I feed, clothe, bathe, care for, nurture, love, and live for my children. I’ve given them my body and soul. Do I have to freaking entertain them too?
You know those people who are self-professed 'Big Kids'? Nope. Not me. Born a grown up, I hate playing puzzles and board games. I would rather sit through a Catholic mass than go to the playground.
My husband seems effortless in his play and banter with our oldest. They laugh together at Minions. He teaches her how to pay for things at the store. Me? I’m always in a rush.
It's bad to rush kids, I know that, but sometimes I race toward 'bedtime' like a hurdler. There is no stopping to smell the roses now that I have a second child. Teeth-brushed, jump. Jammies on, jump. Story-read, jump. Then I jump onto my couch with Netflix before the baby wakes for her next feed. On a good day, I get to drink my coffee before it goes cold and collapse on the couch before 9:00PM.
Do other Mothers feel the same or am I a stick in the mud? Maybe it’s that invisible mental load presenting itself? You know the one. The absence of which allows the 'other parent' to breeze past a dirty towel on the floor without grabbing it and throwing on a load of laundry? That.
My daughter helps me cook, fold laundry, and sometimes 'works' next to me on her wooden laptop. Quality time + getting jobs done= multitasking. That's all parenting is, really. I like to think I’m teaching her life skills, the same one's millennials claim to lack. My four-year-old won't need to call me to ask how to boil an egg. Just sayin'.
I so badly want to be a more relaxed parent. One who can leave dishes in the sink and run around in the backyard after dinner. Unfortunately, as a recovering perfectionist and new mother of two, the kitchen is the only thing I can control in my life. So I NEED to have those dishes done or I’ll twitch.
Not only do I sweat the dishes but I over-think almost every conversation I have with my daughter. Am I building her confidence or over-praising? Am I showing trustworthiness? Do I sound too cranky? How much should I set aside for her therapy?
In my own most recent therapy session, we concluded I take parenting way too seriously.
Last night while putting the girls to bed, Lavinia made me laugh out loud. Like, really laugh from my belly. Not the fake enthusiasm I’ve dispensed at appropriate times all day long. She’s a really funny kid who adores spreading joy. When the new baby grins at me, no matter how filthy my mood, I can’t help but smile from the inside out.
Isn't THAT what this is all about? Joy, not multi-tasking. Someday the girls won't demand my attention anymore, they won't even want it.
There is always something to do, and I suppose there always will be. I’m working to silence my anal-retentiveness (which I realize is a form of anxiety) to gain more of the good stuff. I don’t need to cook every single night, the phone needs to go away more often, we won’t implode if no one bathes for a day or two.
Rather than rushing through 'jobs', I'm thinking it's actually more productive to give my budding comedian an attentive audience. Maybe then I will have, and be, a lot more fun.
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