Last night was interesting. Maybe I should start with the night before. I have discussed before (I think) how as a mother sometimes you just rock, you totally are the mom you always wanted to be and other times you are soo not. I guess I can start with this link. I am a subscriber to mothering, I receive the magazine, I post on the online message boards, I have learned an incredible amount of information from this resource and found comfort and companionship on my journey as a parent. It can be so isolating to be a parent today, the village is no longer involved and often you find yourself at home at 6pm never having had a single adult conversation all day long. At times like this online resources can provide a dose of sanity, and a bit of grounding that no you are not the only one who is dealing with the same things. You are not the only one who's kids screamed all day, or cried, or whined, or used marker all over the walls. You are not the only mom who wanted to remain calm but somehow ended up screaming at your kids, you are not the only one who watched them sleep vowing to do better tomorrow. You aren't the only mom with a messy house and a million projects unfinished. It also encourages you, helps you to find those special projects, baking bread with the kids, creating some new craft, sewing them little toys. You hear about or see a project someone else has done and you are inspired, you read about the funny things other people's kids said and you laugh, you share the journey with people you will never meet, but it's a village of sorts and it works.
Some of my favorite quotes from the discussion
"Also...Don't compare yourself to mothers you know online. I know several MDC moms in real life and they're all normal, flawed moms just like me...just like you. Don't think that everyone else has got it all together and you don't. It's not healthy and it's not true."
"There are going to be times where everything is just clicking and you are on top of the world. And others where you feel like you've fallen on your face."
" I think you begin to become more forgiving of yourself for less than perfect parent moments the more you have. You're outnumbered, you're often playing a defensive game, so if I don't dilute the juice because I'm out of time or exhausted or just need to get them out of my hair so I can cook dinner, I'm not as likely to beat myself up over it. We still have our core beliefs, and try to stick to them as much as possible, but some days you trip and you cannot afford the time to sit and analyze why, you just have to dust yourself off and do better the next time."
Okay, so on to 2 nights ago. I had spent way too much time cleaning the living room, like really cleaning, then we had a playdate, then dinner etc. I had hung some Christmas lights in the big girls room and suggested they have a "slumber party". Middlest was instantly wary of the idea b/c how could you have a party with two people? I told her about how my sisters and I all used to share a room and sometimes we would stay up late at night talking and it kind of felt like a slumber party. They warmed up to the idea BUT there is only 2 of them (Littlest sleeps with us) and there had been 3 of us in the room (my oldest sister already having moved out of the house). They asked me to join them and it sounded like a good idea except the dinner dishes still needed to be done, the baby had to be nursed to sleep, etc. I left them to their own devices and put the baby to sleep. By the time Littlest had fallen asleep, Middlest had come in with a question about the apron she was sewing (a craft apron kit she got for Christmas where you sew the pockets on, each of the pockets has hole in it so you can see where to put the needle, so instead of heading in to the kitchen I grabbed my sewing stuff and headed into the bedroom. I sewed the letter "B" out of felt, the very insane project of sewing stuffed letters for a little alphabet. I feel that possibly the letters are too small and it's going to be a big PIA, but I have a feeling that I will continue the project anyways. Middlest worked on her apron, and Oldest sewed an ornament to hang on the bed frame with the lights and tinsel that was blown out of a canon at the end of the Kinetix show at Busch Gardens.It was spectacular. I never did clean the kitchen that night, but the girls and I sewed until 10pm and chatted.
Then if you contrast that night with last night. At this point I don't remember how the altercation began, a frazzled mom, a 4.5 year old acting like a 4.5 year old. Middlest tore one of Biggests(I should really try to consistently stay with the same term for her. LOL. but I don't remember what I started wiht.) art porjects off the wall. You have to understand the history here, Middlest while one of the sweetest, nicest most caring people I have ever met can also be quite destructive. In that she destroys other people's artwork, creations, and things when she is angry, that she scribbles, writes, scratches into, and pounds points into furniture and parts of the house when she is bored. So we have talked many, many times about how it would feel if someone did that stuff to something SHE made, and every time she admits, yes she wouldn't like that. So reader, her is what I did in my frazzled state: I yelled, I screamed, I hollered "DON'T DESTROY PEOPLE'S THINGS! I AM SO SICK OF YOU DESTROYING PEOPLE'S THINGS, IT IS NOT NICE!!!! HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF SOMEONE DESTROYED YOUR THINGS?" Then reader she admitted she wouldn't like it, I stomped into the kitchen and pulled her bears in red ink on red paper off the wall, stomped into the bathroom where she was and proceeded to rip it into four pieces, and how she did wail. then I yelled "NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS!" Yes, not one of my finer moments. Middlest wailed on and I began to turn out all the lights, Oldest in bed, Littlest in my arms ready to nurse I went to my room and shut the door on Middlest wailing in the hall, she calmed, she walked in and told me she forgot to brush her teeth (oh yes, now I remember this is how it all started, brushing teeth and bedtime. I calmly told Middlest she did not forget to brush her teeth, that he chose to act like a butt head instead, note I did not call HER a butt head, I called the way she acted a butt head way to act. She said I had acted like a butt head too, and I admitted that yes I had. We went and brushed her teeth, and I tucked in, hugged, kissed and wished a good night to them. Then I lay in bed thinking about what a crap way I had just handled that situation, I vowed to do better the next day, to reign in my frustrations, to remain clam, to not yell so damn much. Then I read my doula book and let my mind wander to the births of my children and how far we have come. Yes, when I had these babies I never could have imagined that I would yell, that I would rip, that I would even sometimes hit them. I thought negatively of parents I saw doing these things and I haughtily thought how wonderful I was, but the truth is that I am flawed, that I never could have expected how hard it would be to parent, that I am still a human, imperfect and impatient. I did not magically learn everything when I pushed out my first kid, and it seems that three kids later I find I know even less. That I am constantly reminded how much I have to learn, and sometimes I laugh a little about the gusto of the 20 year old me, or the silliness of the 16 year old me and I accept that I will continue to be surprised by what life has to offer, that when I am 40 I will look back at me now and laugh good naturedly about what I think I know.