Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Enough IS enough.


Last Friday I took Kiddo out for the evening. Mario was stuck at the Denver airport and it was 90 degrees outside, so an outing fit the bill. I bought him a pretzel dog and searched store after store for the perfect shorts. He was just bummed we didn't visit the Apple store.

I took him out to his favorite dinner. We made a stop for ice cream. We bought some of his favorite foods at Trader Joe's. Overall it was a great evening of bonding with my favorite young man. Almost home, he said suddenly, "Mom, I'm really disappointed we didn't go to the rock climbing place."

That, you could say, was the straw that broke this mama's back. I was a bit crestfallen. I'd worked so hard to give him the perfect evening and it simply wasn't good enough. When will my best be good enough? I thought. Should I have let him play on the iPads while I sat around waiting? It was getting late and I was concerned about the dog being out all day and decided to forgo the climbing gym (which hadn't even been proposed as an activity... we simply happened to pass by). Should I have taken him anyway? Would it have been enough?

This is a trap I too often fall into. The fact is I can't please everyone all the time. I also can't be everything to everyone. But I sure want to. And that, my friend, is where the trouble lies. Oh to be able to say no with abandon. Without that smidgeon of guilt or letdown creeping in.

Kiddo does not live an indulgent life. The word "no" is familiar to him. He has an incredible existence by any definition and the undivided attention of two parents who love him dearly. The trouble with having an only child is this: You get one shot. I want every moment to be amazing with him. As a result, I end up placing far too much pressure on our time together. Not every second. But the outings and brownie dates weigh more than they used to. Because I realize they are not something I can take for granted.

Pleasing others is a very human condition, especially when it comes to the ones we love. There is much less people-pleasing in my life than there used to be, but it certainly creeps in. It's exhausting! I don't have to make cupcakes for every occasion. Sometimes a card is enough. A missed meeting isn't the end of the world. It's okay for Mario to take over sometimes. Appeasing all those around me may make them feel better, but it certainly doesn't fulfill my own needs. Instead, I live with the fear of falling short. That is an unfortunate trait I work to abandon daily.

Jared certainly isn't thinking about the climbing gym anymore. Or the Apple store. So why am I still dwelling? Well, because I'm a work in progress. And perhaps admitting that I feel like a less-than mom (or wife or student or friend) sometimes (or a lot) is a good step toward change. A change in perspective. In self expectation. Because Kiddo is not going to look back on his childhood and think if only she'd taken me to the climbing gym on May 31, 2013... I might have had it in me to get a PhD.

4 comments:

  1. You are a great mom!! That evening sounds amazing, and he most definitely won't even remember that he didn't get to go to rock climbing...I've been reading a lot lately about motherhood and kids (hopefully on the hunt to find answers to whatever it is that is troubling me at the time, lol) and there seems to be the same answer across the board when it comes to what kids remember...they remember the 2 minutes you sat and did a puzzle with them, they remember that one time you took them to the zoo 3 years ago, the time you pushed them really high on the swing or that time when we went hunting for toads...it's all about the little things :)

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  2. At one point or another each and every mom could write this post. Hang in there - what we think will guarantee our nomination for "worst mom of the year" generally doesn't make our kids' top 10 list of Mommy Snafus. What they do remember is a mom that tried her best and loved them. {mostly ... my kids have never let me live it down when I screeched my tires in a parking lot one day after making the wrong turn}

    oh yea, you only get one shot even with multiple kids. seems they each come packaged different and over half of what you figured out with the first won't apply to the next. tricky little endeavor this parenting thingie.

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