Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Alone on my battlefield

Frustration

That tightness begins to ascend,
coiling through all of me.
Take away this choke,
as it grabs and lets go.
Failing over and over,
my mind tires to fight.
That familiar grasp squeezes,
as hope slumbers away.
Pry myself away to breathe,
to crawl upward and out.

Almost thirteen years of motherhood and I worry about these feelings of inadequacy as a parent. At times, I feel like I'm on a battlefield and not making any ground. As the kids get older, the parenting really wears on me some days. I don't know if they "get" what I'm trying to say. I always seem to be coming back to square one. Progress must be happening. I wish I could see it better.

34 comments:

Judith Ellis said...

My dear friend, Kelly, my sister

You are most certainly making a difference in the lives of your children. Know this. Your thoughtfulness and strength are evident. You are a beautiful mother.

I am sure that when my mother was raising 12 kids alone she must have asked, "are they getting this?" In fact, she used to say to us "you may not understand now but you will in time." She was so very right.

What's important as I see it Kelly, and I must admit that I'm not a mother but have 26 nieces and nephews and have watched their raising closely, is to be both strong and yielding. I see this in you.

With peace and love,

Judith

Judith Ellis said...

Oh, and I thought the poem was poignant and palpable. Thank you.

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

Like weight loss, parenting is about doing the right things and trusting that it will make a difference in the long run. The changes aren't instantaneous, but they do happen.

Good luck!

Mandy said...

I'm 30 and I'm just now "getting" what my parents said to me when I was younger. It may take them some time. Just keep doing the best you can. Someday they will understand, especially if/when they have kids of their own. In the mean time, a big virtual hug from me to you! I definitely feel your frustration and I'm just in the beginnning stages.

shabby girl said...

Boy, you hit parenthood on the head. Really, all you can do is the best you can do every day. It's so hard to know how it will turn out because they have minds of their own too.
By the sounds of your posts everyday, I think you're doing just fine.

Kim said...

My parents were not the greatest - I stopped speaking to them for almost 20 years because of some of the craziness. And yet here I am at 38 appreciating what they did that was good. So if I can come out of it - and I believe that I would be totally justified in never speaking to them again - then your kids my wonderful friend will appreciate you a bazillion times more. Because I know you are a beautiful soul and I know that soul shines through to your kids. I know that someday you will be sitting around happily playing with your grandkids and your boys and daughter will be so happy to have you near.If I lived close I would hire you a babysitter and take you out for a nice lunch and some time at a spa!

mamaof6 said...

Just by your wanting them to 'get it', you are showing them that you care. After 21 years of being a mother I see now that I can't make any of my kids do what I would do. All I can do is be who I am and be happy with that. I believe that modeling acceptance of myself will show all my children what really matters in life.

They'll get it. Probably not as teenagers. Teenagers/tweenagers know everything. My family doc often jokes about adolescence being a childhood disease that has not immunization shot.

Just love them no matter what. You don't have to like what they are doing, but you will still love them. That unconditional love will carry them when they really need it.

Gerri said...

What a moving poem. I can only relate from my experience with my 7 year old. It is tough, not knowing if I am doing it right. I strive for balance. Balancing love and discipline. I do know that my Mom still sometimes struggles with this. Her youngest of five in now 30. I guess that is what parenting is all about. Doing your best and then letting go.

Mommy's Nintendo said...

I am right there with you. Hang in there!

belinda

glnroz said...

Raising kids is like a boxing match. You don't know who is winning until the fight is completely finished..lol..

Donna Gotlib said...

I wonder if there might be more cause to worry if you did not have these feelings "at times".
What do you think?

~She Poet~ said...

As always you write with such elegance even in your darkest moment. I've learned parenting is a path, an exploration, an ever-learning curve. You can only do and best the best you can be. Setting a great example. Kids may not seem to get it but they do and it shows when adolescence wears off. I don't know you but I feel you are a great mom :)

T Rex Mom said...

Parenting like life is a journey not a destination. I know you're doing great - you're your own worst critic.

Be well.

Ms Perfect said...

Very creative and descriptive. You're great at writing and the metaphore....good stuff.

