There have been many times during my 17 years as a parent where its been painful. I feel exposed and raw and vulnerable and so unprotected from the pain that our children directly or indirectly cause us. I look back over the years and I look at my friends in the many stages of parenting and I realize that the rawness will always appear and re-appear as we go through various transitions and experiences.
Do you remember that first shot your newborn got in his plump baby thigh and how you felt like someone had stabbed you in your chest. The shocked look and indignant scream that followed at each immunization where you just wanedt to cry. Sleep-training where they do that hiccup cry when you finally fold and pick their sobbing body up and squeeze them so tight in mutual relief. Falls and scrapes and fevers and little fingers caught in draws. Then its pre school and that massive separation where you feel like the shittest mother ever when they pry your toddler off your leg. Are they REALLY smiley and happy 5 minutes later? I remember Daniel being about 3 and getting a new teddy kind of backpack he was trying to show his friends. Look, look, look he said a 100 times and they ignored him and I wanted to yank their little heads around and say LOOK, just look for 5 seconds OK! I remember when Sofie started stuttering and my whole family froze in terror. Her Mimi stutters and the thought of our Fifi having to endure that, oh please God no! Our kids hurt and disappointment becomes multiplied in our own over protective hearts. Primary school is scary teachers and friend politics and bullying and performance pressure. Not being chosen and finding out you are not good at everything, in fact you suck at some things. Not all our kids are mainstream and you realize life for yours will not be the smooth sailing you so carefully hoped, prayed and tried to prepare for. I hated star charts when little girls like Abigail and Hannah and Chloe would have a solid row and my busy, distracted Daniel would have nothing. Silly behavior charts for smug girls where my boy only had one side filled out. Not sitting still, interrupting, fighting, wrestling, not finishing his work....I could go on. Of course now that I have Rebeka I am on the other side, the smug girl side but I don't take it for granted or pat myself on the back for excellent parenting. All our kids differ and not everyone fits in seamlessly. I have one who struggled badly but has learn to cope, one who excels and participates in everything and teachers adore and one who is pretty average. Its nothing I have done or have not done and I am the very best mother I can be parenting each one according to their needs.
You might be at the stage where your toddler bites and hits, your grade 1 struggles to read, your older kid has no friends. A teen with acne, low self-esteem. A bully kid or one who bullies. You might be struggling to navigate your way around the teenage years or you might even be sitting in your empty nest feeling really raw and wandering what the new rules are with your grown up child. Wherever you are its frikkin' tough being a mom and trying so damn hard and never quite feeling like you have got it all together because you don't. Its exhausting and worrying and painful and wonderful and joyful. Its just so much, so huge but its not clean or tidy or pretty. Its 100% organic and its a really raw place of vulnerability. Its a raw deal indeed and I salute you all.