I have been cooped up with my family non-stop for the past three-plus months.
We love each other; really, we do. But I am craving some normalcy. I need some space from my husband, and he needs some space from me – this is normal. We still love each other. I similarly need space from my children – this is also normal.
I still love them.
The 2020 pandemic has brought out the best and worst in all of us. I could probably write a dissertation about all of the things I have learned about myself during these past few months.
One of these self-realizations has been my acute awareness that I am not a “kid person.”
My kids are my world. They motivate me to be a better person. My heart feels their joy and sadness. I am here to cheer them on when they succeed and to pick them up when they fall. We share countless hugs and kisses, play music, and read books, day in and day out.
I am impatient and short-tempered.
I don’t have the personality to walk my kids through school assignments and often find myself locked in the bathroom when I am on minute 60 of asking my son to dress himself.
I am introverted.
I don’t want to take my kids to a million places every week and engage in small talk with people I don’t know. It’s exhausting. My kids talk to me all day, and I get talked out faster than most people.
I love quiet.
My kids are gloriously independent and play wonderfully (and alone) while I work from home. But the noise is enough to make me want to scream.
I’m not good at “pretending.”
I don’t often participate in my kids’ elaborate pretend play. My husband is better at that. I’d rather dance around to rock music with them.
Messes give me anxiety.
I actually do have anxiety – so I don’t use the term lightly. I have trouble settling my mind when my house is destroyed, which mine usually is, much to my chagrin.
I am a creature of order, not chaos.
My kids wreak havoc everywhere they go (yes, I know this is normal). But on year seven on parenting, I’m still adjusting to “letting things go.”
In realizing all of these things about myself over the years, and even more acutely over the past few months of isolation, I have learned to be a better parent. I may not love all things “kid,” but we all parent differently. I will never be the mom sitting on the floor, pretending to be a fairy princess or constructing a castle out of LEGO. But I will be the mom teaching my kid how to draw cartoons or how to play a G chord.