Too Many Parenting Things for One Day

Funny how I can come to the end of a day knowing I filled it with important things and yet still be buried under thoughts of how I could do better. Last weekend was one in which all my children burst open and the emotional issues which have been brewing burst forth where they must be addressed. It is actually a good process, that is how healing begins and it is much better than an extended brewing and festering. With the troubles out in the open, the problem solving portions of my brain begin to supply solutions. Most of these solutions involve me stepping up my game, doing more, being better. I’m trying to pause before implementing these solutions, because I am ever so slowly learning that I am not the sole provider of life fixes, that sometimes my proper role is to stay out of the way. Other times stepping up my game is exactly what I should do. I wish the troubles would come color coded so I could easily discern which approach to take.

An effort to step up my game is how I found myself on a Tuesday afternoon at an arcade / laser tag arena with four of my children. Link wanted to go and his trouble had to do with his wishes often being overlooked. I’ve been wanting to see the effects of exercise on Patch’s insomnia, which also seemed a good argument for making the trip. We might as well bring along Gleek, who can always use some time outside the house running around. Unfortunately what I really needed was a quiet afternoon where not much was required of me. I was worn out from un-bunking the boy’s beds and completely rearranging their bedroom (an action also sparked by emotional needs). Along with that massive effort was calling the orthodontist to commit to braces for Gleek, taking Link for his driver’s permit test, helping Kiki weather yet another head cold, fielding nine different communications from various schools regarding Valentine’s day*, realizing that I am going to miss parent teacher conferences at the high school tomorrow afternoon, and arranging for child transportation while I’m at LTUE. Yet to come are even more parenting task which lurk in the corners of my brain and will continue to do so until I can finally get them done. They are: massive reorganization of the boy’s closet so that things can be found when they are needed, cleaning the house for company, getting braces put on Gleek’s teeth, determining the progress and fate of Kiki’s wisdom teeth, having Kiki tested for allergies, a meeting with Link’s English teacher to make sure that everyone is clear about requirements, and supporting all the make up work because days where I don’t have a kid home sick have been fewer than those when I have.

My head was not exactly empty and an arcade is not exactly the sort of quiet place I prefer when I need to sort the contents of my brain. I wanted to be the drop-everything-and-play-with-the-kids mom. There were moments where I almost was her. Then I had to default into observer-mom mode, standing off to the side in a place I’d rather not be so that my kids could enjoy being there. Sadly this effort was paid for by crankiness later. At least I was able to aim my crankiness at a hapless bowl of spilled ramen rather than at any of the children.

Long day. I am tired now, which is why I’m doing my best to not listen to any of the voices in my head who are trying to give me parenting scores for today. I’ll be better able to evaluate after a full night’s sleep.

*I wish I were exaggerating about the number of Valentine’s emails, but I am not.
1 email from the Junior High asking parents to please not have Valentines sent to kids in class as it disrupts education.
3 emails of increasing urgency asking for volunteers for a medieval feast on Valentine’s day.
1 email stating that there are now enough volunteers, but donations of apple juice would be appreciated.
1 email saying they have enough juice now, thanks.
1 email asking for volunteers to help with either an activity or treats for a class Valentine’s party.
1 General email to all students at the elementary school that if they are going to bring valentines, they should bring one for every student in their class.
1 email to all high school parents asking that we not send gifts to students in their classrooms as it disrupts instructional time, also to remind us about parent teacher conferences.

I responded to none of these emails, because I’m at LTUE and unavailable to help with anything. Considering that school party planning is not my favorite thing, I’m not being able to dig up much regret except when I occasionally feel guilty that perhaps my kids would like me to be involved more.