Thursday, August 06, 2009

whenever I am exhausted and angry

There are moments...or days, if I am really honest, when I am crabby and not very nice to be around. The days where I look back when they are FINALLY asleep and think, "Damn, I did it again! My kids are going to remember today and think I was awful, brutal and angry." I worry at these moments that they won't realize just how much I loved them and that I am so flawed and so tired. I do so try to try my best. I have the very best of intentions and I do have to admit that at times, all that I have learned and read could not be further from how I am behaving as a mother...and that I am behaving more as an overgrown toddler.

At times, I let my self-pity drive the boat; the thing that I have always sworn I would never do...even before losing Jeff. I'll feel overwrought with exhaustion, sadness and all the unfinished things that still need attending to before I get to rest at the end of the day. I'll wonder what life would have been like had we had the chance to realize all of our hopes and potential as the family we had envisioned. I know that this is a futile and ridiculous imagining, as life is what happens. We don't get to choose or make-believe. But I do wonder. I wonder what it would have been like if I were the one who were lost. Would they have been better off? Would Jeff have handled this with more finesse and less impatience?

Although she is so young still, I worry that too much gets placed on those little shoulders. I am always saying to her, "You be the kid! Enjoy it! Let me deal with the other stuff!" When she gets angry so fast, I believe that it is my influence that has taught her to react so fast and furiously.

Oh, I hope that they turn out somewhat well-adjusted. That they will be happy. That they find love, and hope, and joy. That there lives are not only defined by the loss of their daddy and the fall-out that ensued. I hope that I am strong enough to carry them through. That I am patient and nurturing enough to foster these qualities within them for them to be patient and nurturing to themselves when they no longer need me to tie their shoes or tuck them in.

If only I could express to them the depth and breadth of my love for them. During the day, when I am overcome with all the 'need to do's, I fear that my love is not as visible as I wish it were. That somehow they may doubt it, although my heart beats steadily only for them....ONLY for them.

I took this picture only moments ago and it makes me sigh with a grin at my sweet, little princess thinking in her sleep. It also makes me sigh with sadness at all the 'would haves' and 'could haves'. I know tomorrow's another day and I can try to perfect my parenting skills again. But for tonight, I just sit here wishing I could wake them from their sleep and say, "I'm sorry, my little loves. I'll do better. I promise." And if I knew I could keep that promise indefinitely, I would go to bed with a lighter conscience and a glad heart.

I love you, my little sweets. Never, ever, ever doubt that I love you.


Angie said...

hey jackie,
i completely relate to your story. with my 7 year old son i find myself getting short tempered sometimes. and just the other day he asked me why i have my angry tone of voice. kids are so bright. but im sure your little ones do know how much you love them. they have to.

Suddenwidow said...

In the few hours I spent with you this summer, it was completely obvious how much you love your kids and what a great Mom you are. I know I have days like the ones you describe, where at the end of the night when the kids are asleep I think about what a grumpy, demanding mother I was that day and that I'm going to try and do better the next day. Somedays I do, somedays I don't. We're all trying to find our way on this grief journey and we have to take each day one at a time. You ARE doing a good job and your kids know you love them. Hope today is a good one for all three of you.

Ashley said...

I have days like that and I am not doing ths alone. Be gentle with yourself, those kids know how much you love them!

Mel said...

I can relate, too. Isn't this self-doubt a trait of all good parents?

Too frequently, I feel the appreciation and respect for my son after he's gone to sleep.

But they do know how much we love them... we shouldn't worry about that. Love is subtle, and kids are perceptive. So they get it.

I've been thinking about your 5-year plan idea. Let me first admit that I am a Super Duper Planner. I love to think about the future and create plans.

The opposite from you, but we can still be friends... :)

So I'm going to take the bold move to say I've got a little qualification to suggest a couple of thoughts for you.

First, any business planner will tell you that your 5-year plan is going to be far more vague than your 1-year or 1-month plan.

Second, your 1-year plan (or whatever timeframe suits you) should have very simple, attainable tasks. Baby steps!

Third, keep it simple :) Or you'll forget it. They say that we can only remember lists of 3. So your plan might be to do just 3 things this year that will take you closer to achieving your long term goals.

So... some random examples that I just totally made up because I have no idea what your plan would actually ential....

For example, your 5-year plan might be that you want to be more financially secure, be in a loving relationship that makes you feel good, and have a part-time job that you enjoy. (Totally making these up at random.)

Then you can break it down with more details for the next shorter period, like the next year or the next 3 months.

For example, to achieve your 5-year goal of feeling more financially secure, during the next year you might decide to pick one or two months and track your spending, then identify a couple of ways to save a little more. Or you might talk with a financial planner and get some suggestions about balancing your current funds.

