Parenthood is a really tough job. Some days, I honestly truly struggle with it and other days it comes naturally. Most often, I do struggle. I struggle with patience and I struggle with the Devil on my back telling me that I’m not doing enough, that I am not enough.
Take that zoo trip, for example. I was supposed to go by myself. I was supposed to meet up with a couple of mom friends and their kiddos and rock the hell out of the trip by myself. In the end, I ended up begging Kim to come (luckily, she wanted to). I knew that all the walking around would be too much for me. I knew that chasing Nolan and trying to nurse Archer would be beyond my capability.
Even with all the help Kim provided, I was done by 3pm. Walking around is not enjoyable to me. I struggled to keep my feet moving and my legs weighed a thousand pounds. I felt a little envious of my friends, for they were planning on walking back to the other side of the zoo to go on the train again. I knew I couldn’t do it, so we decided to head home. I felt bad. We hadn’t even explored the entire zoo. We hadn’t seen all the animals or all the attractions. Sure, we’d had a great day but it wasn’t the day I had envisioned.
I envisioned a day where pain didn’t take away from anything. I envisioned us looking at all of the animals, me nursing Archer while Nolan cooperated and played close by. And while although it was a fun day, the pain took away a lot from me. I felt embarrassed that I struggled to walk up a steep hill without needing to push the stroller (Kim pushed it for me). I felt embarrassed that I need to sit down as often as I did, and even more embarrassed knowing that I should have sat down even more but didn’t because I wanted to push myself.
I want to provide fun, enriching experiences for my boys. I want to walk around zoos and museums and water parks without wincing and becoming distracted as I try to focus away from the pain unsuccessfully. I’m sure I’m over thinking this – as I’m prone to do, but I just can’t help it. I can’t help wanting to be better and I can’t help the disappointment that comes when I feel like I’ve failed in that.
I try to make sure we get out and do something fun at least twice a week. Be it going out for a walk, or on a play date, or to the park, or a big trip like the zoo. But the next day, I’m usually so exhausted and unable to move. Then I get frustrated with myself because I want every day to be a fun adventure.
The biggest parenting challenge I face is overcoming the guilt and disappointment in myself. That guilt and disappointment leaves me feeling short and grouchy, and that makes having patience difficult.
I’d like to think that I’m doing a good job — and I know that if it were one of my friends writing this, I’d say you are doing a good job and I would mean it with all my heart. I guess it goes back to self bashing, and being the hardest on myself. I know I could be better, but I need to remember that I am enough. I love my kids, I strive to give them everything they need and could want, and I think I’m pretty successful at least half of the time with the giving them things. I always provide love, warmth and comfort, so…there’s that…right?