Friday, February 19, 2010

Do Not Be Concerned, Turns Out I Love My Kids

So, I have been taking a few days off from writing anything to process a few things. I have recently had an influx of emails, comments on my FB status and casual mentionings to me about my feelings toward my children. No one has come out and asked if I really love them...well, my Mom did warn me that other people might be thinking that, due to my constant sarcasm regarding everything my children do and my capabilities of coping with them, maybe I don't really like them.

Also, several comments could have just been innocent but I skewed the words to say something like, "Leslie, you are funny, and I get what you are saying, but I love that my kids do that and have learned to appreciate and value them rather than bitch about the things they do. I'm a really good Mom, and you are an ungrateful and sucky Mom, poor Aiden, Cole, Indiana and unborn child." Like I said, they didn't write that but I'm prettty sure that was what I read.

I tend to worry a lot about other people's perception of me, which is really unfortunate for someone with my sense of humour and view on life. If you don't know me well, you need to know that I am sarcastic about a lot of things. Ok, I am sarcastic about almost everything. But, I am a good person, I truly care about other people, I have gratitude and extreme awareness of how fortunate I am...but I do have a very sarcastic, dry sense of humour and I think a lot of things are funny....even maybe when it isn't perceived that I should. This is tough to carry in the role of MOM. No one wants to hear that someone thinks that their kids suck or that they truly understand how child abuse happens or that they have no clue what they are doing because it is really, crazy hard to do this job well. Oh yeah, and judgement of one another in this role is rampant.

So, do I like my kids? Well, here's the truth people, sometimes I don't like them very much. That's right, sometimes I do not like them at all.

Here's the thing...that's ok. I always love them. They are my children, my amazing children. Unfortunately, that love does not dimish the frustration they bring into my life or the brutal process of raising them to be good people. I don't just love them, I actually feel it is my gift, my challenge, my privledge to make them into fully functional people that don't need me or their father for everything. I am to make them into people that feel it is their job to be good and do good in the world. No big deal, no wonder it makes me cranky sometimes.

A few years ago I was watching Oprah (pre-children, sick day....oh those were the days!) There was an author on the show who had written an article about how her husband was her first love and then her children. She was being attacked all over the place by a million moms that I felt were twisting this lady's words. Most of them were attempting to defend their own choices to view their life through their children's lives rather than focusing on their own.

I didn't even have kids, but I totally understood her. She had fallen deeply in love with her spouse and choosen to spend the rest of her life with him. She wanted him to be her partner, her companion through all of life's stages that were to come. She couldn't envision growing old without him. She could, however, envision her life without her children as a constant presence. She of course loved each child. She just viewed her role to be to love and support them, while not making them feel they were the center of anyone's world (amen to trying to fight rampant sense of entitlement) and someday they were going to be without her, functioning in the world and doing their own thing...while Mom went on growing old with Dad. I loved this lady.

After having children I relate even more to this woman. I do love my kids, but I feel overwhelmed by the task of doing a good job for them. I often feel alone in the task of raising them due to my husband's work schedule. (Yes, I am grateful for his job and no, I wouldn't rather him be lazy than a hard worker.) I did not choose my children. I was given them and they are their own people, filled with all sorts of challenges and complications that I have to help them work through. I didn't get to pick any of that, but it is a constant in my life now. I love it, but I don't always LOVE it.

I think it is ok for me to complain about them, while keeping gratitude heavy in my thoughts and words as well. I think it is probably best for all of us if I am selfish sometimes and choose myself over them, or occasionaly choose my husband over them. And I definitely think I am a good Mom, even if I periodically wish that I could lock them in the closet for just an hour so that I can sit down without someone asking me to fix them something, wipe something, explain something, or get something back for them....I'm a fantastic Mom because I only wish I could do it, I never do...yet.


Anonymous said...

I'm sad that you think you have to defend yourself. Like I've said to you before, I respect you for saying things that other people think, but won't get out and maybe that frustration ends up coming out in a really negative way, maybe aimed at their partner/spouse/life mate, co-workers etc. Expressing your thoughts in writing, and just that, is awesome. And I also said, I have no doubt you love your children. You're a smart chick who, I'm guessing, made the responsible decision to have each of your children. I don't think you would have made that decision if you didn't love/want them. Don't explain, Leslie.

As a smart adult I am also making the decision to not have them. You can't imagine the looks of horror I get from people. I am putting my spouse first and want to devote all my time to him as long as I can. If the time comes, I will adopt, yet another thing people don't agree with - "but don't you want one of your ownnnnnnnn???!!" Ugh. Why on earth would I pass on my bouts of paralyzing anxiety and panic?

Those haters should try working with/for you :-o) (I miss it often!)

Lindsay said...

Well said! Thank you from all the moms that have some hard days!

Theresa said...

I am glad you posted this. I think that some of your posts leave people who may not know you well thinking...judgment in motherhood is rampant. I love the lady you talked about on Oprah. I totally agree. So is it ok I let my baby sleep on her stomach? ;) Kidding, but one way she will sleep the other she won't, what is a parent to do?

lehaehl said...

I read it! I love you! I know you well enough to know that you are a great mom who loves her kids. They are lucky to have you b/c you DON'T smother them. Trust me, good things to do NOT happen when a mom is too heavily invested in her children, I see it every day. You can be as sarcastic as you want and complain as you want. The way I see it, if other mom's have a problem with that, there is something else going on there - they have some issue they need to work out for themselves instead of judging or worrying about others. Seriously.