I'm not the Mom I thought I would be. Life with my young children is not at all how I envisioned it. How I dreamed it, and played it out since my childhood games of dolls, and countless hours "playing house"..
I'm crafty, I love to bake, I'm happiest when I'm at home, I enjoy family field trips, and celebrating all seasonal activities. All of these things seemed to me like really good Mommy ingredients.
But, as it happens, these aren't things you can do on your own.
Don't get me wrong, I try. I try really, really hard. But it isn't how I thought it would be.
My kiddies do enjoy baking, and they certainly enjoy doing crafts. But it's not the happy go lucky, all fun, no hassle activities I thought they would be. It's really hard to do a highly structured craft, or play a rule-ridden board game with a little boy who has all his own ideas. Al the time. There comes a point when it just stops being enjoyable, and you find yourself expending sooo much energy on getting him to follow the directions, and to stay focused on the activity, that it's not fun anymore. It's work. Plain and simple.
And all the things I thought we'd do together! I never dreamed how hard it would actually be. The library....maybe not. All that keeping your voice quiet business is sure to cause some issues. The Museum...all that no touching, just looking is bound to cause a fuss. Family get-togethers...where all of the adults congregate and chat, and I'm stuck with all the kids on supervisor duty. Becuase it's different for me, I can't trust that everything will be fine...because everything isn't fine all the time. Stuff happens, and I've got to be there. Simple lessons, I have to find ones where the parents can participate, or at least attend, because he's just not going to just follow along with the group. If he finds something more entertaining, he'll be oblivious to the fact that there even is a group.
However, I still do things. We still go lots of places. But it's different. I'm broadening his social sphere, I'm exposing him to things, I'm making sure he gets lots of practice in different environments. In short, they're not just field trips, they're therapy.
And our days at home together aren't the glorious sun-filled hours I envisioned they'd be. Some days I think I'm going to stroke...there is just so much to manage that I can't help but feeling a little defeated. Like, for example, at 3:30 this morning when he came creeping into our room, and it was painfully obvious that he was up for the day. And that was that. He's not the kind of kid who's going to play quietyly in his own room while we slumber on. Not going to happen.
Parenting is harder than anybody believes it would be. But sometimes I'm still shocked that I have a child with behavioural issues. Me! I was such a good, compliant kid myself. I thought I'd do everything right, and that my children would be perfectly behaved. Ha. How arrogant of me to think myself immune. I'm not immune, I'm no better than anyone else, and my chances of having a special needs child were just as high as anyone else's all along. I just didn't think it would happen. I guess I didn't think that would be fair. Fair!!! Another illusion.
So I'm not the Mom I thought I would be. Truthfully, I'm better. It's not as fun perhaps, but it is definately meaningful, and when you are rewarded by hugs, kisses, happiness, small signs of improvement, it's all the sweeter. I get it now. It's not about the children you thought you'd have. It's about the ones you hold in your arms. And whatever they need, whatever they enjoy, that's the Mom I'll be.