I ran into a friend of mine at Christmas time, in the drug store. I was picking up some last minute things, and she was there making prints of her kids Christmas photo. She has four children. Two boys, and two girls. All under the age of 6. She is extremely religious, and speaks non-stop of God. I think that is why I let our friendship sort of fade away. I just couldn't listen to every other sentence peppered with talk of Jesus, and the Blessed Mother. It was too much, and some days, I felt myself pretending to be more religious than I am, just for the sake of conversation.
She home schools her kids. All of them. Ironically, they live right across the street from one of the quaintest looking, elementary schools you have ever seen. It is on a tree lined street, filled with old homes. I often think that it must be torturous for those kids, when all of the children are out and playing on the jungle gyms at recess, and they are in their house with their siblings.
I asked her if she was still home schooling. She smiled, and said she was. I said that I didn't know how she did it. How she could spend day and night with her kids, and be their teacher as well. She replied, "I just couldn't imagine being away from them". I left our conversation with hugs, and promises to call. I walked to my car, and strapped Molly into her car seat, and felt bad about myself. I felt like something was wrong with me. I felt like maybe I was missing something. Maybe I didn't love my children enough. Maybe I never should have had any of them, since they seem to annoy me a lot. Was I not supposed to be a mother?
I put it out of my mind. I disregarded the thought. But every now and then, mostly at those moments that I just don't want to be around my kids for another second, I thought that my patience and my ability to really be nurturing are just not always functioning at full power. They seem to run hot and cold. It makes me sad for my kids. It makes me feel terrible as a mother. It makes me want to change myself so much, but I find it impossible to do so. I just can't fake it.
Some days, I go to bed, and give myself a gold star, and a pat on the back because I had some pretty good moments with the girls. Some days, I feel like I don't suck, and that my girls will never hear the dreaded Darth Vader sigh out of me. Some days, I go to bed and hear Olivia's voice in my head, recounting a story from her day, and in the middle of it, asking me if she is bothering me. She can tell. She can see the scowl.
These few snow days have been tough, here, all stuck at home together. They have been long. I find myself looking at the clock after dinner, and really looking forward to their bed time. And then there are the moments that make me wonder why they all love me so. Why they want to be close to me. Why they look to me for approval. My job here, tending to them all is so overwhelming at times. The damage I could so easily do, just with a glance or a sigh, is irreversible. I wish I could be supermom. I wish I could be that mother that wants to home school them, because I don't want to be away from them. Or at least find some more patience. I would take that. Some more patience.
Olivia just wished me a Happy Chinese New Year. I suppose before they leave today, we should celebrate it.
Time to make myself snap out of it.