Parenting is difficult.
It is so damn hard.
I love being a mother. I work really hard at it and most days I freaking rock it. I’m corny and too sentimental. I try to build their character by embarrassing them with my protective instincts and I hover, trying to make sure they know they are loved, they are secure, and they are safe. I think I do the right “mom” stuff.
Today, I’m tired. I can’t explain how tired I am. My two youngest have done nothing but scream at each other all day. Not just yelling, but that high pitched, crying, whiny, makes me want to rip off my own ears and burn them, screaming. One of my teenagers is in crisis. Someone is always in crisis around here. I don’t know how to handle it and I don’t know when I will know how to handle it. My other teenager isn’t in crisis, but the winds are blowing in a bad way all around that one.
I’ve been praying all day for wisdom and guidance. I want to gracefully do and say all of the “right” things to turn these individual messes inside out and move forward. I just don’t know how and I can’t find my Mom Book. You know that book that all moms get when the kids are born? The one with all the answers to all the important and tough questions? The how-to of parenting? You didn’t get one, either? I need the chapters that include what to do after a hug and kiss don’t fix the hurts anymore. Now what do I do?!
I crave peace. I need it like oxygen. It is priceless to me. I can tell you, in a house with four children and two strong willed adults, peace is rare and it is glaringly absent today. Instead, I am carrying fear and anxiety like a heavy sack over my shoulder. Have I done all the things I can do to help my kids become healthy, compassionate, good people? If they do not become those people, where did I go wrong? Can I fix it? Was it ever even up to me at all in the first place?
All of these questions bombard me like silent screams in my head. The constant fighting and the pain that is about to run my teenager to the ground are evidence to me that I am indeed not doing something right. I am afraid I am failing them.
How do these picture perfect Facebook families do it? All of the togetherness where everyone is so happy and excited to be with each other all the time. Kids love parents. Parents never doubt or worry about the kids because they are all so confident and well adjusted. Husbands and wives who ceaselessly support and adore one another. Everyone is so proud and thankful for everyone else. Every minute. There is even a dog who, I am sure, never ever pees in the house. Perfection. I see the photos. There is no strife or second guessing. Each person is good and wholesome and trouble free. Happy and fun in every shot. How do they do that? Is it real? Or is it all a hoax? Staged like a movie? Take the photo and then go back to being flawed?
Flawed is the word of the day today. I feel flawed. Hopelessly flawed. I feel untrained for this battle that is being Mom. As if someone handed me a baby and said, “Go ahead. It’ll be fine.” Actually, that is pretty close to what happened. Four times. By the third one I knew the truth, I just didn’t want to accept it.
No, it will not always be fine. There will be moments of peace and joy, but there will be so many moments like this one where I am lost and scared. My children deserve the best guidance and love they could ever get and I sit here not knowing if I am even qualified for the job.
I will continue to referee my boys. For now they are getting along again, but I am certain I had less to do with anything I did than with the shared interest of a video game.
I will sit down with the crisis tonight and look it in the eye. I will try my best to be who I need to be, who they need me to be. I hope it is enough. I work to make sure it is enough. They need me. However untrained, flawed or hopelessly NOT qualified for it I am, they need me and I’m going to be there.