To achieve your 5-year goal of being in a relationship, this year you might start to put the word on the street to your good friends that you're open to it and ask for referrals.

If this feels more overwhelming than not, then ignore everything I just wrote and do whatever feels good to you!!!

Poppy and Mei said...

You're doing it all Jackie!
You're my super Mumma model!
Like Ashley said I'm not doing this alone & I fuck it up everyday.
You're amazing & your kids know it...XXxx

Michelle said...

I can relate to your story on so many levels. You are doing a great job. Double checking ourselves is a good thing. I'm sure your children know how much they are loved. I remember my own mother expressing much of what you've expressed here. My sister and I always knew we were loved too.

Micha said...

The very fact that you wonder and worry about these things makes you a better-than-average parent by definition!

And for the rest of the time: Good enough is usually good enough... (at least that's what I tell myself when I manage to be gentle with myself :-)

nomi said...

Well I'm not doing this on my own, and I still manage to loose my temper, make bad decisions, and screw up almost every day! It's amazing that my children still look at me with that sparkle in their eyes! From what I've read in your blog from the beginning, it's very clear to me that you're doing a fantastic job of raising your babies, you're just a normal human mommy! Here's to a better day, with no grumpiness for the both of us!!

Wendy Mewhort said...

Oh, it's just SO important for our children to experience our authentic selves... ALL of our grand range of emotions, shining brightly... so that they may grow up and love themselves even when some of society says that some emotions are 'good' and some are 'bad'. It's all 'good' Jackie... your realness and honesty is what makes you such a fantastic mother... and they will be so much 'more' because of it :-)

darcie said...

I swear I could have written this post -
They know you love them ~ some days we aren't who we wanted to be that day - but all we can do is try harder and remind the little ones how much we do love them...
And then we blog so we can remind ourselves that we are not alone...

Jenn said...

Oh, your post was so so amazing Jackie. You know, we all feel this. Even though I am not going through the loss of a spouse, we have our own crappy "LIFE-HANDED US this" stuff and now we're a wreck and trying to figure it all out and be a good mom in the midst of it. And sometimes it doesn't work so well...but the kids, they KNOW your love. Your love shines through for me to see in these blog posts, and I am not even there in person. If I were, I know I'd feel your love ten-fold!! So your kiddos do too.

Bless you all~

Kate said...

Evan used to sleep like that. Like Jack Benny.

She is *such* a beauty.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jackie,

This sounds like exactly something I might have written - I may need to just link to it for my blog to save myself some typing!

My friend and I were discussing similar issues the other day and she worried that she was creating such a negative influence on her daughter when she heard her daughter mimick her exact, exasperated tone when talking to her playmate. I told her they are like our little mirrors - they speak and act so much like us only sometimes a little more exaggerated (sometimes not), and it's so hard to see these negative signs of what you do and say, but the same goes with the positive things you see in your child.

The smiles, the gentle nature, the happiness, the kindness - it all comes from you too. They are only photos, but those kids sure look to me like they are loved, and like they know it. An inner peace seems to glow from your kids.

It's always easier said than done - I could tell myself the same thing but it doesn't help matters when I loose it. Though I do find that actually telling them I am sorry when I loose it helps us all too - the girls learn from that as well.

As someone else mentioned (I think), the fact that you recognize all of this probably means that your kids are going to be fine as you probably show them so much love that there are these times you don't and are so acutely aware of it. You also plan to work on it - so don't be too hard on yourself.

Thanks, as always, for sharing - and putting it down so eloquently,

Tricia Moran said...

Oh my gosh Jackie, this was a beautiful post and I could so relate to it. I am a single Mom for much different reasons to yours, but don't very often get to give them to their Dad. It can be completely overwhelming. I find myself feeling guilt when they go to bed some days (especially recently when we lost the home we owned and have just moved into a rented place) and I am just doing so much and expecting so much of myself as a parent at the same time. Worrying about money, about their spirits being affected by all the changes in their little lives and how negative I can be at times. Somehow, deep in my heart though - I know that they know they are loved very much. I just wish I could be better at it. But the fact that you even acknowledge that you've failed some days, speaks to the fact that we are doing, striving and always giving our best, even if it's not perfect.

I think you are an amazing mother and woman and you have so much strength and love that you don't even realise. I love your blog and have been offline for some time now with the moving, but love to come back to it and you inspire me and encourage me. Your children are beautiful and they are more than loved.

Hugs and love,
Tricia :)

l said...

I have had these very same kinds of days. Somehow it helps to know others do too.