Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I"m Not a Perfect Mom and Neither are My Kids!

It’s the end of another beautiful day.  I carefully open the door to my children’s shared bedroom and tiptoe across the carpet.  I know they won’t hear me, they are fast asleep. My son is snuggled up tight, blankie in hand.  My daughter is turned completely around in her bed, head at the opposite end.  She’s spread completely out and deep into her dreams.  Today was special.  A day mommies dream of… my children’s minds and bodies were nourished.  They learned lessons.  They laughed.  They played outside.  And I was not only there with them but truly WITH THEM.  I was part of their day.  I walk over to each bed and tuck them in and re-arrange.  I pray over them and reflect on the blessings of the day.  A lump forms in my throat.  I am happy. 

I love  my children so much some days it hurts. I was meant to be a mother.  It came naturally to me and the moment my second child arrives…literally the moment Brian (who delivered Sweet Amara) was put in my arms, I knew my family was complete.  It’s exactly what I dreamed of.

My son, Alaric Arthur, is 6 and is such a joy.  He was born almost 7 weeks early and was in the NICU for 26 days.  From the beginning he’s been laid back, joyful, and really precious.  He’s kind and sensitive and fun loving, and giving. Everyone who meets him likes him and he tries hard to please.   

My daughter, Amara Christine, is 4.  She has been energetic and boisterous and downright hilarious since the moment she was born.  Her laugh can send anyone into a giggling fit and her soul was just meant to do great things.  She is so helpful and so independent.  She’s incredible capable, so beautiful, and loves God so much.

I’ve known I wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember.  Most pictures from my childhood have me holding a doll.  Most memories of my childhood dreams all involve working with children.  What do you want to be when you grow up? 

“A Teacher!” was always my answer…. “and a stay at home mom”.

I’m so blessed to tell you I’ve done, and am still doing both!

I see my children as a gift from God.  I have the opportunity to raise, with my husband, competent people in society.  To give them unconditional love, Grace, and values they will carry with them for a lifetime.  Motherhood is a joy and It’s exactly what I wanted for my life.

All of the above is true…every last word of it.  Really!  It all sounds lovely.  Beautiful really.  And much of the time it is. Some days as I walk out of their room at the end of the night, I know I did it all today and did it great.  I was everything to everybody and I made it work. I could be The Mom of the Year.   But motherhood isn’t all sunshine and happiness.  Some days suck.  Really suck.  Like super shitty.  SO bad that I’ve lost my Mom of the Year award before 6:15 am and sometimes my kids aren’t even up yet.

That’s the thing about motherhood. There is good, there is bad.  There is ugly! I’m grateful I get to start fresh each day.  Start over.  So grateful and desperate for that restart button, I’ve actually turned the clocks forward in my house so I can get the day over faster, get the kids down sooner, and put myself to bed ( try it- really!).

While many days my kids are really pretty good and most of the time I’m a pretty good mom, I would never ever ever describe them or myself as perfect.  How could I possibly?

My kids whine and fuss and throw tantrums, at home and in public.  They fart and poop and belch.  They are wimps and annoying and often make weird noises.  They are unable to sit still, even when I sit on top of them.  They cry.  They manipulate.  They frustrate. They go to daddy when I say no.  They They They….Then there’s me:

I scream.  Sometimes really loud and sometimes often during a day.  Sometimes I scream at no one in particular and other times I look right in the eyes of one of my babies and let it rip.   Most times I apologize and feel terrible right away and do all I can to make it right.  Sometimes, I don’t apologize at all…I needed to scream and I feel better than I did before.
I don’t have enough energy to even get dressed.  Because I am not a very tidy person (you’ll hear about that in a later post this week), I can not seem to get anything accomplished when my kids are awake.  That means going to bed late and waking super early ( the alarm clock has been set for 4am for the past 3 years).  There are days I don’t want to do anything.  I want to stay in my warm jammies and sleep the day away.  Some days I have to drag myself out of bed and force myself to put clothes on.  I don’t want to be a mom today.  I want to be a college student who can skip class and nap once or even twice and watch The Wedding Story and Golden Girl reruns and each pizza.  Somedays, I live vicariously through my children and I let them stay in jammies.  We’ve even run errands to the store with them in their PJ’s because I cannot even muster the energy or strength to get them ready and myself too ( don’t tell my husband).

My husband is a cook, was a cook and chef for more than a dozen years.  He’s a foodie.  I am not.  While I LOVE a gourmet meal, I’m also pretty content with pasta with butter and parm or some chips and a diet coke for dinner.  When he’s away, we almost always have PB & J or cereal for dinner,even on the days I have plenty of time to prepare and cook. 

I hate bathing my kids.  One of my kids is fully functioning on his own but I still have one who needs help.  She adores bath night.  I despise it.  Not sure why but anytime I can let those kids go a day longer in between makes me happy….and lets not even talk about summer and how chlorinated pools count for cleanliness!

