First call for boarding

I went with the server’s suggestion and ordered a “primavera” panini for breakfast which turned out to be too expensive for my travel budget so I had to go with the half-size. It had bacon on it which I didn’t really want. For the same price as the half-size panini I could have had a regular-sized tortilla with black beans and an egg on top which was what I really wanted. I’m sitting at the gate waiting for my flight home via Panama City, still regretting I didn’t walk past that place to the next one which had fruit smoothies. I think I spend a lot of time regretting silly things.

I get to go home to my kids today! This is the longest I’ve been away from them – two weeks – fourteen days straight of work in another country. It’s been a great experience. Can I be completely honest? I didn’t actually miss the kids at all until day ten. I kept wondering why this might be, when leaving them felt like wrenching my heart in two. I’m still thinking about what I wrote in the last post about not having great parenting skills. You all were very kind in the comments – I know I’m hard on myself and I probably am a better parent than I think I am; at the same time, I do believe there are objective measure of good, better, and bad parenting, we all know it. I hear a lot of calls for mothers to stop judging one another, to give each other grace – and I do appreciate this, I do – there is that mean bitchy side of the discourse that is just ugly sometimes. At the same time, I don’t always feel like blanket encouragement is helpful… I’d love to have someone who really knows what they’re doing give me an objective assessment: you’re doing great at x y and z, and here are some concrete practicable ideas that will help you improve at a b and c.  

I feel stuck in unhealthy patterns. Especially around limits and consequences. I think Gimli and I are way too indulgent with the kids. I think we spoil them. I mean, we do set limits, and we do enforce consequences – regardless of what their preschool teachers think – but I do agree that we could do better. I think we could be more consistent. I think we could be less permissive. I think I’ve pitied them because of all we’ve asked them to do – moving to different countries (twice in their young lives already), plus Illyria’s “issues”, whatever those exactly are (sensory integration, ASD, or something like that – mild, but there is something there). My tendency is to brood and mull over all these things in my mind and get stuck in those mental loops… that’s not helpful. 

Anyway, I spent a lot of time these 2 weeks thinking about my parenting and wondering how I might do better. Do something different, so that spending time with my kids isn’t so completely exhausting all the time. I want to enjoy them, enjoy this stage of their lives, appreciate it for what it is because before too long it will just slip away. They are getting so big! 

I can’t wait to get home.

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4 Responses to “First call for boarding”

  1. KeAnne Says:

    I had food regrets in the airport this week too & it made me mad b/c both meals were way too expensive and I wished I had gotten something else. I empathize with everything you wrote. I always feel like I suck at parenting and the guilt threatens to choke me. The bear hug D gave me when he saw me Friday morning was wonderful and a reminder that I am hopefully doing something right.

  2. Wordgirl Says:

    I really want to come back to this post later… G is out of town for five days and I have two children driving me literally to distraction. Xoxo. Pam

  3. Rachel Says:

    OK, I’ll admit I don’t really miss my kids when I’m away from them either. The longest I’ve been away from the older 2 is 5 or 6 days, the youngest just 2 days. I don’t really even think about them, the thought of leaving them is awful, the reality is that it was kind of nice.

    Sometimes people tell you that you are doing a good job parenting in order to lift you up, they may not realize that you want true constructive criticism. I mean if someone told me that I’m too permissive or whatever without me specifically asking them, I’d throw a little tantrum. There are some things I don’t do well as a parent and I just don’t care, I have other battles to fight. I’ll accept my husband’s opinion on whether I’m too lenient or too harsh with my kids, there is a friend or two that could maybe get by with saying something, most other people would offend me, even though I wouldn’t want to be offended.

    I think you have mentioned that your in-laws and/or parents visit frequently and stay with you for extended periods. If that’s the case and you really want an opinion, ask them. “Do you have suggestions on how we can better handle x?” I think it has to be someone who really sees how you really function as a family though. My kids act differently and I react differently when Grandma is visiting for an afternoon, if she were here for a week she would have a different picture of our lives.

    • Elizabeth Says:

      You’re so right, Rachel – I have to think carefully about that because there have definitely been times when I’ve taken offense about honest feedback from people on my parenting. And it’s true that we function differently depending on who’s around and where we are. According to the Enneagram I have a tendency to get sucked into emotional drama and it’s important for me to practice objectivity. I think that applies here more than anywhere in my life right now.

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