Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Feel Like A Parent!

I’m not sure I will ever get any grandkids! No – I am not old enough to be a grandmother . . . yet . . . thankfully! Nor are my kids old enough to produce any for me (PTL!), but I’m starting to wonder if any of my children will want to reproduce and take on the job of parenting.

One day my 12 year old son came up to me in the kitchen. He was moping around, and with a big sigh said, “I feel like a parent”.

Hunh? “What do you mean you feel like a parent?” I asked him, a bit confused.

His classic response . . . “I’m just not handling life well right now.”

Oh boy. Besides the great urge to giggle at that statement, I was suddenly saddened to think that the only way he would correlate the two – being a parent and not handling life well – is that someone was showing him that – living it out, or saying it to him frequently. . . . . hmmmm . . . . . must have been his father! :) hee,hee.

Ok, ok. I’m sure it was me (too). I know it was me. I know that there are many days that I am not handling life very well. Parenting is hard. No one really tells you that before you have kids. I swear, the second I got a boyfriend the question was “is he ‘The One’?”. When we were engaged, it was “When are you getting married?” As soon as we tied the knot we heard “So, when are you going to have kids?” And, of course, after baby number one pops out, everyone wants to know “Are you having any more kids? . . . . .When? . . . . So, do you want a girl next time? . . . . How are things going with being a mommy? Don’t you just LOVE it?”

When my first son was 3 days old I was asked that question – “Don’t you just love being a mommy?” My candid and shockingly honest response was “No. I just want to sleep for about 3 days and THEN I think I might like it!” I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept for days. I had just birthed a bowling ball after 30 hours of panting and counting and rocking and swaying, in addition to a hallucinogenic drug, a needle in the back, more pain as it felt like I was passing the biggest bowel movement of my life, and then later on - someone sucking the life out of my breasts! And then there was the little fact no one told me about - that I would have to deal with things leaking from several places on my body (some of which had never had anything leaking from them before) – and not knowing which to take care of first as I was getting out of the shower each day – dripping . . . sore . . . exhausted . . . engorged . . . emotionally unstable . . . . . You get the picture? :) Have you been there?

I sat on the bed and started crying one morning . . . for no reason at all. I was stressing over the fact that I was never going to get the hang of breastfeeding, much less everything else a new baby brings . . . baths, what to do when they are sick, how to get out the door in less than 3 hours in the morning, how to pump my breasts so they don’t explode when it was time to go back to work, when to start feeding him “real” food . . . . . . and on and on and on. I probably continued with the fears and worries all the way up to where we would send him to college! My darling husband sat at my bedside with his arm around me and said – “Don’t worry honey. I will take care of it. You just focus on breastfeeding and I will do the rest.” I knew that wasn’t entirely true – but at the time, I took the lifeline he was throwing me! It did calm me down.

Now – four additional kids later, and I still have my weepy days, my days where I, too, cry out to God and say “I feel like a parent! . . . . I’m not handling life very well today!” But, I’ve learned over the years to not end it there – to not continue in my slobbery pity party wondering how and why I ever got into this “job” in the first place. My next response is always “God help me! :) I CHOOSE to accept your supernatural strength, energy, wisdom, peace and love today! I give you all of myself (take it – it’s yours!), and I choose to take all of you!” There were years when the kids were really young and I was still quite sleep deprived, that my saving grace was making sure to say this right after my eyes opened in the morning and before my feet hit the floor - “Help me to be a good mother and wife today. I choose to accept your supernatural strength and energy today!” And do you know what? . . . . . God DID help me. I am still here today! I’m still (somewhat) sane. My kids are still all alive and healthy (and mostly unharmed . . . emotionally :). ). And the great thing is – in the areas that I have totally messed up as a mother – God can restore and fix things! I know it’s not the easiest way to do it (it’s much better to do it right the first time), but don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t do it right the first time. There is power in prayer, and if your kids are still young – you still have a lot of time to make it right!

I do have to say that there is a glimmer of hope that I will actually have grandkids one day. My adopted daughter (who came into our family last year when she was 3 and a half – after God had done some desparate work on our parenting skills!!) is always saying that when she grows up she wants to be . . . “A mommy”! That is her passion and her greatest desire! . . . Oh yeah – and at times she says she wants to be a teacher. “Can I be a teacher AND a mommy?” she asked one day. Of course honey! “Well – I want to be a Mommy FIRST and THEN a teacher!” She definitely has the right attitude about how the statement “I feel like a parent” should be . . . full of joy and anticipation – that it is the greatest job anyone could ever have!

And it truly is!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

AWESOME post....boy can we all relate. :) I lost your email address. If you don't mind, will you email me with it? :) Jokellyne @ aol . com