My husband is on travel for the next month. With me being in Colorado for the first month of summer, and him being away the last month, it basically has worked out to two weeks together in the same nation this summer.
And I’ve had the children for all of it.
So that’s the context for what I’m about to write.
I feel judged. Almost the time.
I recognize it in the glances, in comments, in the pauses and hesitations.
My kids can be kinda bratty. They interrupt me and other adults. My oldest says rude things. My youngest speaks at an ear-piercing volume and whines. I repeat myself more than necessary, and when I take my children out in public, I am constantly afraid that they are going to embarrass me.
I don’t read books or parenting blogs, because, well…..it makes me feel even worse. The voices in these books come from a place of confidence, which I have never, in all my years of parenting, felt. While the authors know that doing A will equal B, I have always seen the gray, the what-ifs, and the inbetweens.
Which, according to many, is exactly my problem.
I love my children. Fiercely. And one of the things I miss the most about living here is that nobody has watched my children grow up. My friends in the states, who watched my oldest toddle in the park, and visited me in the hospital when my second was born, love my children with an equally fierce and pure affection. We were on the same path, clearing away the brush and holding each other’s hands on the steep parts.
And now, I don’t feel like I have that. I fight the urge to write, “he’s-not-really-like-this” emails to people after playdates, and I long to tell people about those moments where they hold hands, or kiss my arms, or that one time, several years ago, where one of them listened to me the first time I asked him to do something.
It’s a lonely place to be. It’s a feeling that everybody else has got it together. Or their kids are younger. Or female.
I am aware that my children are learning, and I work with them. I try. I do.
I write these words not for validation, or for advice, or for anything besides the fact that they are seeping from my pores.
I care about this so damn much. The worst thing you can say to me is that I am a bad mother.
And so, even if these feelings of judgment only come from my own stupid mind, or, if you want to get spiritual, a dark, pernicious voice, they are real. I feel them.
So tread softly. Because when it comes to my kids, you are indeed treading on my dreams.