Sunday, June 13, 2010
There is a constant nag of self-doubt. There is. In almost every day of my life. It's an unrest. Am I too mean, too nice, inconsistent, not really present enough? Do I need to have more of a plan? Less junk food, less outside influence? More music, more tolerance? Or less tolerance and more stability?
Why do I constantly flip flop back and forth between feeling like a good mom and bad mom? At the end of the each day, when the girls are tucked in and I'm cleaning and folding laundry or reading or watching tv, I roll back the day on a film strip in my head. I think about my responses to each of their heartfelt questions. I think about the way I reacted when I was angry. I try to put myself in their place.
When I was a little girl I would lay in bed at night and think about the world from a child's point of view. I remember how I felt then and it makes me want to be much gentler on them. It makes me want to slough off some of my adult-ness that causes me to steel myself. Truly, I am only a little girl myself. Trying my best to be a mother. But I have no idea what I'm doing. I take each day as a single event and hope my mistakes will wash down the gutter. Maybe someday when they have grown into beautiful people, I'll feel so glad we made it through the ups and downs. Like they turned out okay in spite of me.
I sometimes think to myself, as long as I'm me and I'm happy being me, they'll be happy being them. And that's what I want, happy confident little women. But it's so hard to be me sometimes when there's soggy cereal being poured on the carpet, screaming, lots of dirty diapers, complaints about what I'm cooking for dinner, no time for myself, hardly any peace. I feel like I'm stifled. And when I lose my patience and control I feel like a different person. The wrong person.
But other times I magically have time to spend with each of them. Some nights I don't get mad, keep my voice so very steady, blink gently when they don't listen to anything I say and ask them politely to return and finish their tasks. It's then that I feel like my spirit is oh so strong. Like I'm myself. Those nights I feel like I was chosen to be the mother of these four girls. Hand-picked like a puzzle piece. I feel so good.
And this, I suppose, is motherhood. A long series of ups and downs and in the end, you finally find yourself.