Without being overly dramatic, I feel like I live in a near constant state of fear. Fear that I’m going to forget something with or for one of our kids. That I will forget what day it is… that it’s a Tuesday so I need to meet Simon at Calvin to get Jack or that it’s a Wednesday and I need to first get Liam from school before going to get Jack from daycare. Or that they have a dentist appointment at 2:00 on Thursday so I need to get both kids earlier than normal. Or it is dress up day at daycare (I’ve already forgotten superhero day when Liam was in preschool – thank goodness for teachers with extra costumes, not to mention my own ability to think on the fly and convince Liam in the parking lot that he was dressed as Peter Parker – Spiderman’s alter ego). [That we end up anywhere at the right time with the right things is quite possibly a miracle of very small proportions.]
I also fear that my boys will look back on their childhoods and feel somehow jilted. Like they missed out because they didn’t participate in soccer or swim lessons (yes, I know children in general are over-committed, but still, when everyone else is “doing” it, they can’t help but feel like they are missing out). Like not having both parents home each night and seated around the dinner table will mean that we have let them down. Like we didn’t spend enough time together doing Quality Things because both parents also want alone time, a.k.a. “me” time and that time often comes out of family time because it’s the only time we have to spare. [Time, time, time…]
That my kids will remember all of the times I yelled and raged rather than all the hugs and kisses and times spent laughing on the couch or cuddling together in bed because the yelling is louder and the words more harsh. That they will think of their parents as angry and short-tempered (though clearly not scary enough to actually listen to us and do as we say) rather than knowing we were just tired and spent.
I’m afraid my kids are turning out spoiled simply because they are raised by two “single” parents who team up on the weekends. We give in more easily because we are both tired and too weary to have the battle – we don’t have a back-up to hold us up, in the mornings it is Simon and in the afternoons/evenings it is me and the temptation to give in wins out more often than if we were all together, all of the time. Together we might give in 2-4 times a day, separately if we both do that, our kids get their way (rather than a battle) 4-8 times per day. It’s no wonder they always try and push their lucky – statistics are on their side.
So I have fear, fear like every parent, that I’m not getting it right. That I’m doing the wrong thing, at the wrong time. Yet, each day, I keep trying. Trying to get it right. Even though I know the fear will always be there – no matter how “right” I get it. And that right is all relative because there are multiple paths to the same destination. Not to mention, it’s not really in my control to begin with, and yet, I fear and I worry. I’m not alone, right? Tell me I’m not alone. And my goodness – if you figure out how to do it right, please let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be over here, praying, because I suspect it might be the best thing I can do.