Today was one of those days, when I question my parental aptitude. It was a day of second-guessing my maternal competency and sorting through my stacks of ‘should’ve, could’ve wish-I-would haves’. There were many years that I would allow guilt (perceived or genuinely earned) to consume me. I would sling that heavy bastard on my back and lug him around with me. Several years ago I decided on a lifestyle change. With a steady diet of personal reflection and regular exercises in what can I learn from this, I have trimmed down the guilt-weight. With that being said, there are days like today when Guilt knocks me down and his stupid friend, Doubt, sits on my chest and I can hardly breathe.
My three children are so completely different from one another; it is almost a stretch to think they share any of the same genetic material. When my oldest, Riley, was born I could sit her in her highchair and clean the entire kitchen and she would entertain herself with little toys or finger foods. I could put Evan in his highchair and he would beat on it, throw things, or rock it so hard it would almost tip over. Sophi would stay in her highchair for about 2.7 seconds. Even when buckled in, she would Houdini her way out and be out of sight before I could turn around. From the naked mole rat stage to their current stages of development, they have been utterly dissimilar.
So when one child feels slighted by the attention, treatment, or overall parental nurturing, it is like a stake to my heart. I immediately feel compelled to justify my parental portions. Mentally I start making note of the pieces of my love, discipline, and attention. I become totally aware that there are absolutely no ‘do-overs’ in this life and there is a good chance that I need a flippin’ do-over. The pieces of my pie are not cut and served in three identical portions. I screwed up serving my parenalt pie. Doubt is sitting squarely upon my chest.
I have been trying to get a good foot-hold on this parenting gig for over 22 years now. The mistakes I have made are many and being double-teamed today by Guilt and his fool-ass friend, Doubt, is a crappy way to start my week. There is a lot of week that I have to get through and there is a lot of fight left in my imperfect mom-self. It is time to pick myself up and dust myself off and own this Mom-thing. So, I might go down, but I am going down cutting this pie the best way I know how.
What I want my children to know:
1. I am so far from perfect that if you could buy parents, you would probably find me at the Ninety-Nine Cent Store. My love for you is not flawed. It is the best thing about me.
2. The decisions I make about your siblings is independent of the decisions I make about you. I wouldn’t put diesel fuel in a car that runs on unleaded. It doesn’t work.
3. You didn’t come with a manual. I have done my very best to make you feel loved, safe, and adored. You are loved, safe, and adored.
4. Life is not fair. It is never going to be. I have not treated you equally. I have, however, loved you equally. It is the only perfect portion I have to offer. I will never waiver on loving you each with every fiber of my being. This will be true forever.
5. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. Your siblings are not perfect. Life starts to make sense when we can look past one another’s imperfections and focus on the ‘good stuff’. Sometimes you have to look for the ‘good stuff’.
6. My days are numbered. I cannot live forever. Love one another. Forgive one another. Keep one another safe. If I can leave one legacy, it would be for you to always share the love I have given you with one another. Life is too short to fight over pie.