I am always very honest with anyone who will listen to me whine about how I have struggled with parenting. Even as the time when my kids were babies and toddlers becomes years ago, I still sometimes cringe at the angst those years brought me. Diapers, colic, a crazy little boy that didn't like to talk but liked to run from mom, three kids under the age of four, everyone having the pukes at the same time, and the list goes on and on. Sure there are happy memories from those days but if I am being honest, I am not removed enough from the tough stages to look back idealistically to that season. Plus, I still have a five year old so I have plenty of temper tantrums to deal with too!
But, I can't help but get excited as Matthew nears ten, at what lies ahead for me in parenting. Matthew and I, we get each other. We have great talks, he is becoming such a little man and it is much easier for me to deal with ten year old issues than it was when he was two and three. My patience is certainly able to hang in there for ten year old mischief than that of my five year old. We've begun to have discussions about drinking and life issues that will all too soon come our boy's way. Matthew is thoughtful and realistic about how he would approach peer pressure, bullying, feeling left out, and other third grade boy issues. It gives me such hope that one day I will be able to better relate with all of my children and not feel that I am miserably failing them.
I have really been struggling with parenting lately. The girls fight and sometimes it seems that they fight 100% of the time they are awake. It is draining to say the least. Add in their feisty temperaments and ability to wear mom and dad down to beyond exhausted and you have a recipe for a pretty miserable household some days. I said to Jeff the other night, "How can I be a social worker and suck so bad at this parenting crap?" and I think I added.." I am so over this shit." Jeff, being the voice of calm and reason and optimism said something like, "It will get better." Then I freaked out and said.."YOU'VE BEEN SAYING THAT FOR 8 YEARS!!" But, after sometime alone I thought about Matthew and how it doesn't always seems so overwhelming anymore with him. Sure, his temperament differs from the girl's but he has his moments too. I am hopeful as everyone gets older and hopefully wiser year to year that this mom might finally find her parenting groove ten years in. I have to hope for that because some days the struggle is all too real. It has impacted me in so many ways. It's shaped how I view myself, my friendships, my marriage, myself as a professional. Lately it has made me want to just withdraw from everyone but our little family unit because I am sick of feeling judged with how the kids act or how I handle it. I just want to be able to BE. I know everyone means well and has their own approaches for parenting, ahem, my mom, but sometimes you don't really care what anyone else thinks because all you are hearing is.."Since you apparently suck so bad at this, let me offer some friendly advice.: I know I suck at this. At least I own it and I haven't given up yet! After all, one day everyone in this house will turn ten!