Beth Kephart said...

Yes, they hear you. They just aren't expressing yet what you are teaching them. But they will.

And the poem is really lovely.

Michelle said...

Beautiful poem, and it makes my insides twist and turn, too! Go find a mom who knows you and ask her -- if you don't believe yourself, believe the validation she'll give you. Moms allll have these questions!

Dani said...

You are making a difference because honestly all kids really need is to know they are loved. And I know you do that well. :)

pughy said...

Just do your best and go with the flow..

Thats all you can do, we are all on a learning curve all our parenting life..

Hugs Carol and GJ x

Lois Lane II said...

I'm starting to learn that we always struggle with inadequacy. =)

Becca said...

You do the best you can and give it all you've got and that is all you can do! JUST KNOW THAT YOU ARE A FABULOUS MOTHER!

Sabrina said...

It's one of the hardest things anyone can do. I'm sure you are a wonderful mom. Keep trying.

Wendy said...

I totally know how you feel. Parenting is sooo much harder than I thought it was going to be.

Jenna said...

I don't think any parent ever feels completely secure all the time... so my friends tell me. I think the most important thing is to keep trying... it will make a difference...

And you should totally do the photo thing... it's sooooooo much fun! I am by no means a fab photographer, but it's fun. =)

Keep trucking along... it will look brighter eventually. **hugs**

Dan said...

The older they get and the closer to adult, the more they can pierce the strongest heart. The hope has to be that after a bit of growth and seasoning, they turn out as we hoped.

Mon said...

phew! It's tough. The fact that you are pondering the difference you make is, if nothing else, a positive. Many parents parent unmindfully.

Debbie said...

I am sure you are doing well! As I like to say, only the good parents question themselves. The bad ones just bop along not really wondering about the job they are accomplishing.

H F W said...

Even if they don't know right now, they will look back and realize all of the insight you had and how wonderfully you raised them. I know I wish I could go back to the teenage years and tell my mom to keep plugging -- that it would pay off. I look back now and thank God she was so strong.
Just the fact that you are present, like not just physically but emotionally, makes me think you must be doing a good job.

Jillien said...

Just the fact that you love and care is all you need as a mother to make a difference. I don't think any of us is or can be a perfect mother. I've recently had a conversation with my mom about this very subject. She said it's not about being the best; it's just constantly reminding yourself to try the best you can.

Kringle said...

How beautifullly written as you capture the incredible joy, perplexity, and uncertainties as a parent
thank you

Ann Victor said...

Poignant, piercing poem. And from the happy pictures of your lovely birthday girl Jillian I'd say you're doing a great job of being a Mom. As a daughter, I know it's only now that I'm older that I "get" what my Mom was always saying. So carrying on doing what you do best - loving them, and I guarantee that the battles you're fighting now will be well won!

(((((((HUGS))))))

lov said...

i saw your sunflower picture when you commented on a blog....and was drawn to it.

this poem really made me think....
thanks for posting it!

kisatrtle said...

I think we all feel this way at times. Hang in there.

Don said...

When I feel alone, like a few days ago, I am often reminded of the end of the Gospel of Matthew, which I finished several days ago. The disciples heard One say, "...and lo, I am with you, even to the end of the age."

No, never along. Good for them. Good for us. He knows. He cares. And he sees the end of the beginning. We don't see the forest for the trees, but we can rest in the knowledge... "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want..."

The Book of Lamentations says, "His mercies are new every morning..." The New Testament says, "Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I've learned not to waste today's mercies on tomorrow's what-if's. One day at a time. New mercies each day.

Often we feel not-equal-to-the-task, but the New Testament is full of "He-is-able".

Long comment from an Empty-nester who discovered: God is able! (We are needy. So it works out.) ;-)

tokemise said...

This is a beautiful poem! I'm a 43 year old mother of 4 (ages: 17,15,6,4) and I can so relate to how you are feeling. You expressed it so well in your poem. I can tell from your posts that you must be a wonderful, loving, caring Mother and I think that the fact that you (and I do to) question yourself just proves how much you care and want to do a good job. Your doing great I'm sure!