We have had such a fantastic summer. Really, really great. One for the books. We’ve had some big adventures and the kids really hung in there with all the traveling and driving. They did beautifully.
It was in between all these awesome trips that I felt like a total mom failure. Prepping for each thing whether it was swim lessons or driving to South Dakota or cooking dinner took a Herculean effort. Not because it is super hard to put on sunscreen and get towels or pack some clothes, but because it takes foooooreeeeever to do anything with all the kids at home. For the love of all that is good and holy. These kids have all banded together to make me sure I don’t get to cross anything off my to-do list.
I know life isn’t about being super efficient and accomplishing all the things but I’d like to be able to wash one load of laundry and fold it within a 12 hour span. Or I’d like to cook for a solid 5 minutes before needing to step away to mediate a dispute or pick up a crying baby. I’m not asking for superhuman efficiency, I just need one or two little housekeeping victories everyday to keep myself from going crazy.
In between all the fun trips, I have felt like a dragon that is always grumpy and spitting fire when someone spills their milk. I get so angry over the smallest thing. And then I hate myself for being such a jerk.
Even with all this, I had really high hopes for this last week of summer vacation. We were going to live it up. We were going to sleep in, go swimming, have ice cream. All the summer favorites.
Tomorrow is the first day of school. Ask me how many of these things we did.
Oh, I’m glad you asked. Zero. None. Nada. I couldn’t even get us to the pool. It’s just down the street. Like one block. Actually we have 3 pools within 1 mile of our house. Didn’t happen. Between school supplies and uniforms and shoes and getting our house ready for school, I have been actively working toward getting ready for school for a solid 2 weeks and I still have a ton of things to do tonight for tomorrow.
I get so little done during the day. I know that’s the name of the game for moms, but sometimes it’s so maddening. After I freak out at the kids I tell myself to chill out. It’s just laundry or dishes or sweeping. It’s not the end of the world. And then I see all those stupid posts that say, “Don’t worry about housekeeping while you have little kids. Kids don’t keep. Dust will.” Yeah, but the mental clutter that it adds to my life drives me insane and leads me to scream at my kids because, yes, I’m ignoring the dust, but I just need the toys picked up at the end of the day. My soul needs those toys in their bins. It does feel like the whole world depends on it. Which is stupid, I know, I know.
And here we are the last day of summer and I feel like a terrible mom. Everything the kids do gets on my nerves. I yell all the time.
Then Olivia showed me her journal entry for today (summer homework, don’t get me started):
“My family loves me and we have a good time together. What could be better?”
I almost sobbed. Thank God she knows we love her. I feel like I’ve been doing an awful job at loving my kids. But I realize that motherhood is playing the long game. I know I’ve been sucky but that’s not the end of the story nor is it the whole story. Motherhood is complicated with lots of ups and downs and we have to forgive ourselves. We’re not going to be able to handle life the way we want to all the time. We’re going to suck and then we’ll realize it and do it better and then we’ll suck again at some point. But we’ll keep learning and keep adjusting. Not because we’re going to ever get it perfect but because we love our kids. And that’s really all they need to know.
Sarah Bounds says
Awww. What a sweet post. I’m right there with you. It’s been a challenging summer and I’ve often felt like I’m not sure I should even be staying home; I’ve felt like a horrible mama. It’s Rough! It will get easier… eventually. Your girls are lucky to have you!
Julia F. says
I love reading your blog entries! So appreciate your voice and candor. Keep writing – and keep being kind to yourself! I have no doubt you are a great mom.
Helen Osman says
When we were in this stage, I hired a house cleaner. Decided it was cheaper than therapy. It’s true. I also became a little less (?) hyper critical of the mothers of the 60’s and 70’s for taking Valium and drinking so much. Humor always helps, and asking God to give you enough years to see your own children get to share your joy of rearing small ones.