Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Pursuing Failure

Remember the sunscreen!!!

I sent the kids to camp this week.  Overnight camp.  Like 4 nights and 5 days overnight camp, and for the third year in a row.  I caught my Sweetheart’s eye as Tall Girl and Sweetie Pie queued for the bus.

“Ripped right out.”  I pointed at my heart.  He nodded.

“I thought it should get easier, but it doesn’t.  The logistics do.  But this?  No.”

Why do we do this every year?  I mean they have the time of their lives and make all these friends and develop as great human beings.  But is that all worth their parents’ grey hair?  Or sleepless nights?  Come on — who wouldn’t trade a week with a Slip ‘N Slide with a bunch of cranky preschoolers, for a giggle sleepover on an island on a bug-infested lake?  I mean really.

Plus, we sent Art Girl to Taekwondo Daycamp, so I’m stuck at home auditioning next school year with the bottom three kids.  This gives me an opportunity to try out my “Why you can’t watch anymore TV” arguments.  Eventually, I know they will get bored of sitting on the couch staring at that black, matte rectangle, commanding it to light, and wander over to the kitchen table to take out their frustration on some playdough.  Until then, between that and the heat, it’s going to be a long week.

Are my children secret cave men?

Compound this with my Walk Guilt.  As I wrote last time, I’ve been trying to get back into some kind of shape after being left floundering on the carpet with back pain.  Tall Girl is now a certified babysitter, so this summer I’ve been taking the Baby in the stroller and leaving big sis in charge for 40 minutes.   Which is great for about 10 minutes, until I start feeling like the World’s Worst Mother for leaving them.  What if they are fighting?  Speaking rudely?  Just today, Big Boy demanded a pencil of me.  No, “please”, “may I”, nothing.  Is this what goes on when I’m not here?  They revert to troglodyte cave kids?  I’ll come home to grunts and people painting on the walls, eating raw meat.  It hasn’t happened yet, but maybe I’ve just been lucky.

I had thought, that once the kids were older, I would start to take some time to “do some things for myself.”  Except, I can’t seem to leave.  They’re all fine, independent, moral human beings.  But I’m a crazy woman.  I just can’t go.  I was thinking of whether I should get a job.  I can now know that unless someone is prepared to pay me to run around after my own offspring, it’s probably a no go.  Actually, it’s definitely a no go.  I always figured that some kind of worldly success was hiding inside of myself, but when I actually looked, I found someone who was happy being a failure, if it means more time with her kids.

I know that one day the girls and boy will grow up and move on and leave.  I’ll be sad/happy, but that’s part of life and that’s okay.  But I can’t rush it and still be all okay with life.  Come back soon from camp, girls.  Your Mom wants to make sure you brushed your teeth.


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3 thoughts on “Pursuing Failure

  1. Ha! Ha! Like being with our kids is a failure! I wish I was “happier” at home: it would make my life a lot more simple. It’s not the kids, it’s being a housewife that drives me nuts: I’m constantly yearning for new horizons, always feel like there’s something better out there. Well, guess what. There isn’t. I know I will sound trite but kids are the most important thing. Once you realize that, everything else takes the back seat. And you can excel at anything when anything is by definition, at least the second most important thing in your life. Excellence requires dedication, single-minded focus. So we’re all failures by way of recognizing that our families matter more than anything else.

  2. My kids are way big and I STILL get a pang at being at work instead of with them, even though I was home with them for years. The thing about letting them deal with each other (when they were younger and still today,) when I am not home is, it changes them. It changes the way they think about each other, and act around each other. Leadership and teamwork and thinking independently are all things that happen better when I wasn’t there to explain, facilitate and fix. Why else do you think Disney removes the parents from the story? They aren’t always exemplary, but they figure it out. We, who have done so much of the groundwork helping them to be moral, civilized, citizens of the world will get less credit than we deserve when they finally get out there without us, but if we are lucky, we will get so, so much satisfaction.

    Keep walking, crazy woman! Instead of thinking about those forty minutes as time you are taking for yourself, how about thinking about it as time you, as a loving parent, are GIVING them to mature? You can always help them clean up the cave when you get home.

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