Motherhood

Some days I want to tell everyone to go away and let me lay on the couch and read all day and maybe just eat Froot Loops if I feel like it (even though they give me a stomach ache). I don’t want to talk or answer questions and I certainly don’t want to prepare eleventy billion snacks or go to a playground or even be asked if we can go to a playground. I think this is the curse of parenting in some ways – once you sign up you are in for life no matter what your mood. Some days my mood is so black and foul I have a hard time understanding why the girls would want to be anywhere near me – and of course that kind of mood just makes them cling closer. I will even say truly inane things like, ambulance “why do you want to be near me? I don’t even want to be near me!”

HelloKittySisters

Oonagh who?

I think of all the parenting/mommy blogs I used to read (when I had fewer children and more time) where it always seemed like fun things were going on and the moms were doing so much with their children and I have come to the realization – 5+ years later – that I don’t want to do that much with my children. Yes, I love them. Yes, I do enjoy spending time with them but No I don’t enjoy spending all my time with them. And while once upon a time I thought I would be one of those moms who wanted to hang out and do crafts all day I am decidedly one of those moms who does not want to do crafts any day and I think it is okay to admit this now.

I’m not here to be their friend, I’m here to be their mom and raise them to be adults we can live with and I think some days that must really suck for them. Because no matter how many times they ask I am always going to wash the dishes after breakfast before I agree to do anything with them. There is also a good chance that they will have to wait until I make myself a cup of tea – and usually the only thing I will agree to do is read them stories for a while before I feel the need to get up and do something else. Most likely that something else will be laundry.

I have turned to this blog many times in the last couple months and wondered what to write. I want to write but in my head I keep whining, “but I don’t wanna be a mommy blogger” even though I am so entrenched in mommy-ness I don’t actually know what else to write about. However, I can’t be one of those bloggers who is just so freaking happy all the time about being a parent and I also don’t want to be one of those parents who does nothing but complain about their children in an ironic hipster way just for some cheap laughs (besides, I’m not that funny). There is a fine line between over-sharing and being honest and interesting. In the spirit of being honest: this job often sucks but I know that’s more my problem than theirs – they are just doing their job which is to be children and all that entails.

Morning calm.

Morning calm.

Having that third child has put even more things into perspective for me and what it means to be a mother and maybe one of these days I will have the time to sit down and write about it in an honest and interesting, and hopefully not over-sharing, way.

  19 Replies to “Motherhood”

  1. May 31, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Good for you, Melanie. From a distance, it seems there is a LOT of pressure in North America and the UK to be stay-at-home moms and love it. HA HA HA! I feel the same way as you seem to: I love my children, I love being with my children, but to devote every waking moment to them would deplete me. I also don’t think that’s super-great for kids; variety and listening to other adults is important. At one point I would have gasped in horror to learn that children start school at 3 here in France. Now I know better. (And my children know a lot more, too–my Mother’s Day card had “maman” written in it! And I do mean written, in cursive. He’s 4.)
    I hope you can find ways to carve out more time for yourself. It just isn’t healthy for a mother to feel trapped with her kids. (If that doesn’t describe you, great, but I think that is the case sometimes for others.) Making that time often comes down to a financial thing, and I know that isn’t easy, either. Don’t worry about over-sharing–I think you can share as much as you like, it’s really a matter of being self-indulgent. And I don’t think you’re self-indulgent; I think you do have interesting insights to offer. Keep going!

    • June 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      Some days I do feel trapped Melinda – but mostly I just feel frustrated in the normal parenting way I suspect. After all, I choose to be a stay-at-home Mum but that doesn’t mean I have to love every minute of it. I know that I would hate having to rush little ones around to get them to day care and then spend a full day working a job and then coming home and trying to fit every thing in. I just don’t have that kind of energy or organizational brain power these days. I do miss working sometimes though – although I think some days I miss the idea of working and then I go to Anthropologie and oggle the clothes and wish I worked just so I could wear them. : )

  2. jac
    May 31, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Sounds totally fair to me… and there’s three of them, you’ve provided ready-made playmates, so your job’s half done already 😉

    • June 4, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Exactly! Playing/fighting. It’s all character building for them, right?

  3. Kat
    May 31, 2013 at 5:58 am

    Most people our age and everybody older than us were raised by mothers who were always, always, always doing dishes or laundry or making cups of tea. Mom wasn’t a playmate and that was a-okay. You’re fine!

    • June 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      I think part of it is that we grew up wishing our parents should play with us and thinking that when we grow up we are going to play with out kids all the time. And then, of course, we grow up and realize why it was our parents didn’t play with us all the time!

