Monday, August 4, 2008

Where art thou patience?

I came home from vacation with an enlightened outlook and fresh feel for the rest of the summer. But the truth is, these kids have worn me down. Some days, I can’t stop wishing that I would have had them at 20 instead of 30 (not really) because I’d have more stamina for the whole enchilada that is their lives.

There’s no specific problem here, kids will be kids and if you ask them they’ll tell you that they are having the best summer of their lives, hands down. Unfortunately from my standpoint, I can’t agree and it’s bumming me out. They play all day and into the night, they go to the pool and parks and have picnics and took an amazing vacation and at the end of it all, when they come in to take baths and go to bed, I get the worst of them. They are appalled by my suggestions to eat meals (children should live on popsicles alone), are shocked that I expect them to brush their teeth and hair (they will soon be shaved) or bathe, but literally pant with excitement and enthusiasm when the doorbell begins to ring around 8:30 am.

Don’t get the wrong idea and think that I am in here filling my days with me-time; wonderful organizational projects, cleaning my already spotless house or finally getting photos in an album – I’m not. First of all, there’s Finn and second of all, I’m one of only a few stay-at-home mom’s on the block. The kids are (all 18-20 of them) banging down my door for snacks and drinks and sprinklers and toys to be brought outside, every second of the day. They come to me for every dispute and owie in the 19 house radius. I can’t complete a thought, much less a project. When the older ones are making requests, Finn is howling about going outside. Big ogre that I am, I have no desire to follow my two year old around outside when it’s 95 degrees!

I have started researching our days the night before, trying to plan anything to get us out and about and away from the wild pack of kids. They are good kids and I am grateful for all of them and the fact that we live here, but I am tired of handling most of their days on my own. (Most other families have uninvolved parents or moms that work and dads that “watch” them working from home.) No one is really doing anything wrong; it’s just that kids will go where the most attention flows. I have never been so tired at the end of the day. I have never been asked so many battering questions in my life before. They want something from me every single minute and as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t wait for school to start and I wish Finn was going, too.

So I am a terrible person. But maybe not. I am, like I predicted in “See Ya Later May!” yearning for the structure and routine of the school year, itching for a few hours a week to expand this little career of mine and dying for a few minutes of peace where I am not closing doors after people, chasing out flies, cleaning up messes, handing out popsicles and enduring the most summer-tired and unreasonable hours of my children’s days.

Finn is due to be “evaluated for maturity” at a local church’s parents day out program for the fall. Mike laughs. That scares me. I feel a few hours separate – me and all my children – will do us all some good this fall. Lord, grant me patience and forgive me for the hours I’ve spent without it this summer. I need some in a bad way. School starts August 27th.

1 comment:

mary said...

Parenthood! It's got you from the very beginning with the "heart connection" - so strong that even on your worst days when milk tips to the floor and your angels drop gum in the dog's hair and those great, colorful boots you bought to keep little feet dry on the outside - track muddy footprints onto your polished floors... you stay - for more. Without that heart connection, I fear, parents would run away early on in this "career". Fortunately, it gets you and there is not another glorious connection like it - anywhere.

It gets complicated though as everyone in the family (including the mom and dad) goes onto learn how to live life at whatever stage they and each of their darlings are at. Parents are exhilarated and worn down from the ups and downs of their lives and raising their families and added into that already full load - is their children's social circle.

You (and every other parent's) patience and stamina gets challenged at times for sure. Example: when you find yourself talking endlessly about why "they" need to come in for lunch when "come in for lunch" should do it. Or when "no's" turn into "okays" before you can blink. Then it is time to grab the last bit of patience and re focus. Trust me, everyone's child knows when their parent is tired and when they can easily get what they want - and every parent knows immediately when "they" GOT YA.

At those moments, hold your words. You are running on zero. Take a break (even for a moment) and take the reins back. Your patience will surface and you will find yourself saying that you wish there was just one more day of summer left. (Just one though!) And schedule a date night with your husband! Every mom and dad need some adult time too. Free from quilt and free from the day to day stuff.

Final thought: By the first week in August, rumor has it, almost every parent and almost every child, is anxious for the school year to begin (for all the same reasons you mention).

Things go in cycles and "there is a time for everything under heaven".