Sunday, 1 November 2015

Saying "No" to Super Mom

    So I am sure that you have noticed that my blog has been sporadic at best.  My life has been crazy, so crazy that there is very little time for the things that I love, with the exception of the kids that is.  I'm not sure where all of the time goes, but it just seems to slip away between my fingers.
    This September Grace, our oldest daughter began high school.  I was sad that little blonde girl who it seemed had just started junior kindergarten was now a minor niner.  The school she is in is fantastic, it gives her so many opportunities, opportunities that I would have died for at her age.  It is not a high school however that has a direct bus route, because it is a specialty program that is not in the high school that children from our area are supposed to be in.  We knew at the time that this was the case, and this was an opportunity that Christopher and I were willing to sacrifice for.  We would drive her the 45 minutes one way in the morning and return for her in the afternoon.  We were lucky that a bus could pick her up 15 minutes away.  That being said, it is still a lot of extra gas, and a lot of time for me in the car. 
    I have always considered motherhood a calling.  For me it was very important to be the very best at it that I could be.  I do the extra things that give my children opportunities that I did not have.  I do the extra things that make their childhood the best that I can give them.  This is the way I feel.  To some this may seem admirable, but insane, and I can't argue with you on that.  Some of you may be reacting with disgust that I am only trying to make the rest of the other mothers feel inferior.  The thing is that my life motto is "Go big or Go home".  I am not a half in type of person.  I throw myself into things that I feel passionately about, and I feel passionately about being a mother.  I will not pretend that I have not had some pretty epic failures in motherhood, and I will not lie to you and pretend that there are some things that I would give almost anything for a do over on.  I love being a mother, and could not have asked for a more rewarding or difficult career.
    To me it is important to give the kids opportunities to grow and learn.  The problem with that is that there are four kids, each with extra curricular activities that they love and / or are desperate to try.  Riley really wanted to try acro dance, loves her jazz band and her guitar lessons, so they were also important.  Rowan loves jazz band and really wanted to try hockey this year... that's not too much to ask.  Elly really enjoyed her figure skating last year, and this year she was desperate to try gymnastics.  Grace is passionate about her piano lessons and part of her vocal music program has a requirement that she also take part in the school choir.  Our week is insane.  Add into all the extra curricular,  driving Grace back and forth to her bus stop, and the few times she has missed her bus and I have had to drive the 45 minutes to pick her up at school, or drive her there in the morning.  Her school day begins at 8:03 am, she catches her bus at 7:18 am, that means that she should be up and getting ready at 5:00 am, and that means that Christopher or I are up with her in the mornings.
    The busy schedule of the kids does not leave very much time for Christopher and I.  To be honest, I'm not sure how parents who both have jobs manage.  We have one person working and there are times that I feel like I am drowning with the amount of extra work this year has brought.  Because the week is so full, I try not to schedule anything for the week-ends because if I didn't I know that I would burn out. 
    This week I had a breakthrough of sorts, a reality check that may have saved my sanity or what is left of it.  You may recall my saying that I am a "Go big or Go home" person.  This is especially true for holidays.  For Halloween I usually sew the kids costumes, decorate the house inside and make elaborate cakes for the kids classes.  On top of all of that Christopher and I have prided ourselves on having the spookiest house in the village.  We put hours into decorating the yard.  This Halloween I had the insanity of our new reality and add to that Grace's play which saw us driving her around a lot.  Friday morning I was having a bit of a panic attack.  I had committed to going into the school and doing lice checks (don't even ask) for the morning.  I had also promised the kids that I would bake and decorate cup cakes for their class, this included driving some to Belleville for Grace.  I still also had to finish making all three costumes, and decorate the yard.  Most sane people would just decide that it wasn't worth having a nervous break down to do all of that.  The thing is I didn't want to let the kids down.  I had always done all of those things for the kids.  Again, I know that that this next statement will have most of you shaking your head at my stupidity, and that's ok.  I could feel a panic attack coming on.  There was to much that I needed to do.  It was then it hit me I didn't really "need" to do any of it.  The world would not end if the kids for one holiday did not take a home made treat for their class.  There would be no apocalypse if the yard was not decorated or wasn't the scariest  house around.  It was that sane group of thoughts that allowed me take a deep breath for the first time since school started.  No one has ever died of disappointment.  When I took a step back from the self made insanity, I could see that the kids would be disappointed that everything they had come to expect would not happen, but they would be more traumatized if their mom had a nervous breakdown.
    It seems so funny to say that that reality check gave me peace.  It put life into perspective.  Being the best mother that I can be does not mean that I have to give it all away.  Sometimes it's alright to give myself permission to not have to live up to the unrealistic expectations that I have set for myself.  Not doing "it all" does not make me a failure as a mom, it makes me smart.  So I went into the school and did head lice checks ... yuck, I then drove into Belleville bought cupcakes and delivered some to Grace, and then brought some to the other kids.  I finished the kids costumes and let Christopher and the kids decorate the house.  Funny thing, the world did not end.