Things I needed to hear(read)

(I think all parents will benefit from these writings, but if you'd like them without my babbling commentary, I'll provide the links up here:  One & Two)

I apologize for the lack of updating.  Recapping the trip to KS has been a daunting task.  Top that with my iPhoto being completely screwed up - I've spent so much time trying to get it cleaned up and reorganized that I still haven't downloaded the pictures I've taken. 

And T went on another TDY (temporary duty).  Which I don't talk about before or during it happening because the sharing of dates and other such details on social media is frowned upon for anything relating to his mission.  Even if it's just stupid bonus training in network communication stuff. 

But it was during that TDY that I feel the most tired and overwhelmed.  In comparison to most, it's short.  But with our friends deployed or deploying soon I couldn't help but  agonize over my struggles during this brief stint with single parenting and how deployments are 8 times as long. 

This the 2nd of what was to be 4 courses, but now it's looking like he'll only have to go on one more.  So I did it in April.  My memory shouldn't be that bad.  But it is.  I had every intention of using my evenings to write posts.  But in reality after being busy all day to help pass the time and tire out the babies, dinner, baths & bed for both followed by cleaning up the toys and dishes all I did was flop on the couch and have a threesome with my wine glass & the remote.  

So during this time, feeling like a failure - you want to only eat waffles? sure; watch 2 hours of TV? whatever as long as you're not whining at me; not keeping my cool during tantrums - I found two writings which were much needed.  

The first, written by a blogger dad.  I've brought out some excerpts, but the whole thing is worth a read.  The bold emphasis is mine.

We know it’s true that they grow up too fast. But feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn’t feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long. Not every moment is enjoyable as a parent; it wasn’t for you, and it isn’t for me.
 If you are a parent of small children, you know that there are moments of spectacular delight, and you can’t believe you get to be around these little people. But let me be the one who says the following things out loud:
 You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out a way for your children to eat as healthy as your friend’s children do
You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out how to calmly give them appropriate consequences in real time for every single act of terrorism that they so creatively devise.
You are not a terrible parent if you’d rather be at work.
You are not a terrible parent if you just can’t wait for them to go to bed.
You are not a terrible parent if the sound of their voices sometimes makes you want to drink and never stop.
You’re not a terrible parent.
 You’re an actual parent with limits. You cannot do it all. We all need to admit that one of the casualties specific to our information saturated culture is that we have sky-scraper standards for parenting, where we feel like we’re failing horribly if we feed our children chicken nuggets and we let them watch TV in the morning.

So the next time you see your friends with small children with that foggy and desperate look in their eyes, order them a pizza and send it to their house that night. . .  Put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they’re doing a good job. Just don’t freak out if they start weeping uncontrollably. Most of the time, we feel like we’re botching the whole deal and our kids will turn into horrible criminals who hate us and will never want to be around us when they’re older.

The next is an open letter type post to we less than perfect moms.   Again, just a few pasages highlighted, bolding for my emphasis.
I don't know if you planned to be a parent or not. . . But I know a lot about you.
I know that you didn't get everything that you wanted. I know that you got a wealth of things you never knew you wanted until they were there in front of you. I know that you don't believe that you're doing your best, that you think you can do better. I know you are doing better than you think.

I know you didn't expect most of this. I know you didn't anticipate loving somebody so intensely, or loathing your post-baby body so much, or being so tired or being the mom you've turned out to be.

You're not a perfect mom. No matter how you try, no matter what you do. You will never be a perfect mom.
And maybe that haunts you. Or maybe you've made peace with it. Or maybe it was never a problem to begin with.
No matter how much you do, there is always more. No matter how little you do, when the day is over, your children are still loved. They still smile at you, believing you have magical powers to fix almost anything. No matter what happened at work, or at school, or in playgroup, you have still done everything in your power to ensure that the next morning will dawn and your children will be as happy, healthy, and wise as could possibly be hoped.

No matter how far from perfect you are, you are better than you think.
And since no mother is perfect, chances are you are caught in a two billion way tie for Best Mom in the World.
Congratulations, Best Mom in the World. You're not perfect.
You are as good as anybody can get.

I think these things are great references for any parent, in any situation, at any time.  But it really hits me personally during my husband's absences.  During those times when I especially feel like giving up.  And I can't remember the last time I played happily (and not begrudgingly) along side my kids.  When they've watched TV or had the iPad for quite a bit of time multiple days in a row.  When I hate myself for making those choices, but feeling guilty about it takes less energy than doing something about it. 

And I hope it helps my friends who are at their wit's end feeling like the worst.  Who get on Pinterest and Facebook and lose hope.  Because for a minute you felt successful and triumphant that your kids were dressed before lunch and then you see an old college acquaintance who has made cookies, made perfect crafts, in a spotless kitchen before 9am and she has more kids than you do. 

And I'm stepping off my soapbox now.  I just needed to be reminded of these things by people who don't even know me, and especially don't love me.  Because friends & family are awesome.  But of course they're going to tell you that you don't suck. 


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