Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On Mothering

Confession 1: It's NOT EASY being a mom. It's even harder to be a GOOD mom.
Confession 2: I'm not always a good mom. Sometimes I just want to scream (and sometimes I do).
Confession 3: I'm a better mom than I was a year ago, two years ago, three years ago. Maybe there's something to this "You get better with practice" thing!

I've found that it's really hard to budget my time appropriately while I'm in school. I want to do everything with the boys, but I can't. I have to divide that time with studying, school, traveling. I know it's worth it; I know that I budget my time so that they don't realize they're missing out (see: awesome dad to my boys and two awesome sets of grandparents), but I feel it and sometimes I'm resentful of myself. Does that even make sense?

Oh, but I love school. I love that it's nearly impossible to understand sometimes and yet I'm still getting along and doing well. I love that I am doing something I want to do for ME (even though we all know I'm doing it for my family, too). I love that I had the courage to do this, although I feel like my courage is failing me some days.

But when I get home, tired after being mind-blown by Biostatistics and Epidemiology, I'm not always a good mom. The boys want my immediate attention, they want me to playplayplay, and all I want is cook dinner and go to bed. Most days I'm able to put that behind me and playplayplay. And when I'm outside, pushing them on the swing for the millionth time, I'm have a great time. I'm learning more about Anthony and his days at school, and I'm getting to give Benjamin the hands-on love he so desperately needs.

And this is what I've learned about my boys:
Anthony needs hugs and kisses, but what he really needs is for me to listen to him. If he wants to talk Star Wars non-stop, the best thing I can do is just listen (and goodness that is HARD). If he wants to talk about school, I just listen. If he wants to air all his complaints about Benjamin, I just listen. He is so sensitive; he still cries easily and gets his feelings hurt quickly. He is brilliant and a little awkward, but is a loyal friend. He wants to please everyone. He has such a hard time paying attention. I've noticed this especially when he is doing something that doesn't come naturally to him. He started baseball practice yesterday, and he did his typical: pretend to be paying attention but is really not. And then when asked to do what he was just told, he has no idea how to do it. It frustrates me to the nth degree, because I know when he IS paying attention, he can do almost anything. This requires a level of patience that I do not possess. This is when I get most frustrated with Anthony, and find myself saying to him, "What did I just say to you?" to see if he's paying attention (and he's usually not). (Please: I have spoken to the pediatrician about this; he does not feel that this is attention deficit disorder, just Anthony being a seven-year-old boy.)

Benjamin needs to be constantly touched. His favorite thing to say is, "I want you, Mama." He runs up for hugs and kisses a million times a day. He needs to be able to see me if he's in the house. He needs me to lay with him at nap time and bed time - and always begs for more. He needs me to hold him if I'm sitting down somewhere. He is so emotionally invested in everything he does that if someone tells him no, it's an immediate breakdown. He wants what he wants, and you should never tell him no. If he's not first, only, immediate - it's ugly. He is a challenge at every turn. I've found that letting him have his fit somewhere where he can't hurt himself or anyone else works best. After a few minutes, I can walk up to him and say, "When you're done, let me know. We'll be able to play then." And he'll usually button it up and be done immediately. It's almost like he needs to get his 3 minutes of crying in and then be told to stop. But I've got to tell you: those 3 minutes are very hard for me. I'd rather not have to hear it!

But at the end of the day, being the mother to these two boys is amazing and rewarding. It's tough, and I'm not always good at it...but they always make any effort I put into this mothering gig worth it.

I don't remember many times in my childhood that I was upset about things. I know that I was often told no, and I'm sure I often felt slighted at the time. But I don't have memories of my childhood being a constant "no"; I'm hoping that my boys won't remember the times I lost my cool, and instead will remember the times that I excelled at being their mom. Because I love being their mom.

1 comment:

Cheri said...

This is so sweet----the boys will treasure this when they get older