Friday, June 17, 2011

The First Week: Things I've Learned

It has officially been one week since school has let out, and I've learned some things.  Not the least of these is that when you really look forward to something the chance of that event living up to your mind's vision is not likely.  This week has been rough, to say the least.  It started out okay.  I have pictures as proof.  But it went down hill (just like the weather) from there.

Perhaps I wouldn't have learned what I did if this week hadn't been so crappy.  Perhaps said crappy week happened so that I could grow from this week and make the rest of the summer better.  Maybe.  Or maybe it was just a crappy week. 

Either way.  I learned.

-I learned that you can take your kids to their great grandparents grave and it will give your mother much happiness. Not only that but apparently kids like cemetaries almost as much as they like parks.  Who knew?
-I learned that you can yell so much that you give yourself a migraine.  Literally.  You will feel both ashamed and punished at the same time.  And when you apologize to your children for your horrible behavior they forgive you.  And defend you.  And it makes you feel worse.  And when you cry and tell them that you behaved like a rotten person they will cry with you and tell you that you are the best.  And you feel more undeserving of love than you ever have. 
-I learned that it doesn't matter how cold the water is a stream must be played in.
-I learned that when your mother is trying to be helpful it can actually be really hurtful.  Sometimes a mother just needs to keep her thoughts to herself.  I realize that I am not an exception to this rule.  I know that I, too, need to keep my mouth shut a lot more than I do.  I need to think more carefully not only about what comes out of my mouth, but the thoughts in my head as well.  Words and thoughts need to be monitored.  I learned what not to say when my kids are older and have children of their own. Things like, "You kids were so easy!" as a mother is struggling to handle her own children is not helpful.  I learned it is really easy to forgive your own mother when you remember she is your best friend and loves you very much. 

-I learned that wearing all pink does not mean that you won't play with sticks and stones and get soaked in the stream.  Thankfully.
I learned that even though I can see a fall about to happen sometimes I just need to let it happen so that they can learn to avoid those things on their own.  Even if we don't have a change of clothes.
I learned that playing on a sunny playground and swinging on swings is a great way to dry off wet clothes.
- I learned that you can almost SEE children growing if you look closely.
-I learned that sometimes your mother doesn't understand your sarcastic sense of humor and when you say, "I don't think I'm gonna make it to see them as adults" she will think you are serious and recommend you start taking antidepressants to deal with your children. 
-I learned that I need to hover less and just let go.  I need to worry less.  Nag less.  Yell less.
- I learned that when you call your husband at work crying about what a shitty mother you are he will say all kinds of nice things about you and make you feel better.
-  I learned that sometimes you think you are stronger than you are. 
- I learned that I need to smile more.  I need to smile from the inside out.  I need to smile with my guts and my soul and mean it.  I need to smile even when I don't feel like it.  I need to smile especially when I don't feel like it.  Smiling makes you feel better. 
- I learned that some people (well okay, most people) don't like to pose for a million pictures and would rather just run around the playground.  Some people play along better than others.

It was a crazy week.  I hope I don't ever have a repeat of this week.  I hope I can take the lessons I've learned and hang onto them so that I can enjoy this summer with my kids.  I hope that when my kids look back on this summer (and their childhood in general) they will remember all the fun we had and forget about what a crazy lunatic I could be sometimes.  I hope I can stop thinking about how hard parenting is and focus instead of how fun and what a blessing it is. 

I've learned.  Now I hope I remember what I've learned.


Debbie in CA : ) said...

Wow! Did anyone else just have a deja vu moment? My littles are biggens now (youngest 12) but I distinctly remember these kinds of days. Funny thing is, all these years later my kids blab on and on about what a GREAT childhood they lived -- without a single recollection of Mom's CRAZY DAYS!!!!

Hang in there Kat, I'm praying for you and hoping you can see the bright among the bleak on "those days." (I know you already do . . . look at the pics, read your words).

"Learn to smile inside and out"
I LOVE that goal.

XO ~~ Debbie

Elaine A. said...

I'm not sure where to start. I can first say, that I can SO relate on the yelling and then feeling horrible and you are NOT alone. Whether that is a good or bad thing I do not know... we are only human after all.

We just have to learn to forgive ourselves sometimes too, you know? I'm still learning too...

Your kids do have a wonderful mother and so do mine. It's just hard, this mothering thing, some days more than others. I KNOW.

Huge hugs on that my friend.

And! Your photos in this post are FAB-U-LOUS and also, Grace is like your mini-me, isn't she?

Hope you all have a great weekend Kat! xoxo

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

I am totally working on the hovering...and the smiling even when I don't feel like it. I hate yelling too. I always feel bad when I do this morning, when Noah wiped strawberry all over his shirt, after I specifically told him NOT to get any on his shirt as we were about to walk out the door. ugh.

One thing I am also learning is to not be so hard on myself. I guess it's just a mom thing. sigh...

Sorry it was a tough week, but it looks like there were lots of smiles too. Great pictures!

Allison said...

Oh, my gosh, Kat, are you sure you weren't inside my body this week and writing that for me?! That is exactly the week I had this week. The last straw was yesterday in the supermarket, after a day full of arguments between my older two, my daughter hitting her friend with a water gun and drawing blood and a baby that wouldn't nap. I was trying to get baby formula quickly and get home. Cate and Max were messing around and Cate was licking (yes, I said licking) the checkout counter and I told her twice to stop. After the 3rd time, I whipped her around and very sternly told her to STOP.IT.NOW!!!! The sacker then turned to me and said I shouldn't treat my kids like that! Really? I didn't hit my kids, I had clearly tried twice before to stop it in a rational tone, so I meant business. However, I was mortified and cried all the way home. They hugged me and apologized and I felt the same way you did...WORSE! But, I, too, came to the realization that even though they act like kids, I have also raised compassionate, caring kids who do know right from wrong! Hang in there and let's hope we both have better weeks next week. {{hugs}} TGIF!

