sleeping. see? you made those four beautiful children. they don't need perfection. they need you.

  3. I know my words might not hold as much weight, since I have no short people of my own to back them up, but I want to tell you anyway, from the outside looking in, from someone who watches and listens to all the women in my life - and that's a LOT of women, believe you me - when they say some of these very same things you are saying right now... you are not alone here. Your pain and struggle are yours and unique and valid, but certainly, please trust that there are so many other mothers who have put these same questions out there to their friends, to the universe, wondering if and when it will get easier and if they are doing a horrible job and and and so many other things I'm sure go through your mind that you can't put words to.

    I'm sorry you feel this way today, right now, but don't listen to the oh ha ha it gets worse, no no no, it will get better. And you, in the end, will have done a better job than I think you can even imagine right now. I just know it. I *know* it.

  4. See now, here I sit feeling like I don't have ENOUGH children to do a good job at parenting.

    I have hundreds and hundreds of hours of parenting education under my belt, and I feel like I don't know a damned thing.

    I have shelves and shelves of books on the subject, but I don't know what the hell to do with this child.

    I dedicate my career to being a better parent, and assuring that others are better parents, but sometimes I feel like the worst of the worst.

    I think it's just inherent. I think that we are just wired to think we aren't doing well so we are constantly driven to do better.

    I think I've started a lot of sentences with "I" when this is really about you, and how I think you are doing a wonderful job. I've seen your kiddos in action, and they are normal, healthy, well-adjusted, bright, beautiful short people who will become even better with age.
    And that day will come, that magical day when things turn around and the payoff is great and they will fill your house with their babies and they will remember the good old days when they had it all and they will question their parenting know-how and skill against yours and they will feel they come up short every time.

    And they will medicate with soda and bourbon and look at their kids and shake their heads and wonder how they will possibly muddle through.

  5. They all have you and the Mister and each other, and so. much. love.

    You are giving them the best part of you, almost all the time (because you need to hold some back for the Mister, and for yourself).

    That's not just adequate. It's incredible.

    We all worry about our failings and inadequacies, but children are so resilient. A child raised in house full of love has everything that matters. Every. Thing.

  6. Most folks get up, shove their kids on a bus and pick them up from practice at dinner time. Then they eat processed food for dinner and park in front of a wall of a TV for the night. And those are the "good" parents, not the ones who drink and fight and abuse their kids.

    I think you need to recalibrate your inadequate meter because hand crafting most of what our children eat, wear and play with should have the needle a good deal higher than "fail".

  7. Pamela,
    I feel that way a good bit of the time. You are not alone. I think many of us moms struggle with that fear of being inadequate because of the gravity of the possible consequences of "messing up" this parenting thing!

    You are not messing up this parenting thing - I think your hubby said it best!

    Not only do many moms feel that way, and so you are not alone... but contemplate these verses...

    Joshua 1:9
    9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

    Don't forget the strength and love available to us from our Heavenly Father! His assessment is really all that matters, and

    Zephaniah 3:17
    17 The LORD your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
    He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

    Merry Christmas!

  8. My absolute lowest points as a human being have been in the role of mother. However, so have my highest. Mostly? I'm somewhere in between.

  9. Typed several times a long response, and then worrying about how crappy it made me sound as a mother, I deleted. I know the inadequate feeling. I know the complete suckitude feeling as well. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing alright, and sometimes I feel like I'm flailing about like a drowning person. Water in my lungs today, for sure.

    Hugs to you, Pam

  10. Just want to add that I think you ALL rock.
    And, yes, I worry I suck, too, continually.
    I try to remember two things. 1) Generally, I found in school, it seems it's the person who worried most about how they did on the test, who did the best. And, now, those who worry the most about whether they're a good mate/friend/mother/HUMAN are the ones who are just flat-out wonderful. And, 2), if you're like me, the bulk of your existence is propelled forward by "doing" and "trying" and "maintaining some semblance of control"-ing, or planning for all those things. I have to constantly remind myself to at least TRY to "be". Sounds like a lame platitude, but the more I allow myself to "be in the moment" the more I have faith what I'm doing means something, on multiple levels.
    But, man, is it hard to let go of the guilt. :-/
    Hugs all around.
    p.s. It's taken me HOURS to get this finished, and I only have one 4 year old to contend with at this particular moment!

  11. Oh my girl, I feel that way so often. I go to bed every night feeling guilty about one thing or another. I can tell you that you are doing the most awesomest of jobs and that each of your children know they are loved. I could feel your heart as I was reading this. I just wanted to give you a hug. So here it is XOXO


talk to me, people. because you know i get all giddy when you do.