enjoying your children

after the fourth grade field trip, i picked up the twins, went home and freshened up, left to pay a bill, went out for pizza, and ice cream, and then to our local small town grocer for organic fruit and granola. all, minus the filed trip, with three kids waddling behind like the little ducklings they are. after loading my herd of kids into the car, and watching to ensure that the ten year old returned the shopping cart without damage to neighboring vehicles or injury to his person i turned to get into the car. there was a lady standing by my driver’s side headlight. she said “i just wanted to tell you, it was nice to watch you enjoying your kids, that’s all”. i said thank you. but after starting the car, her heartfelt words had a moment to sink in, and they surged to my core. i looked for her and pulled up next to her parked car. i rolled down my son’s window and told her that i really appreciated her kind words. i explained that i often (and was currently in the midst of the) struggle with that very feeling and motherhood can be so “consuming” she said. she said thank you for the thank you and i left. that brief but endearing interaction made me feel really good.

i was recently reviewing my blog posts and realized that there are three major themes: parenting, mothering, and my kids. needless to say, these are the themes of my actual life. i live and breathe kids. and as with normal parenting, normal mothering, and normal kids… i sometimes wonder if i’m doing the right thing. i have been told (many times) that my children are beautiful, well behaved, and kind. my eldest was taught to hold open the door for those following him. he does it, (impressively) to a fault. we have left many establishments, only to be stuck standing outside the door because my sons chivalry won’t let him close the door if anyone is within a football field length of the exit. as often as i’ve been a little irritated, it has been immediately dismissed by the compliments given to him (and me).

tackling a day of errands with three kids in tow requires a super hero cape, a utility belt, and the kinetic power of patience. sometimes it seems like an insurmountable task, but what’s a mama to do? not shop? not pay bills? choosing to not doing anything for the good of the household is NOT an option. ya gotta do whatcha gotta do. kids need to see their parents, up, dressed, out, and active. they need to watch you interact with the world, see how you handle yourself, and listen to your words as you speak with others. you are their role model, after all.

sometimes it’s hard to find joy in the endless monotony of parenting. there are times when we need to be selfish, but the guilt of even wanting to care for ourselves outweighs the need to do so and we don’t. sometimes we need to exercise discipline and the guilt of having to be the bad guy makes us feel mean and sad. there are times when one more load of dishes or laundry might push us over the edge. the numerous spills and sticky fingerprints alone is enough to drive anyone absolutely bonkers. but in the midst of it all, the greatest good you will ever do is accomplished. the greatest good any of us can ever do is raise (and contribute to the raising of) kinder, smarter, dedicated individuals who strive for stronger faith, a larger sense of family, more empathy, greater acceptance, and peace — above anything else. the occasional compliment from a total stranger is just the fuel we need.

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