But I care. A lot.
Like most parents, I want the best for my children. But to give them the best means putting my own wants and needs on hold which can be very hard to do. It means putting my phone down, turning my distracted mind off, and interacting with them. It means reading books together when I’d rather not, going for walks when I’d rather not, playing games when I’d rather not. It’s fighting this feeling of not doing anything worthwhile. It’s reminding myself that these are the things that are actually worthwhile. These are the ways to create a fulfilled child. (You know, the whole reason we bring these little people into the world in the first place.)
Just the other day my husband and I received the highest compliment you can get as parents of young kids. A woman sitting near us in a restaurant said that we had lovely children who were so well-behaved. Granted, she might’ve had a little too much vino and we had only been there about 20 minutes before she left, so she saw them in their prime–while the crayons were still keeping them busy and the sugar from their chocolate milks hadn’t kicked in yet. Nonetheless, I stood up to accept my parent of the year award and to make a heartfelt speech about sacrifice and selflessness to our fellow diners. Kidding. We thanked her and then snickered that boy had we fooled her.
Why should I care what this complete stranger thought when I know my kids are well-behaved? I’m well aware of what it’s taken to make them this way–most of my sanity and all of my patience. At least in that moment it felt like my hard work had paid off. I guess that’s what I was thanking her for…for noticing.
I have so much I want to accomplish, yet by the time I’m done trying to mold my mini-mes into self-sufficient decent human beings who feel loved and understood, I’m just too mentally and physically exhausted to do anything but zone out to the world and keep ignoring everything I’ve put on the back burner. So I remind myself that this time in their lives where they actually want me to be a part of everything they do is short-lived and that my time is better spent sharing life with them even if it costs me my own.