I believe in giving the children the training and skills and patience and guidance to do most tasks for themselves.  Most days I’m good at this.  But somedays, I can’t handle how long it takes to put one sock and one shoe on, or even find socks and shoes.  Who cares if they match.  Watching them brush their teeth or do their dishes can put me over my limit.  I do it for them.  I snap that sock or shoe or brush or cup out of their hand and I do it for them.  Just because it’s faster and easier.

When my kids whine or fuss or just can’t stop talking, I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs, “SHUT THE $%@! UP!” I’ve never done it but because sometimes I’m a screamer, I worry I’ll do it someday. A talker myself, I should be able to relate, however somedays I can’t believe how there is never a moment of silence.

I judge.  You.  And your kids.  I try to be kind.  I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, Lord knows I want them to do the same for me.  But I find myself angry by the behavior and actions of other kids or parents.  I even dwell on it sometimes.

I’m so sick of potty training. When I find out friends potty trained their kids in 2 or 3 days, I’m pissed.  Actually mad.  At them.  At their kid.  Mostly at myself.  It all stems from jealousy.  Both of my kids have intestinal issues.  For the past 4 years straight I have touched, wiped, and cleaned more poop in undies, not diapers than I hope anyone else has to in their lifetime.  I’ve prayed to God, read books, lots of bribery, and used every technique under the Sun to try and move the process along faster and help my children through their issues but it seems to just be a Fulton child thing to take years to master this skill.

When I was nursing my babies, I sometimes would drink a beer or a glass of wine.  Sometimes before…sometimes even during.  In the hopes it would make them sleep better or cry quieter.  Now, I drink in front of them.  Just socially however when I received a 6 way beer bong ( read about my obsession here) as a gift from my dear friends on the day of my cancer surgery, I loaded that sucker up right away and asked the neighbors to come over and partake- in front of my kids.  I didn’t and I don’t feel bad about it.

I crave alone time or time away from my kids.  I lie to my kids and tell them mommy’s tummy hurts so I can have 10 minutes in the bathroom alone to myself WITH THE DOOR CLOSED so I can just sit on the floor and read my Us Weekly.

When their toys or closets get out of control and things have to go, I just bag stuff up and give it away.  When my kid asks for an item weeks or months later, I play dumb so I don’t get them mad at me.

I’ve considered duct taping a child to the wall and throwing bouncie balls their way to toughen them up.

I use the TV as a babysitter so I can get things done around the house or so I can sit and think for more than 2 minutes without being interrupted.

I worry.  I worry what I do on the good days isn’t enough to outweigh the bad days.  I worry my lessons won’t be enough for them.  I worry they will need therapy someday because of me.  I worry they will be on the show Intervention and they’ll tell everyone on National TV their mom is crazy.

I’ve been so burned out by motherhood and so tired by days, I’ve dreamed of running away from it all. 

I’ve prayed to God for strength and patience to get though a day.  No, an hour. No, a minute so I don’t say something I regret.

Parenthood is THE HARDEST job on Earth.  Its filled with the highest mountains and the deepest valleys.  And yes, its all worth it.

As I began reading Jill Savage’s book, No More Perfect Moms, I began to feel the weight of trying to be perfect lifted from my shoulders.  I’m not going for perfect…I’m going for as many precious and priceless moments that will give my children happy memories and a loving home.

Its been another one of “those” days in my house.  I’m exhausted.  I lost my Mommy of the Year Award pretty early today and my kids still came running to me for hugs and snuggles.  I tiptoe across their floor again to tuck them in.  I look down at my sweet babies.  Their faces so still and so filled with peace.  And peace washes over me.  These angels, who just hours ago were causing me a mommy meltdown, laid here in their beds with only love in their heart.  Only calm in their souls.  I close my eyes as I touch each face.  I get that lump again in my throat.  I make my peace with them and with God.  I am grateful to start fresh tomorrow.  Grateful for another day with these children and this life.  I head to bed, not with my head held high but rather with the simple understanding that its OK.  Not one of my best days but a day.  In the life of the lives I helped create.  Tomorrow won’t be perfect.  My kids nor I will be either.  But its ours.  We’ll make the most of it-together. 


Laura Wells said...

Stopping by from NMPM launch team. Parenting is the hardest job on earth. I too yell, use TV as a babysitter, feed my kids hard boiled eggs for lunch. But Jill is right. We want to invest in the people who are precious to us. Honestly, I was a bit worried at the beginning of your post, thinking that you might make me feel very imperfect (always playing that comparison game). Oh and I am not neat either!

The Buehnerkemper Family said...

Well, said Katie! I do think you are such an amazing Mom.. for all the good things & not so good things! Your kids are so blessed that you are their Mommy!

Lisa said...

Great post, Miss Katie! Now when I compare myself to you, my friend, I'll feel the playing field is a little more even thanks to your authenticity. I'm blogging my way through the book, too, but have had a rough week so just have the first post up. It was incredibly hard to publish, but we're keeping it real here as well.

Jill said...

Thank you for that honest post. it is so nice to see that there are other moms that are walking in the same shoes. :)

Rachel Kuna said...

This made me cry...and made me really scared!!! Excellent post and insight into your days. Love u!!