Momming Out Loud
Surviving the parenting Titanic.
My name is Rebecca. I'm a mother of three girls ages 8, 6 and 2. Basically, they are the energy that sparks my heart from one beat to the next. But they're not perfect, and neither am I. Thus, Momming Out Loud was born. From the comments I received on Facebook, it's clear there are parents going through similar issues.
"You say things I don't even know I want to say."
"I feel this way, too."
"You are definitely not the only one who feels that way!"
Why am I surprised? We spend half our lives (or more!) feeling as if we're on the parenting Titanic. We see others like us, but they're happily situated in the few available lifeboats. We reach out a hand to ask for help, and no one reaches back. They smile and float away while we watch our parenting ship capsize and sink.
Exaggeration, yes, but if you're like me, you've probably felt that sinking feeling.
I have occasionally wondered if we're given some sort of bliss-inducing drug at the hospital so that when we arrive home with our wiggly bundle of joy we only see blue skies and endless possibilities. We never see the other side of the sea where the graveyard of ships lies in ruin, stacked so high the sky is blacked out and there could not possibly be survivors.
Okay, but really. Parenting isn't that bad.
Of course, it's not.
But it's not perfect, easy or fun all the time either, and there are plenty of times I've felt like I was drowning in the turmoil caused by my own attitudes, by preconceived but ineffective ideas about discipline, by unruly kids arguing purely for the joy of irritating each other, by blow-out diapers at 2 a.m. that were discovered because you heard squish-squish over the monitor as the baby wallowed in the mess, or perhaps by ridiculously apples-to-oranges competitions with other parents.
Do I need to go on? If you've been there, you can probably add a dozen or more things to the list, but you know what I mean. We try. We do. But parenting doesn't come with a manual or concrete answers. Even people who are happily cruising around the parenting sea in their seemingly perfect little lifeboats aren't mistake-free. They may seem that way, and they would like for you to believe that.
But let's get real. They aren't.
So how do we parent these children without permanently scarring them? I worry that I have irrevocably ruined all three of mine in one way or a million, but then I look at them, and I see such beauty, intelligence and creativity. I see young girls who will become young ladies who will become women with unlimited potential.
Okay, admittedly, I am not looking at them with totally unbiased eyes. It's my right as their mother!
Still, though, I feel like I don't know what I'm doing from one moment to the next. I raise my voice when I didn't have to, and I forget promises I made. It's foolish to think they don't sense my tone or feel the heartbreak of forgotten commitments.
I teach them that we have to hurry because we're always running late. Our merry band of misses rarely stays motivated when we're trying to get out the door, and they can't go anywhere without a bathroom break before we get two miles down the road. "Hurry up" and "get your rear in gear" are commonly heard on school-day mornings, and I feel like their childhood soundtrack will play back in their memories with the less-than-heartwarming sounds of my order barking.
There are so many things I regularly do that make me question why I was blessed with these girls. I compare myself to parents who seem to have it all together, but the funny thing about that is that I've had other parents say they have compared themselves unfavorably to me. If that's true, I fear for our children's futures!
I try. I am trying. I will keep on trying. Of course I will. Those three perfectly flawed, gorgeously precious angels need their Mama, mistakes and all.
As I think about how hard parenting can be and how easy it is to down ourselves for the mistakes we make, it occurs to me that our sinking ships are really just floating in a shallow pool of common circumstances. We think others have it so much easier than we do and that others are doing such a great job of parenting their way through the choppy seas.
But if we all took the time to look around and see that we're in this together and that we're raising some fairly decent children, we could stand up and walk out of it to higher ground.
So why don't we?
I'm done parenting a sinking ship. From now on, I'll be "Momming out loud." Ups, downs, successes, problems, standing up, falling down - I own it. It may feel like I'm ruining these children with my inept parenting, but they are pretty great kids, and they didn't get that way alone.
I'm doing a better job than I give myself credit for, and you are, too.