On any given weekday, it pains me to admit that I don’t spend a tremendous amount of quality time with my kids.
We’re usually awake by 7:30 or so and out the door between 8:30 and 9. That hour is spent getting dressed, getting breakfast, getting shoes together, etc. Not a whole lot of time for snuggles. (Sometimes they do sneak into bed with me in the middle of the night, which means extra snuggle-time early in the morning, which is lovely. It’s probably one of the reasons why I haven’t put my foot down to break them of this habit.)
Now what’s the catch-22? Typically, the kids are so desperate for my attention when we are together that they resort to whining and crying and just generally being awful in order to get that attention. Surprising absolutely no one, that kind of behavior only annoys the shit out of me and makes me irritable. Which means I’m short-tempered. Which does absolutely nothing for my ability to properly deal with their whiny behavior. Which means it only gets worse. Which makes me tell them to just leavemealone! And the cycle starts again.
But ultimately, I have no choice. I have to usher them out the door in the morning. I have to go to work. I have to go to the gym. (Ok, I don’t HAVE to go to the gym, but if I don’t, I’m irritable anyway and that does no one any good.) I could keep them up a little later in the evenings, but an overtired child is a nightmare as well, so that’s definitely not an option.
It’s a really difficult balance. I love my kids. I love spending time with my kids. But not when they’re acting like jerks. But they’re only acting like jerks because I’m not spending time with them. Aaaand we’re back to talking about that damn cycle again…
Sometimes it’s terribly overwhelming. When L asks “Mama, do you still love me when you’re mad at me?” or when Q exclaims “You hurt my feelings!” I feel like I’m the absolute worst mother in the world and that I just don’t even deserve these two sweet, amazing kids.
But then, sometimes, in those few fleeting moments we can squeeze out together, when Q drapes her arm around my neck and says “Mama, I love you so much and you’re pretty” or L says “Mama, I love you right in the middle of my heart,” I realize it’s really ok because I’m doing the best that I can.
Everything I’m doing, I’m doing for them. Even when I’m finding time for me, it’s for them, because I need to be the best person I can be in order to be the best mother I can be. And while they may not get it right now, and it may make things really difficult sometimes, they will get it someday.