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I bake and clean.

September 27, 2019

[Wow. This post is from end of July, 2018, and reflects how deep in the trenches I was, how grueling parenting can be, how distorted anxiety and depression can make my mind.  Things have gotten better…we are getting therapy for 2 out of 3 kids and will work soon on the 3rd, and some of these behaviors are not as prominent anymore. Thank God.  And I have gotten better…more mindful, more accepting and forgiving of them and me.]

This weekend was a doozy.

And this morning, as my three played happily together downstairs, I could not relax and feel happy.  It felt like the old dictum of sleep when the baby sleeps.  Whenever the babies were all sleeping, I could not fall asleep.  Now, the remnant emotions of the weekend and the dread of the fights-to-come over the next few days kept my heart heavy.

So I swept the cereal crumbs and parmesan cheese bits off the floor.  And I put away things.  And when our generous and kind neighbor friend came to whisk my children away for an hour and a half of sprinkler / kiddie pool playtime, I went to the grocery store.  And then made pesto.

Later today I’ll make zucchini muffins.

Because cleaning and cooking have tangible measures of progress and success.  I made that.  Or, my feet don’t feel all crusty when I walk barefoot in the kitchen.  It’s a small area of control in a day (month? year?) when I feel out of control.

I keep wanting to ask my children, What do you need?  The answer is as likely to be “This new Lego set” as what I would guess they really need:  more attention? therapy? divine intervention?

I keep feeling incapable of even figuring out what they need, much less being able to give it to each one.  How to help massage the fixed mindset into flexible thinking, so that we don’t hear “I hate school!” at the mere mention of educational facilities or any appurtenances thereof. How to diminish the number of fights I have on any given day with one incredibly strong-willed kid who seems to think that “getting my way 100% of the time” is a God-given right and tells me regularly how horrible I am that I do not allow for such.  How to manage my own emotions so that my super-sensitive kid doesn’t feel the need to protect me from their siblings, a role I never want any of my kids to feel they have to play.

I bake and clean maybe to have some small offering to give to my children on days like this one when it seems like just me is not enough.  Have a muffin.  I don’t know how to help you.

I have told my kids–when one of them, in a tantrum, threw this at me: “You should go back to the kid store and get a better kid”–that they are the kids I was meant to have.  They and I coexist in the same family because they have things to teach me, and I have things to teach them, and we will learn and grow together into better people because of it.

Later that day, the same kid told me, “You’re not the mom I was meant to have.”  I know this is this kid’s defenses talking, not their True, Loving Self, but yowch anyway.

Some days, I feel like a failure.  Some days, I feel like a rockstar.  Some days, both sentiments ricochet wildly from hour to hour.  I’m getting better at not yelling, mostly.  I’m expending a lot of mental and emotional energy reining in my frustrations and anger and “things I want to say but probably shouldn’t.”

At least if I expend energy cooking and cleaning, there’s something to show for it.

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