This not an adequate description of parenting. It is NOT all sunshine, rainbows, and happy times! It certainly has a good dusting of these, but these are the good bits. It is predominantly made up of tears, frustration, teamwork, routine, sleeplessness, more tears and arguments and negotiations. It is like working on a negotiation then to have to start all over again because the goal posts have shifted. It is like being outnumbered every day. It is a regime; dictated by four tiny humans that constantly amaze me with how intelligent they are.
The daily battles with not only myself, but with the kids, need to be selected – and carefully. Some days, fatigue sets in early, and clouds my judgment. Things that normally might not bother me, do. Couple this with four active and stubborn kids and it leaves me feeling like I am just out to survive the day. Waiting, waiting, waiting for that sun to go down so they can go to bed. Only to sleep a bit and then I get to do it all again tomorrow. If only you know completely, before having kids, just how much psychological warfare is to be used, so you can equip yourself, prepare yourself. I am unprepared, unmatched, and outmanned most days.
I think I would have laughed if someone told me 10 years ago that raising kids was like ‘this’. Even now I sometimes catch myself looking at the scenario – I mean really looking, and thinking, ‘wow, why do I actually care so much if she does not want to do ____/wear ____/eat ____? ‘ Motherhood is a strange existence sometimes. One minute you are consoling a sick/injured/tired child, the next you are on full scale debate as to why we should eat vegetables, or the values of doing a base in lego. There are no professional development days as a mum. Most of the ‘experience’ you gain is your own passage of motherhood time. There are no powerpoint presentations to help you prepare, there are books, but they generally make me feel as though I am doing far worse than I thought.
I hear these five words a great deal. Thrown at me by people I don’t know, people I know, and then overheard whilst out and about. Although, I honestly thought that by now (‘now’ being mum to 4 1/2 year old triplets and an almost 8 year old) the occurrences would die down. Apparently not, as I am hearing it with a vengeance!
I will put a stop to it all right now – I am not superwoman. I do not possess magical or heroic powers other than the ones that come factory approved when motherhood kicks in. I don’t know how to do, be or have it all, as I don’t think I quite get it all done every day/week/month/year. I think I make it up as I go along. I try to do as much as I can, sometimes it ends well, other times it ends in tears – either mine or one of the kids.
This is still an experimental recipe, altered for each attempt, considering the intelligence and smarts change in the four kids on each attempt. Rules change, goal posts shift. It’s a work in progress….
Arrive at destination after hearing at least 400 times “Are we there yet?”.
Get asked at least 100 times “What’s to eat?” followed closely by “Where is my bike?”. Dispense liberally bananas, rice crackers and water bottles.
So many things I do every day, some days the same things repetitively, other days a whole host of other tasks. But are they enough?
I hug and kiss the kids countless times every day, and tell them I love them just as often. But is that enough? Is that enough times to tell them how special and amazing they are in my eyes? Is it too much that they then think they are invincible? Am I finding the correct balance of supporting their growth and development or am I doing to much for them? Am I providing enough educational structure in the daily patterns of life that one day they too can walk independently and survive?
So. Many. Questions. So much self doubt. There is no guide book. There are no rules for this crazy gig called Motherhood. What I let my kids do, others don’t, and vice versa. Then there is the conundrum of comparisons. They have _____; and we don’t. We have _____ and they don’t. Is it a flaw to admit as a mother you don’t actually know all the answers?