Children

First and foremost, I love my kids. I don't want anyone to doubt that.

That having been said......

I don't find motherhood fulfilling. It's a lot of damn hard work. And it's a huge confrontation with everything that I don't seem to be.
Patient
Loving
Capable of setting boundaries
Disciplined

I find being at home with the kids to be a huge challenge. I often tell people I'm not an earth mother. And by that I mean that raising kids does not in any way come naturally to me. I DO NOT for the life of me understand how people can stay at home all day with kids and find it fulfilling. I find it draining.

I'm most at peace with my kids when I see them enjoying themselves without me. I love to see them at play, or in laughing conversation with others. I love sitting on the sidelines watching them do their thing. My heart jumps with pride when I see Tristan on the soccer field, or Marinda on the dance floor. I love to see them bloom and grow as seperate individuals, each in their own special way. And I love that they are a part of me that I get to see grow up!

What drains me is the constant effort that is needed to decide whether something is right or wrong, whether I should say yes or no, now or later, whether I should hug them or spank them.
Raising kids to me is being in a position of continually having to question myself.
What will we eat for dinner? Let's see, he likes this, she likes that. Last time we ate what he wanted, now I should pay more attention to what she wants. On the other hand, they should just eat what I serve.
Clean clothes? Do I or do I not pick up their laundry? Surely Marinda is old enough to wash her own clothes. But it's such a hassle, let me just do it. But then she'll never learn. Do I or do I not fold their clothes? Or just thrown them in a pile in her room? Should I or should I not clean their bedrooms? Should I should I not have that chat? Because it's past bedtime.. on the other hand, they're talking, that should be important too. Should I let them finish watching that tv program? They need their sleep, but they need to relax as well.
Do I or do I not ......Should I or should I not...

It's like a continual cycle of doubt and recrimination. Either recrimination of theirs, because they want things differently, or recrimination of mine, because I should have done things differently.

This continual questioning of myself, of the kids, wears me down, drains me, sucks the life right out of me.

That's why I work. Because work is as clear as a bell. My job, my responsibility. You don't like it? You can shove it. And that energizes me. Enough to give me the boost I need to cope with the endless questions I ask myself as I attempt to raise my kids.

7 reacties:

Dori said...

You know, for the longest time I was just waiting for the "mommy" instinct to kick in and it never did. The instinct to protect my children is there, but everything else? I'm just winging it. Being a mom isn't something that comes naturally to me--I never babysat or really played with dolls. When Sean asks questions about stuff I usually answer that he's been a parent as long as I have! I constantly question everything! I see other stay-at-home moms who just seem to have it all together and I secretly hate them--okay, hate is really strong, but I really don't like them! But my children are happy, healthy and fairly well adjusted!

Anyway...now that I've highjacked your comment section...just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in your feelings. And that you're normal (and healthy)because that means that I'm normal too!

Hang in there and happily wave as your children leave for school!

Melanie said...

Marit, I love my kids as well - and even want more, but if I wasn't working I really think I would go insane. Working gives me structure and routine and recognition that mothering just does not (considering my relationship with my own mom, maybe never will). I don't have very many relationships with those great stay-at-home moms because I just can't relate and don't really want to. I would feel completely isolated if I didn't have something to do on the side that speaks to my adult soul. Maybe at some point it won't be my job - but it will be something besides being a wife and mother. I need my identity to have more dimensions than just those two things.

I will end this on a petty, shallow note. One of the tasks of mothering that I hate most is cleaning my kitchen floors. It just kills me to get down on my hands and knees and scrub off the days of caked on gunk that preschoolers toss down there - only to have them come in less than 3 hours later and mess it all up again. Work isn't like that for me. I finish a project and go onto the next one leaving the first one intact and still of some value. Cleaning, while obviously vital, just seems like a complete waste of time.

Zan said...

You're not alone in what you're feeling. Being a parent is very very scary. But look at what you, as a mother, have achieved. You have two beautiful, healthy and happy children which speaks for itself, you've done brilliant so far! I don't think the answers ever come, you just have to choose one of the many answers that may pop up and stick with it. Even if you may not feel it, you're doing great and I can tell you, there's an awful lot of kids in the world that would love to have a Mom like YOU!! :)

Francine said...

You know what? The very fact that you question your decisions while raising them, is what makes you a good mom.

elizabeth said...

I LOVE your writing/blog. I am in the Netherlands for a year (I'd love you to email me)

I am an older mama (have two olders too) and am BORED BORED BORED staying home. My hub just does not understand. When we return home I will go back to work, and my child will have some part time (out of home) care. I need adults!

I could comment on ALL your posts of late, as I relate to so much of what you are writing. I write at Livejournal.

Regards,
elizabeth

Elise said...

Elizabeth, I couldn't find your blog, somehow your profile doesn't make the right link.
Let me know your adres,and feel free to e-mail me at marit . brandsma @ gmail . com (remove the spaces and you'll have my adres!).

Thanks for your comment! I love hearing from new readers :-)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This was a great post.

For me, mothering is fulfilling and does use the skills I'm good at, but I can totally see where you're coming from.

Have you ever tried actually writing out what you want your boundaries, standards, and discipline methods to be (with your husband)? Maybe if you think it out ahead of time it won't be so draining on a daily basis.

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