A few days ago I sat at my O.B.G.Y.N's office filled with exhaustion, guilt, physical pain and frustration. There are many things I felt guilty and exhausted for. I felt guilty for taking out my frustration on my son and I am exhausted because I am 36.5 weeks pregnant. I can’t imagine that in less than 2 weeks I am going to have my fourth child. I always wanted a large family. I always wanted to have a lot of children running around my house and making happy noises. Thoughts of freshly painted pictures covering the fridge, fingers covered in messy food, and quiet moments of prayer and reflection at the end of a day filled with hugs and laughter were ever present. I feel so far from that mother I thought I would be with all those happy noises. My son’s constant need to articulate every thought and action irritates me and the sibling rivalry is enough to make me want to sit them outside our porch with a FREE sign around their necks.
Where did I think I was going to get all that patience and loving tender care from? Most of the time inside I feel selfish and short tempered. I can’t let their need to be children override my need to be right and in control. If they cry because they are upset I have to tell them to stop. I can’t handle them crying – maybe except my middle child. I carry a lot of guilty thoughts about him around. I worry that being my only biological child right now will create a problem for my other two children later. Fifteen years ago I never imagined that being a mother entailed so much worry and guilt. I had my dream of my life as a stay at home mom to adopted and biological children well played out. I remember spending many Sunday afternoons thinking about what my life with my family in my dreams would be like. I thought I would have myself all straightened out by then. All the habits and quirks would work themselves out of my life.
As I was cleaning the kitchen sink this morning I wondered why I thought being a mother was going to be such a dream. Where did I get this idea from? It certainly wasn't from my mother. My mother came to Canada on her own when she was just 23 years old. She worked as a nanny for a while. I saw her struggle to put herself through school and take care of me at the same time. Memories of leaving my mom behind while I went on vacations with another family will always stay in my mind. She struggled to hold her fears in check but at times they spilled all over her parenting. She so desperately wanted me to have a different life. She struggled to discipline me but frustration and worry were usually friends to her discipline. I knew my mother loved me very much. I felt it in her determination and her struggles. When she failed at parenting, it was out of desperate love. When she succeeded it was out of that same desperate love. Parenting didn't strike me as coming easy for my mother. So I don't know why I thought it was going to be such a dream?. It is so much harder than I thought. I thought that I would be a pro at it. Where is the woman who was supposed to be fun and full of patience and love. Where is the woman who is firm but kind? Did I ever have the potential to be that woman?
I sit here tonight with no answers to those questions. I just have to trust that my children will know that in the end I just want to be the good part of their bad day, the good ending to a chapter in their life, the good mom who is desperate in her love for them.