As I've written before it's taken me a long time to learn to like being a parent. I feel that with Katherine I've been given a third chance to get it right, to do better, to allow myself to love deeply and unconditionally, and to mess up and try again. Today's post is a look at something taboo in parenting; the desire for your kid grow up.
My son, Gabriel, is now six years old and a busy, curious, stubborn, kind and often frustrating boy. He chaffes under the restrictions of being only six and is in a big hurry to grow up. Sometimes I wish he would. Some mornings I wish he was big enough to walk himself to school. Some nights I wish he would just go to sleep without needing to be herded through the nightly routine of brushing teeth, pajamas, story and 'snuggle buggles', which is our term for being tucked in. It comes from my mother, who used to tuck me in 'as snug as a bug in a rug'. It became shortened to me snuggling Gabe in and saying 'snuggle buggles!' and making him laugh, and the term just stuck.
Most of the time I love that Gabe is little but sometimes I don't. Some days playing the same game for the 10th time is wearing. Constantly having to remind him of his please and thank-yous is frustrating. Balancing him with his sister and the house isn't easy and I'm ashamed to admit I really love that he's in school all day; I dread long weekends and holidays because it means he's home so much more. The time after school until Ryan gets off work is the most trying, especially now with the terrible weather which means we can't stay at the park and play like we were before the rain came.
I get it now why my parents weren't keen on babysitting when we were still living back East, why my mom laughed when I offered her extra baby stuff to keep at the house incase Gabe slept over, their reluctance to take time out of their lives and essentially be parents again, even just sometimes. My dad explained it to me once but I didn't get it until just recently with Katherine's birth. He and my mom are nearly sixty, and they've spent their whole lives until Wendy and I moved out (about 10 years ago now since I left) doing everything I'm doing, and more. This is *their* time now, their time to be together in a way they haven't been able to do since my sister was born, to hang out with their friends, to go four-wheeling, have pot-luck parties and travel to Mexico or Costa Rica. To do nothing or anything whenever they want. They've done their duty and done it well in raising me and my sister.
I get it, I really do, because now I'm looking forward sometimes to having Ryan all to myself, or just ME all to myself. To do nothing or go visit or whatever and not have to worry about someone else's time table. To be free in a way that I was before the kids were born but I didn't appreciate then. It's taken a while but I enjoy being a parent and I'm grateful every day to be here and to do this marvelous thing, especially since Katherine's birth put a lot of things into perspective. Still, some days, some times, I look forward to when Gabe and Kat are independent beings in their own right, with homes of their own. I'm careful though not to look forward too much so as to not miss the present.
- How Do You Like Yourself? — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about teaching her children likability.
- Learning to Like and Love — JeninCanada at Fat and Not Afraid divulges the long journey it's been to learn to love, then like, her son.
- I hated my three year old — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about how much trouble she had dealing with her 3 year old.
- Love vs Like: How to Deal With Not Liking Your Kid — Amy at Presence Parenting explores an approach to loving what we dislike the most about our kids.
- You Can Love Someone and Not Like What They Do — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children reminds herself, just as she reminds her children, that unconditional love is not dependent on liking what a person does.
- Maternal ambivalence … and why it's ok — Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses how we can't live up to the "maternal ideal" as much as we — and our babies — might want us to.
- Miracles into Monsters and Back Again — Amy W at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work processes the pain and hidden beauty of a gentle mother's greatest weakness - when little miracles act like little monsters!
- When Mothers Love But Don’t Like Their Children — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama muses on the deeper meaning behind loving but not liking one's child. She argues that a mother never stops loving or liking her child. In fact, the dislike is rooted in the behavior and not the person.
- I love her, but... GRR — Jorje of Momma Jorje vents a bit about annoying behavior, but loves her children... even when they drive her nuts!