Sunday, April 11, 2010

walk a mile in my shoes

I was the best parent in the world, before I had children. I knew why children turned out the way they did, how to get a child to sleep through the night, how long a child should breastfeed and I certainly was an expert on discipline. Then I had children.

I woke up this morning to the familiar screaming of my two children, one bugging the other. I dove deeper under the covers hoping I could disappear into some other world where children woke up singing and played quietly until I was ready to descend the stairs for my morning coffee. No such luck. I managed to doze for a half-hour between the crying and giggles (the girl can be a bit dramatic) all until my son came upstairs with a handful of his sisters hair and a pair of scissors. Need I say more?

I dream that there are mothers out there that take every challenge with stride, never loosing their cool, never dreaming of a Martini at noon. I wish I were that mother. I am that mother some of the time. This past week, not so much. Spring break and kitchen reno's have created a bit of a perfect storm where I am equally pulled between wanting to be present with my children and also finishing the painting that can't seem to wait until bedtime. It is hard for me to ignore my kids so that I can finish a job and it is equally hard to ignore the job so that I can be with the kids. I eventually gave up during the day and saved the work until night, but I am so tired.

What really gets me in times like these is people who don't have children who are so quick to judge with their all knowing responses for repair. They are experts in child rearing and know just how to fix the problem. Everything is in absolutes and so simple. Just take them for a walk. I already did that. Spend time with them. I am spending time with them. Then the blank look of realisation that all of their tricks are not fail proof.

The truth is, there really is no magic answer, no magic craft project, no magic story time. Having kids is hard. Having two kids is a million times harder. It can be rewarding, joyful, filled with moments of overflowing love for those two little ones you feel so blessed to have brought into the world. I often feel like this when I see them sleeping. I feel like this lots of times through the day too. But mothering can also be lonely, isolating, frustrating, maddening and bring you to tears. "Are you crying mummy?" "Liam, Why is mummy crying?" I couldn't speak through the tears, I just walked to the garage to get their bikes and helmets, wiped the tears away, took a breath and took them for a long river walk.

So the next time you think you have the answers or feel that you are an expert on someone else's children (even if you have ones of your own), Stop. Walk a mile in her shoes before you speak, you might find you get blisters just like she does.


Melodie said...

Thank for this Catherine. I needed to read this RIGHT NOW. And your last post too. I feel ya.

My Birth Tree said...

Hey Melodie:

You are not alone. We are all doing the best we can in the moment we are in. You are an amazing mother and an amazing childcare provider, so I heard through the grapevine this weekend : )

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belly monster said...

Thanks Catherine. So good to have you in the trenches. I am feeling the pull-pull of the attempt at wok life balance myself. It's so wonderful to have you articulate it so astutely.