Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Parenting with doubts and worries.

When Did I Get Like This? The Screamer, The Worrier, The Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer & Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be.

I'm reading this book. I got it from the library yesterday, and today I'm a little over halfway through (thanks to Greg's late night meeting). After reading the title, I knew I had to read the book.

You see, I swore I'd never be the dirty car seat and stroller mother. You know the ones: cheerios and crumbs in every possible nook and cranny of their kid's car seat. It's not that I thought less of those parents, certainly they had reasons for not cleaning out their kid's seat. I just wasn't going to be one of them.

I did pretty well when it was just Elisa. One of my friends even commented, "My daughter has the same car seat as yours, but Elisa's looks so... clean!"

Fast forward 2 years, and yep, you guessed it. I am now a card carrying member of the Dirty Car Seat Club (well okay, that last part is made up... certainly if I had time to join a club, I'd have time to clean out the car seat.) Once I accidentally smashed a banana between the infant seat and the seat base. By the time I finally took the base out of the car to try and clean it, it wouldn't come clean any longer. Or maybe I just gave up too easily. I guess we'll never know, because unless some astonishing change happens (nesting instincts in the final days before our next child is born perhaps?), I will not be cleaning the car seat base.

Honestly, it doesn't bother me that I've become this mother. The cleanliness of the car seats is really the least of my concern these days. But there are other things that really do bother me. Am I spending enough time with Jonathan alone? Am I giving him enough attention? After all, shouldn't he be talking by now? Is it normal for older siblings to feel so jealous of younger siblings that they continually refer to themselves and demand that you refer to them as "the baby"? Are they getting enough vegetables? Enough flouride? Enough exercise? Are they under-socialized since I stay home with them? The questions go on and on. Don't get me wrong. I know I'm a good mom... just in the way that most moms are good moms: I love my kids. I spend time with my kids. I do what I think is best for them in the long run. But I know that a lot is riding on my decisions... and so I'm constantly trying to be the best mom I can be. And sometimes, fears and doubts creep in. Am I doing enough? Am I enough?

And yet, my children continue to grow and thrive. They may end up in therapy someday, lamenting that their mother was a constant worrywart, who never cleaned out the car. But for now, they are blissfully unaware of my doubts, fears, and shortcomings. A hug from Mommy is enough to calm crying, and a kiss from Mommy has magical healing power. Someday Mommy's hugs and kisses won't be enough. But when my kids get to that day, I know that God will meet them there... and He will be enough. So today I find comfort in the fact that we are all imperfect parents who do our best and let our perfect Heavenly Father do the rest.


Denee Longan said...

Thank you, Carolyn. This is very well said.

Cassidy said...

This is excellent. I feel like you took the words straight out of my mouth and heart! Well, just heart. My mouth doesn't speak many such eloquent words these days. : ) Love you!