From the moment I wake up I have children attached to me. Scratch that, they stay attached to me at night too. I get some kids to sleep and another will wake up demanding my undivided attention. Sometimes I may get few hours alone at night. I am then faced with the decision of going to bed and getting needed rest or staying up and getting needed alone time. Neither does me good.
Today was one of those days. A day where my toddler learned to climb the gate and head out on her own. She came back and wanted to go on a walk so while she put on her leash and I got two of the other children ready she headed out on her own again. Our walk was stressful. She tried my patience to its thinnest and even told me I should not get angry. After her little escape trick I did some thinking. How often do we automatically think that parents are being neglectful when we hear of a child found on the side of the street? Sure there are the ones where the parents were passed out because of drugs or some other substance, but I would wager to guess that more often than not many children escape the watchful eye of their very caring and careful parents. Parents who just happened to need to go to the bathroom for just a few minutes. Parents who were up all night taking care of a child who wouldn’t sleep and so they fell asleep while folding laundry. Parents who do everything for their kids and as soon as their back is turned the little munchkin decided to attempt the world on their own. How often do we throw these parents under the bus?
My frustration and bad afternoon did not end there. It seemed every moment after that was destined to push my limits. I finally just sat down on the couch and put on a music for the kids to dance to. Forget cleaning, forget engaging with the kids, forget everything else as I was done and anymore thinking would just create more frustration. Bedtime turned out better, sort of. Instead of waiting for them to go to sleep I read them books and laid down next to them until they fell asleep. Of course the moment I left the bedroom another child woke up. I am waiting for him to go to sleep. Why is it that my children just will not sleep on their own?
All of these things today got me thinking about the pressure to be a perfect parent. I have to read to my kids everyday or they will not grow up to be good readers or whatever the claim might be. Thanks. I have now screwed up my kids because I have not read to them every single day. I cannot yell at my kids. If I yell at my kids then I will give them some sort of a complex and they will not be happy. I have to provide them toys and if I do not than I am a neglectful parent (thanks parenting college class). I need to feed them healthy food every day and if I do not then I am a bad parent who will not have healthy kids. I must keep a clean home at all times and teach my kids to clean….There are a bunch of do nots, nevers and always. Quite frankly it sets a precedent that no parent can succeed at. No parent, at leat not me. Oh yeah, and then the pressure to get to my pre-pregnancy wait….that is what started it…no, it was the drive I took today through a neighborhood that reminded me that I seem to only be moving backward in life and not forward. I began to feel sorry for myself. As a result it spiraled into a messy emotional afternoon. I became impatient with the life I have because I wanted something better. Don’t we all? I guess not. Some people are very content never progressing.
Do I have to be perfect? No. Either do you. All we have to do is our best. So we messed up, didn’t do what we wanted to do, yelled at our kids, lost our patience, or whatever we had planned for the day. You know what, there is always tomorrow. So try again. Why not?