When my first son was born on February 11, 1997, I officially became a mother. Almost 13 years later, I still feel like a rookie. As a caretaker of their physical and practical needs, I am confident that I can handle most any situation. When it comes to the emotional ups and downs of life with kids, well, that is a different story.
When I speak with mothers of 2 year olds, I usually tell them that I think "the terrible two's" sometimes come back with a vengeance in unexpected ways as kids grow. I wish I could crawl into my older child's psyche to figure out why he is suddenly upset. When my kids were two, I knew that their tantrums often came from developmental frustration, lack of reason, fatigue, hunger or just boredom. Mothering kids at different stages can be a challenge. We are in week two of the summer and I've had emotional meltdowns in various forms from all three of my oldest children. I try to figure out why they are upset, but sometimes it seems like they lose it for no apparent reason. I can chart the physical development milestones easily. Helping a child navigate through these tumultuous emotional stages of childhood and adolescence is proving to be an exhausting period of motherhood for me.
I also think that sensitive Kelly has produced some sensitive kids. They probably take a lot to heart just like me. I guess I can pass on some kind of sensitivity gene. I never anticipated that my children could possibly mirror this aspect of my personality. They talk a lot like me, and apparently they can "feel" like me too. Gratefully, they do have a good deal of my husband's resilience and practicality. Every once in a while, there are those sudden kid emotional meltdowns that sneak up on me and then I say to myself, "Now what?"
I always want to help them with everything. I'm learning that I can be supportive, but maybe they just need to ride out some of these emotional outbursts. A tough day is when any combination of my kids will have an emotional moment at the same time. I've had those days when two kids are working out their issues simultaneously. A moody 12 year old and 9 year old in the same house is no fun. I do love how they bounce back pretty quick. The ups and the downs. Hooray for the ups!
I wonder what shape I'll be in after my fourth child finishes her teen years. Check in with me in about 14 years. I think I'll be "checking in" to some kind of spiritual renewal retreat to put me back together emotionally. Maybe a sleep retreat would be better.
Hopefully, I'll get one Poet Laureate out of the bunch. (Don't tell my husband I said that :)
I guess this is my Monday vent about figuring out this whole mothering thing. It's definitely a day to day learning on the job experience. Gratefully, there are plenty of smiling moments with my kids to balance out the craziness.
Life with kids is an adventure!