As my kids get older, the quality time we have as a family and even just alone is a minimum. Each day someone has something going on that takes away from the other two. After a whirlwind first month of school and getting into our crazy schedule, I am seeing little lights at the end of little tunnels that were once very dark.
I love the time each week I get to have one-on-one time with each of my kids. By far my youngest gets the best quantity of my time since she has me to herself every afternoon. But it is during this time I get to see how she is maturing and changing each day. It is during these afternoons that I love to snuggle with her and let her be her.
I love my weekly dinner dates with my son. Yes it is usually McDonald’s but I will take a burger and fries with him over anything any day of the week. He is the only male in the house. He is the middle child. He is the one I feel I need to learn how to connect with the most since I am obviously not a male myself…ha! In our short little date, I find out so much about what is going on in his mind and his world. This is where I am hoping the lines of communication begins and he knows he can tell me anything.
And as my oldest is changing and trying to find her way as an almost “tween”, I live for our late night drive to and from her one dance class. I put my pride and guilt aside and recruited help on one night where it is just her and I. It gives us a chance to just have girl talk. I am not just mom but a confidant. I hesitate to use the word “friend” here. It is such a fine line to walk with any child. But I think (or hope) that keeping that line drawn will create a special and unique bond that is even better than a friendship. I see how she is entering into the years of struggling to find herself and to find where she fits in on top of peer pressure and everything else that comes with growing up and I am scared for her. I know I wouldn’t want to be growing up in this day and age. It is during this time, I see the amazing young lady she is and this is when she truly confides in me.
I am very proud of myself that I have been able to put aside my guilt, my pride, my desire to do it all aside. Because let’s face it I can’t and no one can. I am taking full advantage of my weekly dates more and more as each week passes because I see the small changes they make for each of them and for me.
I was fortunate to go away with just my son this past weekend. It is very rare that I get an opportunity to get away with one of my children for longer than a few hours at a time yet alone an entire weekend and twice in a 6 month period. Back in April was the first time when my oldest daughter’s dance team had an amazing opportunity to travel to Disney World and perform as well as take an exclusive workshop with cast members. For the first time, I packed up myself and just one of my kids to take a trip together.
Just me and ONE child!
Let me say that again….Just me and ONE child!
I forgot what it was like to have just one little person attached to you. It is so peaceful. No one is competing for your attention. There was no fighting. There was no one saying something wasn’t fair. I wasn’t being pulled in so many directions at once. I was enjoying my child.
I find it very hard to say the words “enjoying my child(ren)” on a regular basis. It has been something I have struggled with for some time. It has been something that has made me feel like I am failing them. When you are the one person that more than one little person depends upon, you often find yourself being pulled in so many directions. And when you are pulled in so many directions it is so hard to find the enjoyment in this crazy world called parenthood.
I mean think about it, what is there to enjoy about being the disciplinarian or being talked to with an attitude? What pleasure do you get from having to repeat yourself 100x’s to get someone to pick up their belongings, throw their trash away, or flush the toilet? Where is the enjoyment of running like a mad person to get everything together-dinner, lunches, laundry? No one likes to be the person who does so much with so little in return. This is the side of parenting that is not fun and you can never fully prepare yourself for.
But then there is the side of parenting you experienced what seemed to be so long ago. The side that is always there but as your kids get older seems to be rare. The side when you enjoy your kids. You enjoy their snuggles. You enjoy their little voices saying “Mommy/Daddy you’re the best!”. The side where you make everything right in their little world and they are so grateful. The side where you can do no wrong in their eyes. The side where one hug just seems to take the weight of the world off your shoulders for a brief moment.
I am in the midst of parenthood where the “enjoying my children” feeling is very hard to find some days. I KNOW it’s there. On the tough days, I just wish there were more of those moments. I think the only way to have them is to make sure I am present and I am looking for them when it gets to the point of feeling so beaten down by the daily demands of parenting. There are no books or articles that can really prepare you for this flipside of parenting. I think the one thing that can help us all is sharing the days of “not enjoying” our kids and how we got through them.
It has been a crazy few weeks in this house and trying to catch my breath has not been easy. Trying to fit everything in, be where you need to be, working commitments, kids’ activities, household necessities…you know every day life just doesn’t all seem to fit within a 24 hr. period. Then add 3 distinctly different kids into the mix and you have the perfect combination for the perfect storm.
