I’ve gone on record here a few times saying I think two children is enough for us. A lot of it is because I don’t feel a need for more kids, I don’t feel like we’re incomplete. A lot of it is because I don’t know that I have it in me to take three little ones through the years of early childhood.
Being around in the parenting blogosphere means seeing mothers who are not just good at what they do but who enjoy it with every ounce of their being. I see mothers who swoon over their babies, their toddlers, their preschoolers. They do not want them to grow up. They do not want them to go to school. They want them at home, with them, all day every day.
I’ve long ago made peace with the fact that that is not me. And I’m trying my best to still be a good parent to my kids right now. People tell you things like, “You’re the best parent for your child.” They can say that, but I can’t help but think that at this stage right now with someone else they’d get more. More doting, more play, more interaction, more hugs, more everything.
It’s particularly hard now when we’re just coming off of a vacation week from school where Graham was home all the time. Tessa and I were sick, I spent days fighting off a horrific toothache, but that child and his energy were there all the time and the more I needed a break, the less likely he was to give me one. A couple of times I broke and said, “Give me some space,” which probably doesn’t mean much to a 3-year-old. He responded by getting closer and asking to sit on my lap.
I spent plenty of hours last week with Graham on my lap, which means watching Tessa from the couch and letting the mess remain as it is. It was not a clean week at our house. He wanted school, I wanted school, but we were stuck with each other and we made do.
So no, I’m not perfect. Nobody is, right? I try to tell myself that those other mothers who are so happy with their lot have their own shortcomings. We all do.
Part of what helps me feel okay with my own limitations is knowing that my day will come.
I don’t know when it will be exactly. I don’t know how it will manifest. But somewhere along the way I will find my sweet spot.
Maybe it will be helping with math homework. I am good at teaching and I miss it. Maybe it will be helping my kids find ways to learn over summer break when they have too much time on their hands.
Maybe it will be reading our way through the library together. I love books and I’ve been buying books for my kids since before I knew who their father would be. Perhaps it will be when they’re learning to read, maybe it will be a tradition for us to lay down together and read chapter books.
Maybe it will be working through the trials of teenage-dom. Maybe I will be the mother who dotes on her teenagers the way others do on their babies. Maybe I will be that mother whose teenager says she’s their best friend.
Maybe it will be something I’ll never see coming, something I never knew I had in me.
But it will be something. When my kids are grown, they will look back and think of things I did for them that meant something to them, just like I do about my mother.
I don’t know yet how it will shake out. I will have to watch them grow and do my best and wait for my moment to come. For now, I won’t turn myself into something I’m not. I will be myself, the mother I am as best I can.