Wonder if you are doing the ‘right thing/s’? I do – ALL. THE. TIME. I second guess myself and my parenting decisions. I analyse them to the point of paralysis from analysis. I hate hindsight. Even more, I get frustrated about the fact that the result/s of my decisions now may not be seen for another 5-10 years, particularly in regard to the kids.
Some decisions don’t seem so big. But then you think about it, and they become bigger. Like the foods we eat. I gravitate towards certain foods because I ‘know’ them, and am familiar with where to source, how to make/prepare and all that bizzo. But is it a good thing that my kids grow up with the same types of food I did? Probably not. So I try to change that up – and sit with a list and the willpower of 2 year old trying to make a menu plan that won’t end up with peas up noses for snot jokes, or lots of “I can’t like this, it is not suitable for my growing” (yes, she really says that). Most weeks I get some new meals that work, and others that fall into the ‘well I tried that quinoa stuff and lived..’
Then the clothes. I have trouble navigating my wardrobe and selecting appropriate clothing to be honest. If someone says to me that my clothes are cool, it is likely because they are 15 years old and in fashion again. True story. I am happy enough to have functionality and comfort. I am pretty crap at coordinating outfits – which I think is hysterical when I have four kids to dress. The girls often wear spots and stripes together – yep, truly. Blue and green – commonly seen here.
I find it confronting going shopping for the girls particularly and finding bras and fancy pant undies in size 4. Bras?! Crazy. I am not ok with that. Then I take issue with the short shorts and tops – that show off undies and loads of skin – at 4? I get that part of being a young woman is to shake it off, shake it off, but that is as a teenager not a little girl.
Then I wonder about ‘doing’ enough with the kids. Like the fun stuff, not just the domestic rigmorale. Preparing them for life. Not just with an education, but with skills to interact with others, make their own friends, and forge their own path. I wonder about how they will make friends, keep friends, and be a good friend. If they are going to be kind, sympathetic, truthful, reliable. How do I reinforce that? It complicates things when I know that there are mean kids. I feel as though I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to bullying or just kids that pick on them. It makes me want to cry and hold them even closer, and also caustically address the child that did it! I wonder if my example is going to be enough.
I wonder about my influence on their music tastes. Granted, I have great taste – just ask me; but bands from the 1990’s are probably not going to be cool for much longer – there’s a tip for you. I shudder when I listen to some of their ‘picks’ in the car. And their love of commercial radio makes me feel dirty; and not in a good way. Songs like “Geronimo” (where Emma still thinks the words are “say a waffle, say a waffle”); and “Thinking out Loud” get stuck in my head because of the repetition of four kids listening to them. Oh that and Katy Perry. Darkhorses, and tigers, oh my freaking goodness. As Brendan tells me, ‘this is how we do Mummy’. Riight. Music influences winning out on Hayden so far – with him still preferring the Foo Fighters and Blur. There’s a good boy.
Then the wondering in line, any line, anywhere, that snaps you away to another world. People watching where you look at the others around you and imagine what it is like for them. Depends on my mood/day as to how toxic I can be about it in my head. I have had some seriously awesome one liners in my head that would be disgustingly inappropriate if I did utter them – that is usually on a bad day though. Looking at their purchases, moods, or even listening to their interactions. I am sure I am not alone in this. I have imagined amazing alter-lives for these people; sometimes so far fetched that it is hysterical, and you stand there giggling like a deranged person.
Then the ‘big’ stuff. Like habits. Do you start them saving as soon as they understand it? Do you enforce rules and regulations that mean they all have to contribute to the family? Do you get them doing chores? Do you pay them? I sit on the fence for some of these – for instance the pocket money. Instead of saving for an item, they selected chores to do, and would then pay me to clean their room. Capitalists at 4 1/2 and 8. But how might this impact on them and their attitudes when they are older? Or am I just over-thinking it?
I am also guilty of worrying about worrying. I worry that when it is all going good, something is amiss. I sit and count my blessings and then wait for the shitstorm. I worry about all the factors in the kids lives that I can’t control. The growing, the learning of not always good things, the big steps into adulthood, the beliefs. It is an intricate web of action vs inaction and perilously piled shit to do later that will eventually topple if I am not careful.
I wonder about what kind of person I really am. I think I do far more good that bad (go the antonyms, can you tell I am fresh from homework?!); and I really try to be fair and equitable to everyone; sometimes at my own expense. I wonder what my dreams were at 14 and if I made them come true. I wonder did my parents worry about the same things? Did they struggle with homework, ironing uniforms and making lunches? I wonder how I prepare my kids for their first big love, knowing that there might be a chance it won’t end well. I wonder how to prepare myself for all the coming stages in my life – that as a mother, a wife, and all the other things I ‘am’.
I wonder if the grass really is greener. Or is it just that the toxic poo has not hit their lawn yet? I wonder if I am I really bad at this gig; because I constantly battle myself and four tiny humans – and I don’t always choose the right battle. I wonder if ‘this’ ever gets easier, or if it just becomes manageable because you adjust and become used to it. I wonder if I am enough; if I will be able to love, protect and raise these four kids to be well adjusted, well loved and loving kids. I wonder if I am the only wife that nags as much as I do and hates the way he makes their school lunches on Thursdays; and his definition of keeping the kitchen clean.
It’s kinda on par with looking back on photos of yourself at various stages of your life. Looking at the path you have taken. All the decisions that led you to the one you are on; all the wondering, wonderment and worry. It is all pretty amazing. Owning all of those decisions and seeing the twisting and winding path that has gotten you ‘here’. My path has had hills, mountains, gullies, and road blocks. But they have been worth it. There are going to be plenty more of those detours and side steps along the way, coupled with an array of emotions. I just hope that there will be far more good than bad.