I can’t do the iron-on thing. Every patch I have ever ironed on to any vest has come peeling off, usually while no one is watching, which means that the Tiny Human notices it’s absence about three days, give or take, after it’s gone, which means there is no way we can ever trace back and find that sucker.
So I sew them on.
But I am a really terrible seamstress.
My mom can sew literally anything. She makes gorgeous quilts, made a lot of our clothes when we were younger, and I have an incredibly impressive collection of unique Barbie and American Girl clothes because of that woman’s talent.
It missed me though.
It seems, lately, that a lot of things have missed me. I have been struggling to sink my feet into House Wifery lately. Honestly, I just don’t WANT to clean, to take the mental energy needed to plan, shop for and cook food, to take all the mental and emotional energy needed to play trains AGAIN for the third time in one day. Thomas is TIRED, Tiny Human! Thomas needs a NAP!
Of course, this leads to all sorts of guilt that I am not whipping around our new house, whistling to birds and tra-la-la-ing as I WOOSH Thomas down yet another elaborate track that will be destroyed in the next five minutes. I mean… I am a MOM. I chose to have these Tiny Humans! I grew them, every piece of them, and then decided that YES, I am really and SO WILLING to SHOVE THEM OUT OF MY BODY, regardless of what damage will happen on their way out. Sure, the Big one was a bit of a shock (WHO KNEW THAT’S HOW IT HAPPENED!). But, we sunk into parenthood. We choose it every morning when we wake up and turn on the coffee pot. We choose it every night when we tuck them in for the tenth time and threaten to take trains away should we see their tiny faces again. Every day, we choose them, thousands upon thousands of times.
But I am SO TIRED.
I want to do everything for them. Well, no, I don’t. Because I definitely want them to be independent… But I want to be able to look back and say, THERE, I was there for them. I did it. We did it. We all survived each other. My kids are not sociopaths. HIGH FIVE.
The Big one had a rough go at bedtime tonight. She wept because it was TIME. TIME TO GO TO SLEEP. I let her get some of that out of her system while I tucked the Smaller Ones in, and then went to see if I could calm her down. She wept onto my shoulder. She was sad that she doesn’t get to snuggle with me as much. She was sad because the Tiniest Human takes up so much of my time and energy. And though I know part of that was because she just didn’t want to sleep, I know that there is SO MUCH TRUTH to what she is saying. In giving what I can to my Smallest, I often leave the Big one to fend for herself. And so I cried with her. I cried for her, but I cried for me too. Because there is no winning outcome. The Tiny Human DOES drain me. But he is in the season. He needs more guidance than my older kids, so he gets more. And so while I can be more conscience of setting aside time to snuggle with her, I know the truth of the matter is that she will never get as much as she wants. And maybe the perfect mom would be able to make sure, in between school and Scouts and House-Wifering and ACTUAL Wifering, she can still somehow make sure that all three kids get quality time every day with mom. The World’s Best Mom would.
But I am not her. In fact, I am not sure she exists. I think we will always be falling short in at least one aspect. There is SO MUCH that is expected of us, and, no matter how much we run, we will fall short. In fact, the very nature of running so much means that we are messing up according to some standards. We can not win.
We are always and forever doomed to be the World’s Most Ok-est Moms.
I am trying to embrace that. There is a lot in Motherhood that does not come easy to me. I struggle with Nurturing, quite honestly. It’s hard for me to stay at home all day, every day, and continue to provide sweet, delicate moments for my kids. I get tired, and drained, and go into auto-pilot. I clean instead of snuggle. I organize instead of play. I Uh-huh and Sure Thing instead of really listening. Once my cup is empty (and I will be honest, it empties quite quickly), it’s hard for me to snap back into it. I am not proud of that, and I am most certainly not saying that I am content to just not work on that part of my life. But there it is.
There is one thing I do really well… and that’s apologizing to my kids. Which… maybe that in and of itself is a terrible thing to be good at, because it only comes through practice.. lots and lots of practice, which means I am CONSTANTLY in the position to have to apologize to my own tiny offspring. Maybe not ideal. But it’s something.
But there is Truth to my parenting. My kids will never grow up thinking that in order to be a parent, they need to be perfect. They will always understand the power of an apology. They will , I hope, understand the role of Mercy in any type of relationship. I hope that, should they have their own children, they understand that there will be moments when they drop the ball, and I hope that they give themselves and their spouses Grace in that moment.
Because despite our best (and sometimes are lazy and unmotivated) efforts, our children will grow. They will become another adult human who will use their free will to make their own path in their own life. As I rocked my Biggest tonight, her limbs splaying just EVERYWHERE, humming the song I used to sing to her when she fit in the nook of my arm, tears made their way down my cheek and onto her head, which smells now of sweat and eagerness and energy and questions, instead of that soft downy infant smell. Tonight I will go to sleep and tomorrow she will be another day older, another day closer to leaving my nest and making her own. And I am all at once so proud of her and so excited for her and so terrified that I will get to that day and realize I didn’t do as much as I can. But I am. And I do. And I have. Sometimes, As Much As I Could wasn’t much. And I wish I could go back to those times and whisper in my own ear that it’s just a season, just wait and see what is coming. This loneliness is temporary. This fear is temporary. This frustration is temporary. But look at her. Just LOOK at her.
I am ok with being the World’s Most Ok-est parent. I am ok offering myself Grace and Mercy instead of the judgement that others hand out for free anyway. I am ok having THAT be what my Tiny Humans remember of their childhood… that Mom tried, and she failed a lot, but she tried. And so I will try too. As hard as I can. And when the trying doesn’t work out, then I will wake up the next day and try again. Because she could, so I can too.