  4. May 31, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Crafts are the worst. Children are fascinating, but boring. Washing dishes is important. I think it’s great to give them the tools (ie benign neglect) to learn how to make their own games. And the point about your providing ready-made playmates is a great one.

    Always nice to read a post from you!

    • June 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Benign neglect indeed. I love it when the girls stop harassing me and start playing together and I get to listen to their play – that is when they are indeed the most fascinating and creative. When I’m around the dynamic changes and it is almost always not for the better.

  5. May 31, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Benign neglect for the win. Okay, on weekends, for us. I honestly find it much easier to be engaged and playful in the 3 hours I spend a day with J than I do on our 3 day weekends. We kind of all get bored. So we’re strongly, strongly encouraging her to learn to play on her own, because man, you are not wrong about the boredom.

  6. wil
    May 31, 2013 at 9:35 am

    When I visit my brother, it’s great to hang out and play with his kids for a while, but it’s also great to be able to leave and return to my adult/child-free life. 24/7 kids sounds rough.

  7. May 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I love staying at home, well, much more than I would like being in an office, but I am not a crafty mom either. Regular household and life stuff takes up too much time.
    Every week I look at the calendar to schedule things and think “Ok, what to plan, what grandma to call, that will give me the most free time to myself?” And I don’t feel the least bit bad about that.

  8. Jen
    May 31, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    I hear ya. I love setting Kale up with a craft he can do on his own just so I can have a cup of tea and ten minutes to myself.

    • June 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      Totally. I like setting the girls up with something and then knitting near-by – but not too near or I become a distraction. The Mister and I will often hide out in the kitchen if they start playing in the living room in the hopes that they forget we are around for a while. Some days that is the only way to have a conversation.

  9. May 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Haha! Loved this post Melanie! So frickin true, too! Loved your honesty. I feel the same way – another reason why my daughter is going to an all day Kindergarten lol

    • June 4, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      No all day Kindergarten around here but I’m hoping SO MUCH that by the time Fionnuala is in Kindergarten it will be the norm province-wide. Or at least it will be implemented at their school.

  10. June 1, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I don’t have kids and therefore am eminently qualified to offer many suggestions on parenting, all of which will be far superior to any other suggestions you might receive.*
    My sister was a big fan of things like drawing for her kids – she’d sit the kids down at their plastic table (the Mammut ones from Ikea, everyone has them, right?) with the scrap paper and crayons and pencils and let them at it while she got on with whatever it was she had to do. When they were a bit older that stuff was left on a shelf low enough for the kids to access themselves and she’d have to do nothing more than suggest to them that they draw a picture of xyz while she did some work. They loved doing their “work”, too. Anyway, aren’t you supposed to leave kids to do stuff on their own to encourage their imaginations or something?
    I’ve also read that the things that stay in kids memories aren’t the things they did all the time, it’s the unusual occasions that stand out. So doing crafts with them once or twice a year might be creating more permanent memories than if you did something every single day. Or something.

    *Just in case anyone missed it, that sentence may have been just a teensy bit tongue in cheek

  11. Amanda
    June 3, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I hate crafts, never do them…oh wait once, for Sammy’s 6th birthday, um second thought it was you who did up the crafts for the birthday. Then the birthday boy ended his party in tears in his room. Yup, hate crafts.

  12. June 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Marry me.

    Okay, if not that, then teleport over here for tea, where we can discuss books while our children romp, marginally unattended, in my mudpit of a front yard. I’m not a kid-play-with-er. Neither was my mother – she cut out paper dolls, and that was pretty much the sum of it. The only activity the kids and I ever do together is baking; other than that, I facilitate (making the play-dough, getting out the markers, whatever), and they play. They have more fun when I keep my distance, and I’m still relatively sane. When mothers start crapping on themselves for not playing with their kids enough, I ask, “Do you think _name-your-favourite-historical-figure_’s mother cried herself to sleep because she didn’t make enough macaroni necklaces with her kids?”

    (A lot of the other moms think I’m a jackass. I can live with that. My kids rule.)

    • June 4, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      I think it sucks that you live on the other side of the country.

      My Mum wasn’t a play-with-er either. I was always trying to get her to teach me things like sewing and she would just get frustrated and finish the projects herself. When I was in high school she signed me up for a sewing class because she is just not a teacher – and guess what, neither am I! These are good things to learn about oneself. I try to have the patience to cook and bake with them but that is about it and my patience is quite thin on that front too. However, cooking and baking is important so I persevere. Also, I like to eat.

      This line: “Do you think _name-your-favourite-historical-figure_’s mother cried herself to sleep because she didn’t make enough macaroni necklaces with her kids?” Is pretty much the best line ever.

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