How do you weather the storm?
I don’t think any of us know the answer. But I know many of us know how important it is to get through the storm.
I feel I am in the eye of the storm and until I get a handle on it, I will not get past it.
As a new month begins, a new outlook and new hope to get through this recurring storm within our home.
Each day needs to be a fresh start.
Each day needs to have a focus.
Each day needs to have less yelling and more calmness.
Each day needs to have a positive.
Each day needs the attention.
Each day needs me to be present.
Each day needs forgiveness.
We all need an each day to weather any storm.
Days are hard being a single parent. You constantly think about all you do wrong. You are always struggling with the decisions you make. You want to make sure you are present for each child yet you are one person and you are human. In your mind you know your children will appreciate you and everything you have done and will do for them. You know they will look back and see all the sacrifices you made for them.
As a single parent you make choices every single day alone. You make choices that ultimately put your needs on the back burner. You put your children first. You are not available to give much more to anything or anyone. You are stretched thin.
Are you trying to be a martyr?
Are you trying to prove you can do it all?
Are you trying to be put on a pedestal?
Are you looking for pity?
Are you looking for approval?
I can only speak for myself but I am not looking for any of the above. The only thing I am striving to be is the best parent I can be for my children. I simply want them to know they are loved. I simply want them to know I have their best interests at heart. I simply want them to know I am here for them. I simply want to get through a single day without my frustrations with life getting in the way.
Although I know what I strive for each and every day with my life and being a single parent, I know not every day will be the best day. I know there may be a stretch of time when everything seems to be pure chaos and I feel like I am failing them. But single parent or not, this is parenthood. I simply just want to be what my children need me to be.
What are some things you think about when you drift off to sleep?
I struggle to fall asleep with a positive thought as my final thought of the day. I think that is really sad. I know there is good in every day but sometimes it gets lost in all the things that went wrong.
So as I get ready to drift off for the day I am trying to come up with a positive. And I think I found more than one~
I got all 3 kids to pull the weeds from the play set area.
I made a complete meal and everyone liked it.
All the laundry is put away.
I packed away one out of three kids’ summer clothes.
I read a chapter in a book (a book!!!!)!
I found a new lunch option for the picky eater.
I’m sure there is more I’m overlooking. But I’m glad these came to mind and took my mind off of the many things I wish I could have changed for the day.
Can you find your positives?
I keep telling myself this but I still struggle with it.
I have been struggling with making a decision on whether or not to give my youngest the same opportunity as I did for my oldest. And the same opportunity I denied my middle child. I denied the opportunity to him because, just as the above quote says, I can’t do everything. The difference and why I am struggling with my decision is the commitment factor. I denied a similar opportunity to my son because the commitment level was so involved~ all day events EVERY week in addition to the one evening a week requirement. For my youngest it is simply a one evening commitment. But her temperament can’t handle two evenings in a row doing an activity.
So why do I feel such guilt with knowing it would be a bad decision?
I simply need to face the fact that I am not super woman. I can barely keep up with the everyday things I need to get done. Adding another commitment will seriously add more stress than good. So I need to keep repeating and accepting the above quote. I need to know that saying no to things isn’t going to scar them (I really do know this). I need to know my children are very fortunate to do the things they do and they don’t need to be over-scheduled. It will not benefit them, me, or our family. I need to know “mommy guilt” needs to be squashed and not part of decision-making.
No one can do it all.
The first day of school is always a time of mixed emotions. And I think it is safe to say not just for the kids but for the parents as well. I am trying to find all the positives of this upcoming school year.
~All three will be at one school.
~This will be the only time my girls will be in the same school and Ella’s class will most likely be Gracie’s “buddy class”.
~(**knock on wood**) I see a light shining in Ella’s eyes that has been dim for so many years.
~Bedtime will no longer be a battle.
~Hunter has won the “Most Responsible” Award for being prepared for the start of school.
This list may be short but for our family it is made up of a lot of huge things. I pray every night that my children will find the good in each day. I want them to see how there is good somewhere in everything they do.
Here is to finding good in something each day xoxo