Monday, July 1, 2013

My Brain vs. My Brain

There was a time, back in 2004, when I did this parenting thing completely on my own terms. I was the only one I knew with a baby. Sometime after I gave birth to Charlie, I remember a friend convincing me to join MySpace. {Ha ha. MySpace.} So, this was even before I had entered the world of social media. God, that makes it seem like 2004 was eons ago! But once I was on MySpace, I found no other mothers there. Oddly, those "loner" years, I remember as some of my easiest of parenting. The years when there was no one else showing me what to do -- and no one else to compare myself to.

Except for the moms at the park. I'd compare myself to them - but in a way where I did not at all feel inferior. They were all 10-15 years older than me and constantly saying things like, "Use you words." in soft voices while their kids continued to throw sand in their faces. I found those moms incredibly obnoxious and would roll my eyes. Ugh. "Moms in their thirties," I'd think. "How sad. They're WAY too into their parenting. They probably read all the books and get very worried over what they say in them."

Oh, how I long for those years of 23 year old parenting back. It was so carefree. All I ever thought about was how much I adored Charlie. That was all that mattered and all I needed to know. It led the way for us.

Now I find that so many times, I fail - in my mind - as a parent. But why??? Why am i constantly disappointed in myself? I adore my children. Like, well-up-with-tears adore them. That was enough in 2004. Why is it leaving me feeling like such a failure in 2013??

I think we, as moms, and as women, are plagued with this onslaught of social media where our parenting, and our lives,  are put out in front of the world and we compare and compare and compare ourselves to determine where we fit. Do we fit? Are we doing it "right"? I think that social media has made parenting SO. MUCH. HARDER.

A few weeks ago,  I was over my children. Over. Them. I needed to work. Hub was out of town on business so I knew there was no relief in sight. And everytime I'd sit down to work, someone needed a snack or a drink or to go potty or to just tell me the same thing over and over again and to remind me that I had promised to take them to the park and hadn't done that yet and then, holy crap, it was the middle of the afternoon and I'd started 15 separate tasks but finished nothing! And those are the times when "it" happens. My kids broke into that "omg, you're driving me nuts, get out of my face!" space in my brain -- which all moms know, sits in a very sad corner of the "GUILT GUILT GUILT!!!" part of the brain. Which, when the two mix, that is when the pressure of being a "bad mom" creeps in and overtakes it all.

So, you go on Facebook to find a friend, to release the built up pressure, to relate. But instead, the first thing you see in your feed is Supermom. You know her. She's the one who is homeschooling and today, they're baking cookies while discussing Mozart while an organic, GMO-free dinner with VEGETABLES bakes in the oven. Oh, bad words. Damn you, Supermom. Damn you, Facebook. Damn you, wonderful, amazing, awful Facebook. And Supermom.

Forget the cookies, I'm supposed to make dinner too!?!? Even though dinner is something that happens EVERYDAY, I always forget about it. But Supermom doesn't. Nooooooo. She remembers dinner. And her children actually eat it without being threatened that they have to go to bed if they don't. Bad words, bad words, bad words!!!! I suck. I suck. I SUCK!!!!!!

I am ripped of all the memories of all the wonderful things I have ever done with my kids. My brain fills with thoughts of my suckiness. I suddenly can't remember to give myself a break because I run a business in addition to my mommy duties. I can't remember that yesterday I took them to a museum or that I orchestrated a fabulous birthday party a week ago because all I see is that today, they watched a lot of TV when they should have had all my attention and we should've made cookies!!! Supermom made cookies!!! And I didn't!!!! Ten years ago, on the rare occasion I'd be in the same space as her, Supermom made me feel badly for her and all her unnecessary overparenting and worry. Now, Supermom makes me insane. Supermom makes me feel like SuperSuck.

It was on that day, those few weeks back, where all of this happened exactly as I've described and I was spiraling downwards. So much to do. No time. Work deadlines approaching. My brain was consumed with stress and thoughts of unfinished laundry. And the kids wanted to eat, again. And that was annoying me. Why do they always want to eat?? And play outside? And fight over the same stupid piece of plastic? I remember this day as horrible. I remember being a terrible mom that day who scary-screamed more than I'd like to admit and said "Go play! Go find something else to do!" all too many times. If you asked me about this day, I'd have told you that I was a failure on that day. It was a "bad mom" kind of day. It was a day when a Supermom, I was not.

And then I found these photos in Lightroom. All from that day.

The evidence of my motherhood from that day looks like this.
Henry is a stage five clinger. He wants to be on top of me or directly next to me at all times. Annoyed that he was following me from room to room, I started a game of throwing the laundry from the upstairs balcony down to him below to de-pressure the battle between task vs. attention. We now do it every time I have laundry and it's one of our favorite things.

And he loves to be independent and do things by himself. This has always caused a battle between us because he will flip out if he cannot figure out how to do something. So, that day, I started letting him dump the baskets of clothes into the machine. And he loves it. And I love the tippy toes.
And when their Daddy is away on business, they sleep in my bed with me. It's a tradition that they love. And clearly, even on this crazy day when I felt so down on myself, here I was photographing them in the dark instead of tucking myself in for much needed sleep because they are just so cute and wonderful. And because I love them to death.
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If this is what that day actually looked like, then I am struck with the realization that Supermom is all in my head. It's not Supermom or Facebook's fault. Or Pinterest's. {let's just lump that asshole of a "you-don't-measure-up" webpage in there with them all, too}. It's mine. It's MY decision to feel like I am doing it wrong. It's my decision to freak out. It's my decision to focus on the parts that aren't pretty and taunting me and robbing me instead of cherishing and rising up to all the good times and the BEAUTY that is in our lives.

If this is what my motherhood looks like, then I'm clearly doing something right. Those two boys - well, sometimes they will have to watch a lot of TV. And sometimes I won't be able to finish the laundry. And sometimes I will shout "STOP IT!" many, many times during a day. And sometimes I will feed them pizza a few days in a row. And sometimes, this sort of day will repeat itself and I will lack patience and feel defeated, But, ALWAYS, I will love them and being their mom. So much. And that really is what makes a super mom.  

Deep breaths. They are ok. I am ok. 

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