I’ve talked before about how I hate play, or how I’m not good at it. Maybe it’s purely mindset, maybe it’s my personality but I have a difficult time making Tails or BuzzLightyear talk about nothing and everything for hours upon hours on end.
Does it make me a bad mom that at least 50% of the time, I ignore his, “Make Tails talk mommy.”?
He asks the moment I stop talking or in the middle of a different activity. (And of course, I can’t take my hand off the damn doll or he’s not really the one talking.)
We split our days between video games, books and his half-hearted attempt at the crafts I come up with because he is less creatively inclined than I am.
Even though he is fast approaching his 4th year of life, I have yet to learn patience.
When he takes 30 seconds too long to wash his hands, I get a bit on edge. I often find myself pausing as I encourage him to hurry up because…really? What is the harm if he plays a little with the water? Not a damn thing.
Every day, my husband comes home and we have a family dinner together. No matter what we are eating (cereal, or salad and chicken, or taco bell) the three of us sit at the table together while we eat. Our sons asks, ”Daddy what did you do at work today?” and we learn all about the frustrations of drafting.
I tell my husband about what our almost 4-year-old and I did that day. And I am deflated, anxious and berating myself at the end because the list is always too damn short.
I am so often plagued with guilt over what I’ve done or haven’t done or could do more of.
Yes, we have great days. Days where we read 20 books, do an art project all the way through or go to the library for hours and hours. But that is maybe 1 day out of 5 each week.
I am frustrated by my current word block, content block. Creatively I am not blocked. I paint and doodle, we cut and glue things together during each day. But words. Words fail me, this space remains quiet and I don’t know what to say.
When I manage to get a few minutes to hop online to check my email and try to collaborate or write, my son interrupts me: “Mommy, watch this!” (I’ve seen it 1000 times.) “Mommy help me.” (He can play the game in his sleep, he doesn’t need my help). “Mommy read this!” (those are subtitles and the characters are literally saying it for you.)….I tell him “Let me finish this,” because I don’t want to stop in the middle of a sentence or an edit.
…2 seconds later “Are you done? Mommy?” He runs off the couch and crowds my office “Mmomy? Close your computer. Mommy come read this. Mommy.”
And so, I am disappointed, full of doubt in my business and my lack of words and then he’s screaming for help he doesn’t need with a video game he’s played 10000 times and so suddenly I’m frustrated that I just can’t finish typing a sentence. And then feeling guilty when he keeps telling me to just turn off the computer. And at that point, I want to play even less than normal.
And yet I must.
I try my hardest to break up his screen time with engagement. With tons of books or imaginative play. Something active like the park or scientific like melting ice. But it never feels like enough. Do I have to be engaging and playful and teaching every second of everyday?? I don’t know.
I don’t think so but this guilt of being a stay at home mom and failing at motherhood and business weighs so heavy.
Here’s the truth (mine and yours):
I am not a bad mother for feeling like this.
I am not a bad mother for having bad days.
I am not a bad mother for having a lot of bad days.
Because, truthfully, even our bad days aren’t too awful. And even when they are, we make up for it the next day or the next or the next.
He’s always learning, always thinking and his ability to focus and play a skilfully challenging video games at the age of 3 astounds me.
We balance the good and the bad everyday and I won’t ever be perfect but every day is a new day.
Every day, I can try again. I can try new balance, new habits and routines. I can continue to search for childcare and I can continue to love my son with every single part of me, even when I’m frustrated.
Share in the comments your motherhood truth.