Motherhood is such a roller coaster of emotions. Or maybe that's just me...
I find myself constantly at odds with... well, myself. One minute I am dedicated to letting my kids think for themselves, and the next minute I am yelling at them to obey "because I said so!!" One day I play and do crafts and laugh with them all day long, and the next I am rolling my eyes at their every little quirk. They are just trying to make me laugh like yesterday, but I hit my ceiling of "letting it go." The most useful piece of advice I've used since becoming a mother has been to "pick my battles." A tried and true ideal, but a hard one to maintain consistency in.
One trait that I have prided myself in since I was young, was my guilt complex. I have none. Or more accurately, I HAD none, that is, until I became a mother. I have never struggled with unnecessary guilt until that first little bundle was strapped into the car seat at the hospital. Ever since that fateful hour, I have berated myself for being a terrible mother. I don't read enough books, I don't give them enough vegetables, I forgot the sunscreen, I can't seem to finish that baby book, etc. This list could be endless. But when I take a step back, I am usually satisfied with my motherly work, and on rare occasion, proud of myself. However, that roller coaster goes up and down and up and down without stopping.
Then I take my children out in public, and although I am ignoring another motherhood virtue (never compare) I am always ALWAYS shocked into an admiration for my children and proud of the kind of mother I am. My children are usually the best behaved and I am usually the most relaxed mom. For example, Judah did a soccer class for 4 year olds which we attended once a week. The parents sit on the bleachers and watch, and in a class of about 20 kids, I was the only parent who would clap and shout "Good job, Judah!" He'd run his laps and give me a high five each time around. I supported him. What were the other parents doing? Nothing. I was shocked. I though they would loosen up after a few weeks, but they never did. What was wrong with everyone?! Don't you always make sure to support your children? I guess I was the only one who was thinking about it. While these classes were going on, Taylor would sit next to me and clap and shout too, and otherwise sit quietly. The other siblings waiting around with their parents were off the walls. Running onto the court, screaming, and causing trouble. Meanwhile, I look at my daughter (the same daughter that I couldn't stand last year) and can't believe how hard I've been on her. I had been viewing her as a needy, troublesome, out of control, emotional wreck. Now that I see other girls her age, it turns out that she is actually a great kid after all.
That means I'm a good mom, right?
Our dear sweet Judah is growing up so fast. Now, I'm not one of those parents who is always looking back sentimentally and thinking that "it seems like only yesterday [fill in the blank,]" and in fact, I am quite the opposite of that. So when I say that Judah is growing up fast, I really mean it. I am not wondering where the time went (I know exactly where it went) or wishing I could go back (I really really don't). Judah is simply becoming an extraordinary child very VERY quickly.
Ricky and I always expected great things from him ever since I learned I was pregnant. Everything that we hoped for him at this age has happened, or is happening, and we are happy for that, although, it turns out that we may be in over our heads. As for Taylor, I thought I was tied into a future of frustration with her. She is not like me at all, and it was hard for me to connect with her. Now, as time goes by, and see her more and more for her good qualities. Maybe we'll get along after all. I can't take all the credit as a mom, but today is a day that I can sit back and neglect them a bit, because today I feel like a good mother.
So here's a shout out to Judah and Taylor: thanks kids, for being great kids.