I’ve been feeling rather raw lately. My “good mama” hat has felt knocked from my head a few too many times and I’ve been filled with self doubt.
Several hundred times per day, three-year-old Alex tells me “Me MAD at you, Mama!”.
Seven-year-old Jack goes back and forth between being sweetly crazy about me to shouting that he hates me.
Ten-year-old Annalee has taken several nights this week to inform me of how unfair her life is, that I don’t spend enough time with her and that I’m a promise breaker and a liar.
And twelve-year-old Victoria… well, she reads this blog and gets annoyed if I talk about her, so let’s just say I do not feel like her favorite person in the universe.
I’ve spent 12+ years singing lullabies, doing crafts, reading stories, playing games, taking walks, cuddling and doing everything in my power to make some pretty marvelous childhoods for these four little blessings. And I know I’ve done well and they’re good kids and that they’re happy even when they’re yelling at me or acting petulant.
But this week… this week I’m feeling weary.
Last night, Jack fell asleep on the couch. I covered him with a blanket and went and found a ball point pen, then wrote “Mama loves you!” on his palm. This morning, he marched into my room and angrily showed me his hand. “Look what someone wrote on me while I was sleeping!”. When I explained that I had done it to be sweet, he asked for help in scrubbing it off.
Last weekend, Alex stripped off all of his clothes, climbed on top of our van and joyfully shook his business at a passing neighbor.
Several days before that, two well dressed women banged on my front door as I was cooking dinner to ask “Are those your children?”. I looked out the door to see Jack holding a screaming, half-dressed Alex and trying to pull him off of my car (Alex dearly loves to scale cars). I resisted the urge to say no and go back inside.
It’s pretty much minute-by-minute chaos around here lately. There is puddle stomping, sidewalk painting and strawberry picking, yes, but then there is also sibling battles, tattling and wailing.
My good friend Tiffany called today to give me a pep talk. She told me all the things I already know but needed to hear — that my kids will look back at their childhoods and appreciate them, that I’m doing a good job — and that I need more chocolate.
And as I am writing this, Jack just appeared under my window gathering rose petals and asking me to come down and join him. He has apparently forgiven me for the hand graffiti and has decided this is one of the times I’m fabulous.
It will be a few days before I get my mama groove back, and I guess that’s okay. In the meantime, I was especially nice to myself today. I asked Daryl to watch the boys and took a rare afternoon nap. I chatted on the phone for an hour. I’m off to spend some time with Jack now, but after that I have definite plans that involve hot baths, good books, bad TV and bowls of ice cream.
Some days there’s more screaming than usual. Some days we aren’t so appreciated. I’m comforted by the fact that those days pass, and the hard work does pay off even when you think it was wasted. Some little boy brings you a drawing of your favorite garden spot and asks if you’ll spend some time with him, and you realize you didn’t do such a bad job after all.