Lately I have been feeling quite overwhelmed. Probably, more than I ever have in my entire existence. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but it may have to do with my husband traveling for work more than he’s home, and having four kids. While running a business. Perhaps.
In my youngest child’s swim class the other day, a mother was talking about wanting to have more children. She has three now.
My first gut instinct was to scream loudly, “NOOOOO” while lunging toward her. I decided, though, that I didn’t want to get hauled away in a white jacket…at least not involuntarily.
As I was about to open my mouth, to at least warn her of the woes of having more than three children, it dawned on me (not for the first time- I seem to like to torture myself) that there are SOME people who thrive on large families. Who flourish in them. Who can juggle screaming children, laundry, tantrums, cooking dinner and whining without batting an eye- even smiling…. all the while.
I find myself crying, fighting and throwing tantrums. And drowning myself in the nearest bottle of Cabernet…all the while.
My dearest cousin sent me an excerpt from a blog that discussed how us mothers try for perfection and feel like we fall short. Which we do.
Which I do.
But, in this abyss of charted territory (yes, our mothers, grandmothers and so on have been here before us), I remind myself, that perfection is something I am not, and do not particularly want.
I do see it out there, perfection that is, and congratulate those mothers (and fathers) that obtain it. That have their children lined up like sweet dolls saying, “yes ma’am, no sir, thank you and may I have another” perfectly on cue. I see parents at the grocery store, with toddlers in tow, able to get all their shopping done without a peep. I see parents who reward their children’s good behavior with smiles instead of M&M’s. I see parents that go to restaurants and are able to enjoy a meal, and glass of wine, while their children quietly color without a single drop of food spilling or voice raised. I see parents whose form of punishment does not include taking away TV time- because they don’t allow TV in the first place, or spankings (errr…beatings..whatever you choose to call it) because they are not necessary, their form of punishment is a single eyebrow raised so that the horrible behavior, perhaps asking for something that is not allowed, will cease.
OK, hell with this, I haven’t seen much of this crap at all. But I am sure it exists. And truly, WOW, GREAT JOB, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU GOT IT DOWN is what I have to say. Not in the least bit sarcastically.
My children cry at restaurants. And they are either physically removed from the establishment, or, when they can understand me, get the, “DO YOU WANT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM?” question. No one wants to go to the bathroom with me, however, if they do, I promise they come out a different child.
My children cry and throw tantrums at grocery stores. Same rules as above, except I will probably take them to the car and beat them instead of the bathroom.
My children fight with each other. Even the 17-year-old fights with the 10-year-old, who fights with the two-year old, who fights with the one-year old. I fight with myself, on what is a decent hour to start drinking.
My children don’t always do their homework. And bad mom that I am, I don’t find out about it till later, when the poor teacher emails me…cause I am a sucker and fall for the “YES I SURE DID” answer when I ask about homework…or perhaps I am too damn lazy to make them show me their homework like a good parent would.
My children don’t always eat their full meal. And I don’t always want to fight about it. So the dog gets it. And I move on to my next glass of wine. “Oh you want ice cream and you didn’t eat your dinner?” Well, if it keeps you quiet for another 15-20 minutes, sure thing!
My children forget their manners; of which I am too happy to remind them.
My children are not perfect. My life is not perfect. I AM NOT PERFECT.
But in the midst of my imperfection, I still find absolute perfect moments.
Where I am reminded that life is not about being perfect. Or feeling stuck and inadequate in a specific stage. It is about the journey. Finding and relishing moments that I can let go of trying to manage it all to perfection. And just laugh. My. Ass. Off.
And although my journey, and perhaps your journey, is not, and will not be perfect, the very imperfectness of it makes it fun, adventurous and if all else fails, moments to laugh hysterically about later, perhaps, until you pee your pants.