I had grand plans for this week. I was going to get a lot of things done; I had a whole list of productive projects I was going to tackle and check off, killing time while my husband is on a business trip. But instead I’ve spent the night sitting, and worrying, and trying to soothe myself with TV and chips. (The good news is I finally gave up on the chips. The bad news is that I’m still awake and, though I was close to sleep about 30 minutes ago, due to an email chain with one of my kids’ teachers I’m wide awake now and my brain is full-steam-ahead.)
There are some things I have no control over. In fact, most things in this world I have no control over; really, comparatively speaking, my sphere of influence is very small. But when it comes to my kids, I’m not sure how much control I’m supposed to have. I feel like I’m responsible for teaching my children lots of things, including morals. So if they lack morals, does this mean I’m failing? And if I’ve failed with one, does that mean I’m doomed to fail with them all? I’ve always looked at parents of children who haven’t turned out “ideally” and thought, “Hey, it’s the kid, not the parent. These kids make their own choices.” But being on the other side of this, being the parent of the kid who isn’t turning out ideally, it’s a lot harder not to blame myself.
Tonight is one of those times when I feel like being a parent is more than I can handle. It’s time to throw in the towel, admit defeat, and hand the baton on to someone more capable. I’m ready to quit this gig. But it isn’t that easy, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t live with myself if I just gave up on this child.
But at what point is it no longer my responsibility? At what point do I just turn this child’s actions and decisions completely over to them? And does that mean I’m giving up? Does it mean I’ve failed? And if it does, then does that make me a shitty mom?
Over the years I’ve come to realize and accept that I’m simply not cut out to be what I’m trying to be. I’m not the mother I thought I would be (to be truthful, I’m not the person I thought I would be either). And I’m trying really hard to accept that, and come to terms with it, and love myself in spite (because?) of it. But I still feel so responsible. Like I shouldn’t have brought them here if I wasn’t capable of taking care of them and teaching them properly. Hindsight.
I love my children. I do. They have added a new dimension to my life. But sometimes I think it would be better if they had a different mother. Someone more capable. Someone better equipped to teach them, help them, and love them the way they need. Because I’m only capable of so much. And right now it sure doesn’t seem like enough.
Why do I share these things with the world? Why do I tell cyberspace about my problems? I promised myself a few years ago that I wouldn’t pretend this was easy any more. So I write, and I share that because I think there are a lot of people who need to know that the battles they fight are normal parts of parenting, life, and existing. Because I need to know that I’m not the only one who isn’t stellar at this or loving every second of it (or even most of the seconds). And if I need to know that, I suspect there are at least a few other internet-savvy people who need to know it too.