IN OTHER WORDS | Reflections on My Kids

Boys2009

 This post was originally written in 2009. I came across it while doing #NaBloPoMo, reflecting, remembering, and yes, recycling. It’s a great reminder of how far I have come as a mom. And, yes, it made me cry. In a good way. It no longer feels endless, it feels exciting. 

One of the toughest things about parenting is caretaking. A young human needs a lot in a day. When it’s more than one human, plus felines and a husband, the volume is overwhelming. And then there’s me. What about what I need? A few moments to myself; going to the bathroom without haste or someone banging on the door; eating a meal while sitting down, not to mention less tangible needs.

My older boy is seven. During the school year, of course, he’s gone all day. But, even when he’s home—he’s self-sufficient and likes time alone—I still have to make meals, remind him about tooth-brushing or homework, cleaning his room, it feels endless. And don’t get me started on the four year old. OK, do get me started. It’s beyond endless. He’s a different kind of kid. If there were any way to make the word endless carry even greater meaning, which, linguistically seems unlikely, I would do it.

And yes, it’s wonderful . I love my children beyond any possible definition of the word love. However, I’m exhausted. It’s been seven years, eight counting pregnancy, which I do.

We wonder why women lose themselves in mothering. This is one of the whys. There is so much. There are places to drive, groceries to buy, meals to cook, sicknesses to heal, and those are just logistics. The depth of love, caring, introspection, psychology and flat-out effort that goes in to being a good, present, responsible parent, one who teaches values, listens, loves, holds on and lets go. It is endless. And I mean the new endless. 

Allowing your child to be who they are, rather than who you want them to be. Now there’s a parenting challenge. There are those who shape their daughters with comments about weight and beauty; influence their sons with comments about what makes a strong man. Those, offhand comments, or even outright demands, that boys don’t cry or girls don’t make waves, that’s all crap.

If we get out of their way, our children know who they are. And that’s hard to do, especially when you have put in so much time and effort. Shouldn’t you have a say in the outcome? After all that, they’re introverted. What?! But, that doesn’t work for me. You don’t like chicken? Are you kidding me?!

But, they know. Their bodies know, their minds know, and their hearts know. Our job is to guide them, of course, with purpose and strength, but gently. They determine who they are. We appreciate them for who they are, not for who we want them to be. It’s not easy, but it’s parenting at its best. They become their own people. All that caretaking is worth it to watch them evolve with humor, intelligence, and grace.

When I’m overwhelmed, I try to think about that. I take a break and find a way to care for myself. Sometimes the break is only ten minutes, sometimes I get an entire day. And when I do, I am teaching my kids: be true to yourself. I watch as they grow into scientists, athletes, artists, friends, brothers, sons, and I am rewarded for every load of laundry, every carpool, every tantrum, and every moment I give.

 

You’ll see a new post from me, every day in November as part of National Blog Posting Month, NaBloPoMo. We’re almost done, but you can still join in. See BlogHer for more information.

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Comments

  1. beautiful words, Jenny!

    Like

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