Turns out that I inherited way more than my parents’ genes.
No one ever told me that adulthood was basically the equivalent of becoming your parents’ successors. No one ever said that adulting would consist of taking over the (extremely difficult endeavor of) parenting your own freaking self. Like NEVER.
Don’t rush to grow old, they said. Enjoy right now, they warned me.
Specifics, people. Details would have been useful here, although I’m not too sure my teenage-self would have believed that adulting meant parenting one’s self. But at least I’d feel less bamboozled. Hear me out as this is just a theory.
But not once did anyone ever reveal to me that adulthood meant that I had to literally take up the job of raising myself. For some reason, my adolescent brain assumed that life as an adult would be a piece of cake; it was supposed to be the adventure of my life with freedom teeming from my reckless mouth. Me basking in pure sovereignty was how I surely pictured it.
I want to make this crystal clear though. I’m not blaming my parents for any lack of education (although I’m probably subconsciously doing so). I’m simply expressing a point that I think gets lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
So, here I am. Not only raising myself, but a 3 and 6-year-old too.
So, to them, I beg; don’t be too hard on your dear old Ma.
We’re literally growing up at the same time; just at different stages of our lives. But I’m no more “finished growing,” than you are.
I’m still evolving, and anytime you throw growth in the mix, you’re going to have a lot of fuck ups. A lot of I’m sorry’s and a lot of admitting that I was wrong.
I guess you can’t really grow when everything is simple and predictable. Those growing pains manifest with a shitload of late nights, convincing sugared-up kiddos that sleep really is good for them. It even blooms on playgrounds where meltdowns occur in front of the whole neighborhood just because your little ones feel that 2 hours sliding down the same slide could never be enough.
And growth even sprouts on those evenings when you’re just too tired to parent yourself, so a good cry on a bed full of unfolded laundry will just have to do.
If anyone has a manual, or at least some insight into how to parent yourself and two kids at the same time, please find it in yourself to find your way into my inbox. You’d be greatly appreciated.
But you do know what the old folks say, don’t you?
If God brings you to it, she’ll bring you through it, they’ve preached.
So, maybe I’m not quite destined for failure at parenting if this great assignment was added in my soul’s “assignment queue” before I hit another round of life here on Earth. Who really knows?
Sometimes, the feeling of being a failure at parenting can come sneaking in the back door, prepared to steal any joy and feelings of adequacy that the present moment were so ready to bestow upon me.
But nope. That darn failure comes creeping in silently, but as swift as a bat out of hell, as my grandmother would say. I’m working on eliminating its presence from my life while simultaneously accepting the fact that I am indeed a human being.
Super Mom certainly doesn’t live here full time. She comes and goes, as she has to balance her time between Mommyhood and chasing after her dreams.
I know I’m not the only one who can’t always muster up the energy to be super mom or to invoke her very much-needed presence in my life.
But I’ve come to realize, that sometimes, fully embodying this supermom archetype means surrendering to motherhood in all her messy, break-me-down-and-build-me-right-back-up-again glory. Down on both knees, hands up in the sky, full on surrender to the motherhood gods.
The irony? Surrender has been the easiest on my poor, old soul. By surrendering, I’m able to relax and ease up a little. The public tantrums aren’t so intimidating and the whining ceases when your kids realize that Mommy has won just by throwing up the white flag to control and perfection.
In the grand scheme of things, my insecurities as a mother hasn’t consumed me despite them feeling as if they have. I sleep perfectly well at night. But the fact is that when I take a look at my kids, it feels as if a light has just been turned on. Like the house feel warms again, like it’s Christmas Day every day. It feels like a love that has never been experienced before in the history of Brittany. It feels new each time.
And although this mostly occurs when the kids aren’t howling out “Mommy” as if they’re trying to break some world record, I’ve come to appreciate those moments, nonetheless.
These little extensions of me seem to be insane alchemists. They can shift my mood in a matter of milliseconds.
So, parenting success is possible. But got damnit, it’s subjective! And all I really have to do is to clearly define my idea of parenting success while I continue to raise myself up at the same time.
Just think of that. Me succeeding at raising three people at the same time. That’s something to really be proud of.