Tuesday, September 01, 2009

stream of consciousness

Sometimes I feel like I'm not very good at this job.

I mean, I know I am pretty proficient at the tasks associated with mothering small children. My kids are clean (most of the time), their clothes are clean and pressed, their beds get made, their teeth get brushed, they are served warm, healthy meals. I make medical and dental appointments and take the children to them, and I usually even remember to take something along to keep them occupied in the waiting room. They have safe car seats, lots of toys, limited exposure to television (other than PBS), and are encouraged to use their minds and hands creatively.

It's the other stuff I'm not sure about. The stuff that makes me feel like I'm not old enough to handle this job - things like calling up a neighbor or ringing a doorbell to ask if their little girl(s) would like to play with Daughter. I am not about to send my own child into the home of someone I've only just met, nor do I expect one of them to send their child(ren) here to play. But I can't sit outside all afternoon to keep an eye on Daughter and one or more children, either, because of AJ's schedule and needs. We don't have a sandbox or swingset yet, nor do our next-door neighbors (who have a 5 year-old girl). I'm not even that good at making friends for myself...how do I help my Daughter to do so?

I can't even get us off the stupid couch in the morning. How's that for sad? We're prone to slouching around in our pajamas for several hours because AJ has to complete his feeding and then take a nap anyway, so it's not like we're going to go out.

I don't have a whole lot of energy. I tend to get my tasks done and then don't feel like doing much.

And I just sort of always feel like there's something I don't know, but the other moms do. Like I'm...behind, or something. Am I the only one? No matter who is around, I feel young and inexperienced and left out. Is there some secret to feeling like a confident mom? If there is I certainly don't know it. There are times when I sit on the couch and look at my kids and think, what am I supposed to be doing with these children?

We have a playdate scheduled for next week with a girl I went to high school with. We weren't super-best friends, but that was a long time ago. I'm actually quite excited about this - getting out of the house! Talking to someone my age! Having a kid for Daughter to interact with! (He is 2 and 1/2 but that's better than nothing.)

I read a lot of what I call "pretty blogs." They are the blogs of the moms who have a really nice camera and they seem always to be capturing the beauty in life. With their kids! And often their husbands! And I am so, so, so jealous of them. I have major lifestyle envy when I read and look at their lovely photos. These women are my age, or often even a bit younger, and many of them have more children than I do, but they seem to have it so...together. And I realize that a blog post is just a snapshot, in the same way that a photo spread in Better Homes & Gardens magazine is not truly what anyone's house looks like, but still...in the aggregate? These women have prettier lives than I do and I am jealous! I want to take my kids out to the places I see on the pretty blogs. I want to pick fruit with my kids, and cut flowers to put in mason jars, and sew adorable useful items out of vintage linens, and bake bread and go hiking and camping and get together with my like-minded bloggy friends and HAVE A PRETTY LIFE, DAMMIT! (Except for that camping part...don't know why I said that, because I never want to go camping.)

The point is that they DO STUFF. With their kids. Their well-adjusted, active, curious kids. I don't get the impression they sit around all morning watching PBS. Or maybe they do! After all, a blog is just a snapshot. Right?

I could do all this stuff, I guess. I could. I just don't know exactly how to go about it. My son puts me in an interesting and awkward position. He's a year old tomorrow...starting to push back against morning nap, so yesterday we blew it off to run some errands. By early afternoon he was a wreck, his therapy session was useless, and he crashed for almost 4 hours. Feeding him, as I've mentioned, is a bit of a task and not an easy thing to do outside of our home, and frankly, we have to be home every afternoon because of therapy. How do I make us a prettier life? How do I get us UP and OUT?

I keep telling myself "next summer" - AJ will be 18 months+, walking, I assume, and will need fewer naps and hopefully less therapy. But next summer is next summer. It is not now. This precious time with my little girl is fleeting, and it is going by so fast. I am keeping her home with me this winter, and I fear it will become just wasted time if I'm not very, very careful.

What to do? What to do?

I have to get myself up. I have to turn off the TV. I have to do this. Just not sure how.


Louise said...

I don't have all of the challenges that you do, but I can definitely relate to many of your frustrations. Other peoples' blogs often make me feel inadequate, too.

This week, I decided that I need to join some mothers' groups, to make more of an effort to make friends for me and for my son. Just researching them made me feel better-- just knowing that the options were out there, you know?

Maybe there are some groups in your area?

From what I can see here, I personally think you're doing a wonderful job!

Pam said...

Kate - you are soooo not alone in this! I am well known as "pajama mama":)

Seriously, I could have written this post. My life isn't always pretty either. The only camping trip we took this year was in our front room. We set up the tent and camped out in our house. And let me just say - BEST CAMPING TRIP EVER!!!

I wish I had some amazing words of wisdom to make you feel better but really, just know that you aren't the only mom that struggles with this. If there was a postcard that depicted our life it definitely wouldn't be found in Better Homes and Gardens. I'm thinking more along the lines of MAD magazine ;-)

Mrs Lemon said...

We all see something we're lacking in as someone else's strength. Look at what all you do for your kids that no one else can do :)

Plus - you knit. How cool is that? Somehow I keep adding an extra stitch in, fumbling along, while you have sweaters and socks and CLOTHES made out of a single strand of yarn and a couple of sticks.

Shari said...

Please don't feel like you are the only one, I think most mom's struggle with this.

The confidence part comes with experience, after raising my three plus 20 something foster kids, I can honestly say I feel pretty confident when it comes to small children. Teenagers are a whole other story though, definately feel like I am drowning when it comes to them.

Enjoy your time with Daughter because once school starts her social life will take off and the scheduling will most likely make you envious of these calmer more peaceful days.

Amy said...

Hi. I just found your blog and this post really resonated with me. I feel like this quite frequently and I have to remind myself that I can't compare myself to others, that everybody's situation is different. Especially if they have fewer children, or more children (meaning that they have some older kids that help), more money, or help from more family and friends. Not to mention if they've been raised by a mother that prepared them for motherhood.

There's a fine line between floating by in mediocrity and taking things easy and enjoying your children. But then again, we don't want to become overly stressed neurotic mommies that don't enjoy life either.

Besides, sometimes pretty can be pretty ugly on the inside. Just asking these questions tells me that you're probably doing a fine job for the season you are in.