When Taylah was a baby, I had this notion that every waking minute must be devoted to her. Playing with her, teaching her, and basically giving her every ounce of my attention. Housework and chores were always left until she was asleep, when I would run around like a mad woman to get everything done. Though truth be told, there wasn’t too much to do, seeing as there was just the two of us.
When Bridie was born, I had moved from this idea a small amount. Obviously with two children (and a husband), I couldn’t give Taylah all my attention, and Bridie was not a sleeper. Hours were spent each day with me rocking her off in my ams, or lying still on the couch to let her sleep. I did my best to play with Taylah as much as possible, but it just could never happen to the degree it had previously. I soon learnt to accept I couldn’t be that mum who played all the time.
When Bailey was born, it all got harder again. Taylah was at school so I had less time to ‘have’ to devote to her, but Bridie was the most particular two-year old I had ever met. Each game we played had to be set out in such a particular fashion, that it became impossible for me to do it right. Particularly when there was a baby brother who just wanted to eat all the carefully laid out toys.
BJ himself, well he was never much for playing. Always wanted to be outdoors or active. Sitting down for any length of time, even to build blocks, was always a stretch.
By the time Ava was born, I think I had almost forgotten how to play. It had been so long, and it was all just so hard. I’ve never given her the time I have the others. Never read the same amount of stories, or did all the nursery rhymes. Most things she has learnt by osmosis, not through any quality time with me. 🙁
Last week, I hit a wall. Tired and frustrated and irritated by everything, I lamented to Boatman that I just feel like I never give my time to the kids anymore. Between the driving to school, and ballet, and doctors offices, and the grocery shopping, and then the jobs at home, and the actual job, and the blog that I love but neglect, it’s all just too much sometimes. To the point that I have forgotten how to enjoy any of it, and everything has become an item on a to-do list. Including the kids.
Which means I have totally missed the point.
Because whilst the point may not be to spend every waking moment completely devoted to your offspring (I’m quite sure that it’s not!) I do them a great disservice when I stop seeing them as the wonderful people that they are.
So often they can be an inconvenience to me. They make my shopping trips longer, and my wallet emptier, and it’s impossible to ever go to the toilet without being interrupted. I get frustrated by their constant demands. Their lack of patience infuriates me, and why on earth were they not born possessing just basic common sense? The fact that all of these things need to be trained into them, and that task falls to me, has not escaped my notice, and in fact solidifies in my mind that the little people are out to get me!
Except that they’re not.
They are just little people. Smaller versions of Boatman and I, with less life experience, less understanding, and so much more energy. They are being raised by imperfect people, and so of course, they are going to be imperfect. I cannot expect any more of them, than I can of myself.
And I cannot demand perfection from who I am either. It’s just not possible.
What I can do though, is find the joy. That three-letter word that is so much more than just happiness, and has the strength to carry me through anything. The joy in my kids. The joy in raising them. The joy in having this responsibility, that was given to no one else apart from my husband.
When Taylah was little, I had this notion that every waking moment must be devoted to her. And I was wrong in that, but I did it willingly, and passionately, and the only thing that has really changed from ten years ago, until this day, is not the number of kids, or the size of the house or the added weight of paid employment. (Though they do contribute.)
The difference is the joy.
I stopped seeing the blessing, and started seeing the inconvenience.
I don’t want to be that person any more.
The tired mum.
The frustrated mum.
The screeching-like-a-banshee mum.
I’m on the hunt for joy, and I’m not resting till I’ve found it.
Do you find it hard to find the joy?