Friday, 2 June 2017

Picking My Own Battles and Telling Mom-Guilt to Shove it

Tonight Jerome had a difficult time falling asleep and kept coming out of his room, which is completely out of character for him. We usually say prayers with him, shut the door, and do not hear from him for the rest of the night unless he needs to use the washroom. He is free to read books and play quietly until he falls asleep, which Tharin and I are more than happy to allow.

When he came out for the fourth time, I gently and firmly lead him back to his room, with the sense that he needed a little extra attention from me. So, gathering him into my lap with his blanket wrapped snug around him, I sang to him. My big, independent two-year-old snuggled right into me, as he rarely does, quietly requesting I sing Wheels on the Bus and the Paw Patrol song.

These kind of moments should be more defining of my motherhood, and of motherhood in general, than the mom-guilt we all seem to struggle with.

Supper for the boys tonight consisted of canned beans, toast, and cottage cheese. Benedict got a hold of a rotten bottle that travelled around in the car for a week and drank from it. Jerome played in the backyard in just rubber boots and his underwear. The house is a mess. I have an overflowing pile of laundry to put away. You can barely walk on the stairs because there are so many blankets on it.

And all of this happened in a good day.

I experience a lot of anxiety over ways I feel I am not doing enough for my kids, a lot of frustration and exhaustion over issues that seem impossible to navigate. Should I be putting the Banana Boat sunscreen on my kids, or are they better off not lathered in toxic-waste cream? Should I be giving them the vitamins you can buy at Walmart, or do I need to be ordering special organic ones because clearly the ones I chose are actually filled with toxic waste, as well.

And here I thought I was getting ahead by simply applying the sunscreen, and giving them vitamins. You know?

I think this is something that is being talked about more and more, which I am so happy and encouraged to see, but I thought I would add my own voice in there.

I have realized that we all, as moms, need to pick our own battles. I care about screen-time, and I care about real play. I want to devote myself, when I have free time for this, to learning about my faith and teaching my children (aka Montessori), in that order. I care about living my faith in a real way so that my kids can learn it by example, and I care about music and books and puzzles.

You know what, I do not care that much about organic or so many of these food issues. No, I do not want my kids eating Cheetos at all hours, and Lord forbid someone give them juice (seriously), but we eat Mc Donalds on occasion, and regular Kraft Dinner on others, and it's not my battle at this time in our life. If it is yours, then all the power to you, because I really wish I had the room right now to fight that battle, but I just don't, and I need to be realistic about my limitations. Quite simply, there are bound to be things I just do not have the capacity to care about right now, so instead of choosing anxiety, I want to, instead, let these things go.

I keep a pretty tidy home, but if it happens to look like it does today, I choose to see joy in it. Slippers and a swimming bag at the front door, laundry and dirty dishes, speak of the life of my home, the immense privilege of living in this safe, somewhat crowded little place and of getting to stay home with my children. The house will not be messy forever and probably is hardly as bad as it feels, so right now I am writing and reading and playing Yahtzee with Tharin, and the house can be clean tomorrow.

Admittedly, I have no idea if the choices Tharin and I make are going to result in perfect, well-rounded adults. The battles we choose to fight might not always be the right ones, and we may realize we are capable of more, or less, as we continue navigating this complicated journey of parenthood. But thank God we are not alone and thank God He cares even more about our children and their journey than we do. All we can do is keep trying, keep fighting, keep loving these little people as fiercely as we do. Living our lives with discernment and faith.

Tomorrow, we will read our library books for the thousandth time, and play with new blocks. We'll go outside. The boys will entertain themselves with cars and that electronic, non-Montessori (sigh, no battle here, that things is here to stay) train that has provided endless amounts of fun for every child that has ever come into our home. And hopefully, I'll be trying to see the best moments of our day, the moments where I am enough for my kids, instead of dooming myself to seeing inadequacies and frustrations.

Yup, I am enough. That day I just described, that is enough for them. I am mom, and even though I feel like I am winging it every day, I am pretty sure they have absolutely no idea. So bring on the Banana Boat sunscreen, the regular toothpaste, the Kraft Dinner and all the battles that are not mine to fight right now. We'll just be over here winging it, and probably fighting dragons.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE THIS POST!!! Probably my favourite so far! It was so good and totally spoke to me :)