There was a time when my husband was the world's most amazing stay-at-home dad and I was mediocre, full-time working mom. He was so good as a stay-at-home. Other moms always told me how lucky I was. There are even pictures to prove how happy everyone was:
Then things changed. My husband went back to work, and I was home Monday through Friday. For the first six months, he worked 2 and 1/4 hours away and commuted home on the weekend.
"Honey!" I whispered nervously. It was a Friday night, and he had just arrived from his rush-hour commute. The kids were scurrying about, and I was following him around with a glass of wine. "Honey! I have to tell you something. Sometimes I yell at the kids!"
I stepped back, waiting for his shock. Maybe he would quit his job, right there on the spot, and insist I return to work. It wasn't what I wanted, but surely the right thing for the kids. After all he was clearly the superior parent. More patient. More hands-on.
He continued setting the table.
"Honey! Did you hear me?"
He turned, raised his eyebrows, "Yeh? And?"
"I mean, I get really angry. And yell sometimes. Loud."
He grins, "Yeh. Me too. You just never saw it."
Surely he was saying this to make me feel better. I would arrive home from work, and everyone always seemed so happy. The kids might be having a dance party, my husband's nails painted green, clips adorning his short auburn hair.
Maybe they'd be in the back yard, playing chase, dad right there in the middle of the fun. Enjoying the moment.
Even in the hospital, he had been extraordinary.
We were one year post-cancer, clinging to the joy that my daughter was alive. We were also carrying the knowledge that she could relapse at any moment. That we still might lose her. So why couldn't I enjoy what we had? Why were there so many times when I was unable to stop myself from feeling anger. frustration. annoyance.
Why are you whining?
Do I really have to pretend to be Princess Aurora, again?
Just follow directions!
It must be me. I'm a horrible mother. I'm not cut out for this!
Then, in the last two years, things changed again. It wasn't overnight, but it was noticeable. I found myself feeling less angry. Less exhausted. I felt more balanced.
I no longer felt both guilty for doing dishes instead of playing with the kids and guilty for the fact that the kitchen was full of dirty dishes. I could say "No, I don't want to pretend to be Ron Weasley right now." without fearing my kids were going to end up in therapy with rejection issues. And I could at least forgive myself for ordering pizza instead of serving salmon with an avocado-lime drizzle over a bed of quinoa and spring greens.
I've also gotten to a point where it is okay for me to run. Or to make a long day at work even longer by grabbing a quick swim before coming home. And I don't berate myself for it.
For the past year or so I've been celebrating the fact that I no longer feel exhausted all of the time. I still get angry, lose my temper, fear that I'm falling very, very short as a parent. But all in all, things are better than they were.
And let me be clear when I say things aren't better because suddenly I'm an amazing mom. Or because I'm running. Or because I'm working part-time and get a break. Life is easier because something magical happened. The kids got older. It's that simple.
They are still loud, red-headed, and full of energy. They are still emotional and prone to drama. But six and eight beats two and four any day.
Parents of young children: It does get easier. I promise! Until then, remember you are doing a great job and your kids are going to be fine:
|Taken with permission from http://spirituallythinking.blogspot.com/2012/01/highlight-reel.html|