I have realized I have a certain vision I have in mind for how I want to raise my girls. I was responding to a post on Mothering.com forum and realized as I was writing, it became clear to me that I have sort of a personal mission statement with regards to how I want to raise my girls.
In my vision, I am trying to nurture them and provide what I want them to have access to – things that I wanted to explore as a child but really couldn’t (and I’m talking little things, like magnets, and chemistry sets, and unusual pets like frogs and lizards). I want my kids to have their needs respected, their minds to remain open and curious and their personal growth nurtured, but I realize that I need some of that too. I have tried so hard to be gentle and nurturing. Yet no matter how hard I try, sometimes I’m just outnumbered and it’s hard to meet their needs and my own as well.
I find myself having difficulties raising three kids very closely spaced together and trying to carry out my vision for them in a small home.
We have so many interests and so little room for them. What ends up happening is that the three of them, when all home together, end up making messes everywhere and getting on each others’ nerves (you know, the normal stuff kids do). Combine that with my messes from my projects, it gets a bit chaotic. We’ve had Thursday and Friday off due to bad weather. And you can bet they are getting cabin fever and antsy too.
I blame my upbringing for my worst habit – the lack of patience I get when things get out of control (as they can when we are stuck indoors for too long). It gets really hard not to get frustrated with them and with myself, because I tend to get overwhelmed at times and can’t calm down.
My mother didn’t teach me how to deal with intense emotions. And even though I’m having to learn how to deal with the intense emotions of my youngest two (the oldest was always low-key), I’m also having to deal with my own emotions. It’s not easy. It’s incredibly hard. I need to work on that. It feels like it’s one step forward and two back sometimes though.
Sigh. I’m so ill-equipped sometimes, especially in the winter time, where I just can’t get out to get perspective much. I haven’t spent time with any friends in a few weeks.
I did send my husband and the girls out to the library today (fortunately there is one by us that is open on Sundays) and for the first time in I don’t know how long, I got to take a bubble bath, and shave my legs without interruption or one of the girls fighting with the others. It was really nice. That helped a lot. I also got some of the worst spots cleaned up, and I think if they can stay organized, I’m going to be less stressed. At least I hope so.
Sometimes I wish I had a mom that was able to figure it out, so that I could learn from her. She had 3 kids for 10 years (before my younger brother and sister came along), and spaced almost exactly as far as my kids are spaced. Yet, there is no wisdom or understanding for what I go through.
It’s tough to find the balance. It’s tough to deal with the frustration and the simple drain on my personal resources. I’ve said many times I’m not equipped to handle three. I fail a lot of times to be what I set out to be for them. I get frustrated, angry at times, then immediately remorseful because it’s not how I want things to be. But, fortunately, I talk to them about it and right the wrongs as soon as possible, and then we deal with it and move on. I’d rather not have that happen though. I wish I had it all figured out and all my triggers erased so that I wouldn’t have those little mini-breakdowns.
I worry what they will carry into their futures. I hope I am effective at righting the wrongs before they get imprinted into their psyches. Yes, I know kids are resilient. But I wish I didn’t have to have the negative outbursts I occasionally have when I am at my personal limit (I tend to be a highly sensitive and introverted person, so my threshold is a little on the low side).
I’ve heard people say about their parents…well, the did the best they could with what they had. I don’t know why that sits funny with me. It sounds like a mixture of pity and forgiveness for whatever went wrong but not acknowledging that there was anything right going on.
I don’t know, I just feel like I don’t want my kids to say that about me. I want them to say “You know, my mom did a pretty good job overall. My mom listened to me/my dreams/my upsets, accepted me for who I am and helped me to become a better person and believed I could do whatever I set my mind to.
Oddly enough, as bad as things were in my childhood, I recognize if it weren’t for my personal struggles early on in life, I don’t think I’d be nearly as strong as I am had I not had the trial by fire with my family. For me, the only way to get out of the craziness was to rise above and prove to myself that I was very capable.
It’s just that it was very different when it was just me. I was able to figure things out and be at least moderately successful (as in going after I wanted and getting it and having the respect of colleagues when I worked in the clinical laboratory). Now there are three other personalities and sibling issues to contend with too. I’m way outnumbered to figure out all the issues that crop up daily. It wears me out. While I’m not depressed, I have come close to it in the recent past, but have dealt with it.
I do know I need to work on this more, because I want my kids to have happy childhoods and learn how to deal with their emotions and not let them feel abandoned in dealing with some of the things that they will inevitably face. I felt too abandoned in my own childhood and it stayed with me a long time, even in subconscious ways despite having worked it out on the surface of things.
I want things to be very different for them. I hope I can live up to my personal vision for them.
I’ve heard it is supposed to get easier as they get older. The littlest one will be four in a few months and the oldest will turn 7 tomorrow. I’ve been told that it’s the early childhood that is the most intensive part because it’s so hands on, but as they need you less it is not so draining (at least physically if not emotionally).