After a crazy summer that included getting our house ready to put on the market, selling our house, packing up our house, some crazy family vacations, being in limbo for two weeks before we could move into our rental on Whidbey Island, and enjoying the heck out of our new town, the kids are finally back in school. Whew!!! Can I say that again, Whew! I’m exhausted, absofuckinglutely exhausted. Who am I kidding, I’m exhausted after getting both kids to school on time. And I only have two mini-dictators.
My essay, “Tiny Oh-So-Important Moments” appeared on The Good Mother Project yesterday. Greg and I spent so much time contemplating this move and then finally moving and now, WE ARE HERE. And here includes the kids starting a new school. And I sooooooo want them to love their new school. I want them to have friends and feel included. I want them to have someone to play with at recess and eat with at lunch. I want them to feel comfortable in their skin. I want. I want. I want! I know, I want a lot. And because I can’t control any of those things, I worry. And it’s exhausting. I know I don’t have a kid with a chronic illness or a disease. I know I am not a single parent. I know we have plenty of money to put good food on the table and clothes on their backs, even to eat out and take vacations. I know I am lucky. So, so lucky. Believe me I am overwhelmed with happy tears of gratitude often.
But I am still exhausted. And you know what, that’s okay. I just wish we as a society thought that was okay. I’ve read so many essays lately where the mom is exhausted, where she sacrifices, where she wants help, and YET ultimately she feels guilty for all of these feelings. And this kills me because we should be allowed our truths, our feelings without feeling guilty about every single one of them. I’m guilty of the guilt too. But the truth is, we are exhausted! We do sacrifice. We do need & want help.
Raising kids to be kind, creative, intelligent, compassionate people, to be problem solvers, to be nice to people they don’t like, to tell the truth, to not throw fits, to not hit, to read, to be athletes, teachers, marine biologists, actors, whew!! I mean just getting them potty trained is enough to make me want to take to my bed. This is hard fucking work, people. Hard.
And we do it all under the scrutiny of everyone. We have to contend with technology, with peers, with judgmental people, with media and with our own fragile hearts and feelings of inadequacy. Every minute of every day. Some of us do it with enormous added burdens like sick children, as single parents, living paycheck to paycheck, through loss and grief and depression and anger. Lordy, I’m exhausted just writing this.
My good friend texted me this week and said she too was so worried about her daughter starting in a new class and making new friends. After the first few days were awesome, my friend burst into tears because she was so relieved. I texted her back a lot of love and said that I cried too when Lily’s teacher got her a buddy.
This is what we do, this is who we are, we are incredibly strong moms and dads (and other amazing caregivers!) who put precious pieces of our hearts out into the world to survive all on their own. We put them out into this world, this crazy, beautiful, challenging, horrifying, wondrous, scary, illuminating, constantly changing world. We push them out of the nest and hope they soar. And we cry a lot of fricking tears.
When they are babies in the nest, and after we push them out, we still need help and kindness and love and connection. I got that from some lovely people this week in the form of texts, messages, books in the mail, Facebook hearts. I can’t convey how much that love means to me. I hope all parents feel that love and support every day. Because you are all fucking awesome! You are doing a super job without the help of superpowers. You all rock!