It snuck up on me as a child might when playing tag or manhunt.
I was not prepared for the birth of a brand new year as I have been for past ones. There is a specific mental state that normally possesses me and I am prepared to begin anew with clarity of goals and desires for the next 365 days.
Perhaps it was due to the milestone birthday year of 2015 or maybe the sleepy way the year closed out but I found myself sitting 11 days in to the year feeling like a girl on a less-then-perfect blind date.
A tad uncomfortable, and unprepared. A little gipped that this was it.
It was a sobering reality to look in the mirror and evaluate the situation.
Perhaps the bleakness of the non-committal winter so far adds to the less then glamorous feel of a 40 yr old Mom of 4 boys contemplating how shes fared in parenting this year that just ended, but something felt “less than” and I was perplexed by it.
I did a little reflecting and self critiquing and found this.
Maybe I was feeling less than stellar as a parent because of the false expectation everyone seems to have on what a successful parent is.
The need to be “super parent” increases when you have a child with special needs. You feel a failure every time your child struggles but the reality is, we all struggle.
Each and everyone one of us.
That is not a failure, it is a consistent theme in life. Strife is gain. And we are not failing due to it. We are actually succeeding.
On a rainy, soggy Sunday in January I sat caged in my home with my 4 boys. All of us suffering cabin fever and a bit of seasonal depression we were a bit bonkers and wanting to spread our wings and explore as we do all summer long.
I sat pretending to read a book while studying the boys playing and asking myself why I felt so disappointed in myself.
I kept feeling like I was not doing enough with my kids. That I shouldn’t be tired after a full time job, brutal commute and house that never stays clean.
“Why is this so hard?” I ask myself. “Why can’t I do it all!”
I look around and start to inventory the situation.
Shirtless kid, but smiling. Using imagination. Hardy and strong. –check. This is a pass.
Two kids fighting, but not to aggressive. Seem to be working it out without parental interference. Getting tall. Little boys now resemble little men. –Check. This also a pass.
House, could use a little TLC but tidy enough, nothing major out of place or needing attention. Floor, although JUST vacuumed looks like it needs it again… Iffy, but pass.
Dog, slumbering peacefully in the sunlight. ..Pass.
Cat, curled up on chair out of the way of danger. Check.
My almost 11 year old ASD superstar is in the kitchen, I hear him recieting an amusing “scooby Doo” episode to himself zestfully.
I pad out to the kitchen barefoot and peak my head in.
“Hey Mom! I am making a treasure map, do you want to see?”
I smile, and stroll over to take a look.
“Amazing Linc, it looks good” as he explains the ‘cave’ and ‘x’ and mountain ridge I smile again, pleased that he took the time to draw out a map and not insist someone do it for him. He is a big boy now. Up to my shoulders, sturdy and husky. Not too much longer until he is bigger than me.
He is perfect. And anything I feel I have failed him with is not apparent.
Mom is drinking coffee and some semblance of put together. Maybe too hard on self. Dinners get cooked. Kids are clean. Chores get done. Looks ok, hair done, dressed and out of pjs. Maybe she just gets lost from time to time, and maybe that is ok.
I look over and see my 7 year old bouncing over to me. A big smile blossom on his talk show host mouth. A perfect line of pearly whites explode in the biggest grin ever.
“I love you Mom”
“I love you Kid.”
And at that moment, I’m settled.
We are ok and I am doing ok.
My goal for 2016 is simple.
Be kind to myself and focus on the simple things.
Kids need time and attention, not fancy gifts, a clean house or an overachieving Parent.
And thank you for the perspective.