There are brief moments in time, usually when the kids are asleep, when I feel like I have this parenting thing figured out. It has happened about 4 times now in 7.5 years so I kind of feel like a pro.
If I’m being honest, most days I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m stuck in survival mode. They are fed, in one piece, happy and their basic needs are met, so I’m doing a dandy job if you ask me 😉 Of course to them, it’s not enough. They want chocolate at 7am, the ipad for 4 hours a day, and can’t seem to understand why it’s inappropriate to sit on the couch with no pants on and pretend their genitals are joysticks. I say no to these things, so to them, I’m no fun. To them, I am a total buzzkill.
When they are chasing one another around the house and I calmly ask them to stop 456 times, it’s when I finally lose my cool and yell that one of them runs head first into the wall. And of course, it’s my fault. Not only am I mean for yelling but I put the wall there just to make sure they couldn’t have fun. Buzz- Kill.
On school mornings, all they want to do is play. But I have to get them out the door for school so I can get to work on time, and they don’t understand why it’s not a good time to paint. Nor do they feel the need to help me out by doing anything I ask the first time. So toast gets cold, milk gets spilled, toothpaste dries up and half the time I forget to comb their hair because I feel like I’m constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
“Aiden, eat your breakfast buddy, come on! Camryn, Camryn stop. Put that away. Don’t touch it. Because I said so. Where are your glasses! Now you have peanut butter all over your glasses….don’t touch your shirt! UGH! Go change!!! Grab your socks while you’re there. Aiden! Aiden put the ipad down. Fine, forget it, I’m leaving. Have fun home alone. Call the police, I don’t care! I’m gone………Camryn PUT ON YOUR SOCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
This is me, every morning. EVERY morning. I give them the same lecture all the time on the ride to school about not wanting to fight to get out the door. They sit and listen (or ignore). Camryn dancing in his seat to the newest pop hit on the radio (he gets that from me) and Aiden promising that tomorrow morning will be better and he really believes it will be (he gets that from me). And I pull up in the kiss and drop lane and I let them out and I give them each a hug and kiss and send them on their way, forgetting that I feel like I just punched a full day before 8:07am. I fight tears every damn time as I watch them walk into the school, side by side with their little book bags on their backs. Just like that, I’m snapped back to reality as someone beeps the horn behind me, reminding me that after you kiss and drop, you keep going. Total buzz kill, Mr. Green Toyota.
It’s like a viscous cycle. One minute they are driving me insane, so much so that I threaten to sell them on Kijiji for 1 dollar each. I tell them that too!! But because they don’t know what Kijiji is I don’t feel I am scarring them too much. Yet. The next minute they do something so sweet or cute that I radiate with pride. One minute I tell them they don’t listen to a word I say, and the next I realize that they listen even when I think they are not.
For example, Aiden was coloring at the kitchen table and I could smell the permanent marker so, being the buzz killer that I am, I went over to remind him that he knows better than to color with permanent marker. When he showed me what he was doing, I shut my mouth. I was speechless. He had colored a rock for my sister, and on it he had written ‘You can do this’ because he knew that she needed the encouragement. He used permanent marker because he said he didn’t want it to fade. That moment was one of those special moments where I realized that maybe I AM doing something right after all.
Fast forward 5 mins and Camryn is throwing the word butthole around like it’s going out of style. Two minutes after that he’s telling me that I am L-O-V-E. His bath time always starts off fun and ends when buzz kill Mommy shows rears her ugly head, yelling about water belonging IN THE TUB and not as a puddle on ceramic tile. By bedtime I’m threatening that I’ll be cancelling his birthday party if he doesn’t listen and 5 mins later he is calling me in for one last bedtime hug because he just wants to feel my arms around his neck. The cycle continues.
At the end of the day, as we cuddle on the couch and I feel like maybe the day wasn’t so bad after all, Aiden reminds me that we didn’t do his homework and Camryn says I sent him to school with the wrong lunch. *sigh*
While I may not have this figured out (and if you’ve ever read any of my blog posts you’ll know I’m the first to admit that), I have to believe that within this cycle there are just as many things that I am doing right as I am wrong. They may not always listen. They may be so loud that you need to carry Advil in your back pocket when they are around, and they may have more attitude than a group of 15 year old teenagers (and the eye roll to boot) but they are good kids. They are kind (not always to one another, or me! Lol) but they have good hearts, fully bellies (except for Camryn, the kid eats nothing) and big smiles.
What more could you ask for as a parent?
Except chocolate at 7am.