Saturday, October 8, 2011

What you're good at, what you tolerate in small bits and what you refuse

If there is a battle in my head that I fight pretty constantly, it is attempting to accept that there are just some things as a mom (or a person) I don't like doing and can only tolerate in small bits.

One of these right now is playing with my kids, and it's not the playing itself.  It is that they all want me to play with them at the exact same time.  If I try to play "Bugs & Barbies" with G, N wants me to do Bendaroos with her at the same time or M climbs all over me as I sit on the floor trying to keep G's bugs from eating my Barbie.  Or if I try to make Bendaroos with N, G comes in and starts demanding that I make a Bendaroo shark for him and M says, "Mah-ee?  Mah-ee?  Mah-ee?" so I will watch him do whatever it is he wants to show me.  Or if I try to play with M, N and G horn in on whatever it is we're doing.

It is simply impossible for me to give any of them any shred of focused attention while the others are anywhere nearby.  I become frustrated and feel guilty and then just get pissed off when the kids begin arguing with each other in their fury to get my attention.

So in the end, I just try to let them play alone or play with each other.  I feel guilty about this, but at the same time I don't think this is an especially bad thing.  I mean, I'm a boring grown-up, and they seem to laugh and have considerably more fun when they play together without me in the picture.

I try to remind myself of the things I am good at as a mom, and I have to do this pretty often since I internally lash myself regularly about what I'm not good at.

--Like my enthusiasm at noticing the unexpected....cows in cattle carriers on the highway and hang-gliders off in the distance and deer to the side of the road (alive deer in the woods, not the dead ones) and praying mantis bugs in the garage.

--Like my desire to try the unusual or creative...making a dinosaur cake from scratch for G and M's combined birthday party tomorrow for our families.

--Like my penchant for scouring the library catalog and reserving books I think would interest my kids and being willing to read them over and over and over and over until I think my brain might turn into jello.

--Like my determination to use whatever crafty talents I have to make them costumes or play backgrounds or obstacle courses.

--Like my ability to journal their growth and development and foibles and successes.

So far, there have been very few things I refuse to do.  One is dance class-associated recitals that take on a life of their own and are far more grandiose than they need be.  I did that once---won't do it again.

Any reasonable person would look at this and give themselves a break for those minor things that they aren't terribly great at as a mom.  But when has anyone ever accused me of being a reasonable person?

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