Disclaimer: If this post is disjointed and makes no sense, it's because I typed it one-handed, while nursing Edith and mediating disagreements between the kids. Multi-tasking at it's finest!
For the last 6 weeks I have been in a bit of a quarantine. With Edith on oxygen and under strict instruction not to take her anywhere until May, we've been hanging out in our little corner of the family room, tethered and tied down. I have emerged a few times, but in general it is a very Edith-centric and sheltered life I lead.
Oddly enough, though difficult, this has been a bit of a relief for me. The situation I find myself in has given me a break from the nagging feeling that I often have that I should be more and do more as a mom. I am being forced to accept the fact that there's only so much I can do.
I am more limited in what I can offer these days, and do you know what? My little family's world (okay, big family) hasn't been shattered. In fact we're thriving. In a much better way, even.
Instead of us quickly going back to a normal where I shouldered maybe too much of the burden, yet still felt as though I don't do enough, the rest of the family has had to step up. There is a much more equitable distribution around here these days, and I plan on it being our new norm.
And because I've been living such a sheltered existence I have been unable to make so many of the comparisons I am guilty of. Those that make me feel I am not doing enough. You know, those comparisons where I look at other mothers and assume they are doing a much better job than I am and their children must be so much more happy and fulfilled than mine.
(Well, except when I look at those mothers who berate and yell at their children in public. They should know that such things should be saved for the privacy of home. I mean, any good mother knows that.)
It's kind of like I'm parenting with blinders on, able to see only what's right in front of me.
I know of some people who have as many children as I do (Yes, there are others besides me who are crazy enough or are just plain stupid about birth control), and I hear of them taking all of their kids and sometimes even a gazillion of their kids' friends to the zoo or a park every day of the week without their husbands and then on a mini-trip over the weekend, and I feel guilty. Bad mom.
I see these women in the blogosphere who have cute, craft-filled homes and cute, clean, headband-wearing children and babies, who have planned crafts and games to fill up their children's entire day (nay, lives!), and I feel guilty. Bad mom.
I know moms who go with the flow.
Moms who don't cry over spilled milk and never feed their kids chicken nuggets.
I am not that mom. I am anal and high-strung. A schedule is my friend. I cry over spilled milk (well, you would, too, if the house you were living in had carpet in the kitchen).
I am the mom of children who will never get to have a friend over because she tells them their room has to be clean first!
But, I am also the woman whose children are well-behaved (generally) because they have been fed on-time and are well-rested.
My children are able to amuse themselves because they haven't had their lives scheduled, and we most certainly aren't going to go anywhere that will do it for them.
My children know that sometimes chicken nuggets will have to do.
My children know they should learn to get along with their siblings because they'll never get to have anyone over.
My children are good readers because they have lots of time to fill. To read. (Athough, if they used that time to clean their rooms, instead, they'd get to have a friend over...)
My children know not to spill their milk or Mom will cry.
Crocodile tears. And swear words.
But, seriously, what I've focused on the past 6 weeks is only what I see here at home. What I experience. My kids are great. They are thriving. Sure, I'm not perfect and there is plenty more I could do, could be, but I don't have to do and be everything. And not all the time.
I will do what I can for now and strive to be better, but I won't strive to be like someone else as I parent (who knows, maybe they feed their kids Pixie Stix for dinner and make their daughters sleep in curlers). I am going to be the mom that works for me and my family. I am going to parent with blinders on.