I read and shared an article on Facebook last week that really stuck with me. It was a pretty long article and so I skimmed some of it, but the point of it was why is motherhood so hard. This lady had 4 kids and home schools and just couldn't figure out why everyone seemed so shocked when she told them. Her question was....why does it have to be so hard?
She made the point that her kids don't have to be constantly entertained or in every activity and after homeschooling and chores are done, then the afternoon is just relaxing time. As I read through this, I realized that yes, I have allowed motherhood to be super hectic and crazy. I have gotten to the point that a lot of the days, I make it to the end of the day with the feeling that I have simply survived. Yes, I will be the first to admit that this year I allowed our kids to be involved in too many activities. So much so, that we couldn't even finish Boy Scouts because we started baseball and softball and it overlapped.
The other night Trey's practice was rained out so I told him to go ahead and take a shower because after gymnastics we were done for the night. He jumped up and down and cheered. It made me think of my days after school growing up. For the most part, I came home and made myself the same snack every afternoon (brownie with melted peanut butter on top...stinking high school metabolism) and then sometimes did homework (back then we really didn't have any because of study hall) but for the most part I watched tv until dinner. I relaxed. My sister relaxed. It was nice. I was involved with what I wanted to be involved with, but I was a homebody. Now, I feel bad if my kids get left out of something that they are eligible to do.
I realized after reading this, that a lot of the time, I am the one who makes things so hard. I am the one who sets a crazy weeknight schedule for our family and a fast pace to keep up with. It's hard and it's not easy.
However, I don't think simply cutting out activities makes parenting easy. I don't think simply sitting down at 3:00 every afternoon and telling your kids you are off duty until dinner makes it easy. Does it make it more manageable? Sure. But easy...no. Our society is so fast paced and we want everything convenient. We want everything offered in a drive through and if we have to wait....well, don't get me started. We have become a society of if it's hard, then don't do it.
Parenting is hard. That's why there are so many parents out there who are not making it. That's why there are so many grandparents out there who wish they had do overs. Kids are not self sufficient little beings that are going to simply allow you to go off duty at 3:00 every afternoon. Can they learn to be independent and give you a few minutes of rest? Absolutely, but the reality is they depend and rely on us. We are who they want in time of need. Even if that time of need is to simply walk upstairs for the 50th time to pull another dress up gown down, or reach a book on the top shelf, or make them their umpteenth snack. They need us.
Last night, Addison hit her eye on the ledge in our shower and we had to make a trip to the after hours clinic. As they were cleaning it and gluing it back together, I was beside her in the bed and 2 nurses were holding her down while the doctor worked. She was screaming and kept yelling, "I want mommy" over and over again. I was right beside her the whole time holding her and hugging her but in her moment of distress she couldn't feel that. I hugged her tighter and told her I was right there. It was hard to watch. I was tired and she was tired and it was a hard parenting moment. But I was there.
I don't always "do" parenting well. There are days when I would rather lay around all day instead of doing anything productive. There are days our schedule is so full, I can hardly see straight and I go to bed feeling so guilty. There are days I wonder if my children are ever going to be responsible, productive members of society. But there is never a day that I expect it to be easy. It's those days, that we have to fill ourselves and surround ourselves with people that will keep us going and remember those moms who never had any encouragement and simply quit. Motherhood doesn't have to be about impossible schedules, but it's definitely about getting rid of the notion that every day should be easy.