Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Blog Your Heart Out: I'm a Failure as a Mother
When I read Stephanie Howell's challenge about blogging from your heart HERE, I knew that I had to accept. So often, I write more about work than what is in my heart. Today I wanted to share a little bit more.
I'm a failure as a mother. At least I often feel this way. Being a parent is the number one most important job I have, and yet every single day before I close my eyes and sleep I find myself reviewing my list of daily failures as a mother.
Failure #1: My kid prefers school lunch to home lunch. Have you seen school lunch? It's nothing great that's for sure. In fact after eating lunch with him one day last week, I realized just how plain and nasty it could be. Honestly I don't think this one's entirely a reflection on me. He is the pickiest eater on the planet. That combined with the desire to be "cool" like the other sixth graders means that he is likely eating his dessert and chocolate milk and then tacos on "Taco Tuesday" and that's about all the nutrition he's getting. I guess I'll make it up with healthier meals at home.
Failure #2: I cannot seem to protect my kids from hard things. Katelyn lost a sweet friend of hers this weekend. He passed unexpectedly from unknown health issues. No warning. Just gone. No more hugs. No more hellos. No more moments with a friend she adored and loved dearly. And with it returns all the pain of losing her brother. It just doesn't seem fair. And all I can think about is how his family is hurting and wishing I could do something. Wishing I could do something to lift their heartache and wishing I could comfort my daughter who falls apart at just the mention of him. I love you, Kate!
Failure #3: I don't remember at all what it feels like to be a teenager heading to college. Where have all those hard-earned memories gone of prepping for the ACT, or filling out college applications, or locating those "hard-to-find" scholarships? I feel like dead weight every time Kate looks for something or completes an application. I am little to no help. Was it really that long ago? Why I can't remember the tips, tricks, and secrets of a successful transition into college? I just want to make sure she gets all she needs, and I don't feel like I'm giving her anything.
Failure #4: I'm not ready to let go of my kids. I am DREADING my daughter moving out and moving on with her life. I recognize it's almost a year away, but when I think that this might be the last Christmas we're together as a family I can't help but cry. I raised my kids to be independent, capable adults; but how dare they actually grow up to be just that? I could keep them close forever. I won't. But secretly I wish I could.
Failure #5: I am brain dead these days. This goes back to #3. I just can't seem to remember my own list of "to do's." Let alone the kids' things. We miss things. We're late. We forget. The guilt I feel when something important to them doesn't go as planned weighs heavily on me. I just want to remember everything for them. It's not exactly healthy to do everything for your kids, and I don't. But I'll admit that I have to remind myself of this all the time. They are perfectly capable at 11 and 18 of remembering their own homework deadlines, church assignments, etc. I just need to let go of feeling all the responsibility and failure myself.
Failure #6: I'm running out of time. If you ran through a mental list of all the skills you'd like your children to have when they leave the house, I'll bet it would be as long as mine. When I think that I have just months to prepare Kate for her church mission and college, I start to freak out a little bit. Does she know the difference between delicate wash and dry cleaning? Have I really ever showed her how cook in a way that if stranded on a desert island she could cook from scratch or can she only just open a box of something and pop it in the microwave? Has she ever paid a bill in her life? Can she get her car to the repair shop if needed? How in the world do you address all those little life lessons that you've perhaps missed in the 18 years of raising her? Do I give up now or try to squeeze it all in and at 18 will she even listen?
Failure #7: I'm not happy enough. I struggle often with feeling depressed or anxious. Ask my kids. I worry a lot. I worry too much. My husband is a happy guy. I don't know that my kids would describe me like that. I wish they would. But I'll be honest. I'm tired. A lot. I get frustrated. I am not always enthusiastic. Don't get me wrong. I love my life. I couldn't love my kids more. And I love being their mom. But sometimes I just feel down in the dumps, or frustrated with the way things are going. I'm not skipping about as if all is well. I think too deeply about things. I worry more than I should. I think my kids deserve a more relaxed and happy mom, and I'm working on it. But I sometimes I feel like they are growing up faster than I'm improving upon myself. It feels like a race to be a great mom before they leave the house. Honestly I don't think I'm going to hit the perfection mark before they leave. Does anyone?
Maybe we all feel like this or at least share some of these feelings. I try very hard not to beat myself up over all the little ways I fail each day. But sometimes that mental list just gets the better of me, and I find myself wondering just how much I've failed as a mother.