Kat said...

Debbie- Thank you! I needed to hear that. It is very reassuring that kids really do remember the good stuff most. Whew! ;)

Elaine- Yes. We are always hardest on ourselves, aren't we? I have a really hard time forgiving myself too. Must work on that. :)

Kelli- I don't know if you ever watched Ally McBeal when it was on, but the head partner at the lawfirm used to practice smile therapy. Every time he was really ticked off he would smile really big. It was hilarious, and now that is what I'm trying to do. It always makes me laugh thinking about it. HA! ;)

Allison- I bet you a million dollars that the sacker doesn't even have kids. I can't stand it when people have to put their two cents in. Like we aren't supposed to raise our voices at our kids? She was LICKING the counter for heavens sake. Are you just supposed to let her do that? Ugh. People make me nuts sometimes.
And yes, I hope we both have better weeks next week! :)

Thanks all for your supportive comments!

Jeni said...

You will find, no doubt, that you will relearn those lessons of this past week many times over in the years ahead. You might even get a deju vu moment from it too but usually, those things don't happen for quite some time after the events took place. Don't worry about using your sarcastic humor and whether your Mom "gets" it or not. She may have just been using her sarcastic side too! I've often thought as bad as I frequently thought my kids were when they were growing up that they were easier than the grandkids can be at times but then, I rethink that and realize I'm operating today on a much different plane, wave length, etc., and can't possibly compare the two different generations there! (When I really stop and think about it, my kids were sometimes much worse than the grandkids and at other times, well a teensy bit better but not by much!) I do tend to be a lot more lenient today than I was oh, 30 plus years ago too so that may account for a lot -mainly because of what I learned with my kids that DIDN'T work too well, I try not to employ those tactics with the grandkids. Not always successful at that -especially being the alarmist grandma at times, worrying that they will get hurt. But falls and accidents do happen, even under the most watchful eye and yes, kids do have to learn a lot about life by experimenting a bit here and there, on their own. Overall, they tend to be pretty tough cookies though, don't they?
So don't worry, Kit -you're doing just great, just as you are today!

Tonya said...

I always have to remind myself that my up bringing was in a much different time where my parents just let me go outside and didn't EVER worry about me. My parents never played with me or took me to the park because it was too much work for them to be bothered with. So as hard as it is raising my FOUR kids. I would rather be the parent at the park playing with them then the parent my parents were to me. Not that they were bad parents just not as involved. Just a different time, you know. All that to say my dad has made that comment to me and it took everything for me to hold my tongue and not say the above :) It is what it is!

Kat said...

Jeni- Yes. You are right. My mom definitely has a different perspective with her grandkids than she did with her kids. I think she just forgets what it was like.

Tonya- You got it exactly. When I was growing up the kids were shooed outside in the morning and then we came back for a bite for lunch and then for dinner. We were NEVER around. Of course they thought we were easy. HA! Times have changed. I was thinking about how I would NEVER let my kids do the things my mom let us do (dangerous stuff). I guess it was just a different time. But it does make our job a smidge harder, if you ask me.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I've had those weeks. They are exhausting. But worth it.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

Parenting is all about learning. You'll never, ever stop. Nobody does it right every time, and your kids will love you anyway!

Jayne said...

I think every mom has had weeks like you've just finished up. I know I have. Just hang in there. The summer will get better!

And if not...perhaps a margarita after bedtime in your beautiful new 4 seasons room? :)

Suldog said...

Well, I can't speak to the parenting part, not being one, but I can tell you for sure that I absolutely loved cemeteries when I was a kid. They are fascinating places for a kid, with much to look at and not too many people around to tell you what to do. Imagination being what it is for the young - STRONG - every stone can become an inner tale fraught with excitement, adventure, passionate love, or whatever else he or she wishes to imbue it with. Heck, I'd like to take a picnic lunch to one right now...

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Love ya. I know the craziness that is raising kids. It can be wonderful but equally horrible. I had a melt down this week, too. Something about not being able to handle one of my kids and what was I doing wrong and blah blah blah. I'm kind of over it now, but I know I'll never be exactly perfect for him, and that's hard.

Krystyn said...

Oh, the moms. They never stop being moms. Even when we are the moms. And, somehow, they seem to get crazier and think they know all the answers!

It seems like the first week was still an overall success!

And, anti-depressants? Really? I bet she never yelled at you!

lime said...

lots of lessons in that week it sounds. some easier and more pleasant than others. any of us who are mothers have had weeks like that. parenting is hard but it is also fun. please remember to be gentle with yourself. you can't possibly be perfect. hugs to you.

Scrappy said...

Sounds a bit like our first week of Summer. The yelling part, mostly. Sorry about that. I hope the rest of your summer is awesome!

Molly's Mom said...

Look at how your little ones have grown!!!

Riahli said...

You have a way of making me cry and laugh all in one post. I can relate so well to all you are saying, it's like I wrote it... only you write way better then me, ha ha! {My sarcastic sense of humor is often misunderstood as well.}

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson