Wednesday, May 14, 2008

There is Always Tomorrow

I absolutely love being a mom. There is nothing I would rather be doing. Indeed, if I had to be in the workplace all day, my heart would break into pieces about not being there for my children.

But today, I just feel like the worst mother in the world. I lost my older son's AWANA achievement patch, which was supposed to be already affixed to his AWANA vest. Tonight is AWANA award night. Timmy's patches were all right where they should have been, and his vest is now full of patches. I feel awful about losing Daniel's. There was only one, since his vest has a pin with jewels, instead of lots of patches. Maybe he won't even notice. I don't know. I just feel so inadequate and disorganized, and today I even fear that having a fourth child is going to be a disaster.

Recently we read a bedtime story from the library about a family in which the mother works outside the home, and the father takes care of the kids and house. Daniel asked me when I was going to start working. I said I loved staying home to love and teach my kids, rather than working. I asked him if he wanted Daddy to stay home instead. He replied, "Yes." I asked why he thought that, and he said because Daddy does train tracks with him and I don't.

The next day they asked for the book again, and this time Timmy asked why I don't work. We went through the same thing and he, too, said he wanted Daddy to stay home. But his answer about why was that he likes Daddy better. A bit later, when stories were over and I was cuddling with Timmy at bedtime, I told him I'm sorry he didn't want me to be the one home, but that I really loved being with him, nonetheless. At that point, he just said that he liked Daddy too.

I am the one who herds them to do chores, get dressed, undressed, brush teeth, and who shushes them during Emily naps, and doles out consequences, when necessary. My part of all of it is very frustrating, at times, and I suppose my mood often reflects that. Don is the one who plays with them, and, except for being very impatient with Daniel's ADHD symptoms, he is the more relaxed one.

I have to be honest and say that having a child with ADHD can be hell on earth, at times. We're getting closer to wanting to try medication, scary though that is. Our household is pretty stressed, largely because of the extremely annoying characteristics inherent in an ADHD child. Right now, the symptoms are magnified, due to Daniel's stress over my morning sickness, and over having another sibling and an even busier household.

I know a woman who grew up with a non-medicated ADHD sibling, and her memories of her mother, growing up, were of a frustrated, often angry, nervous woman. Is that what I've become? At least in conjunction with morning sickness, I think it is.

While I'll always be nervous, as that is our family clan's main characteristic, I don't HAVE to be always frustrated or often angry. I want my kids to have fond memories of their upbringing. Although there are consequences to ADHD medication, not medicating effects every member of the family detrimentally. Does a parent sometimes have to do what is best for the greater good, rather than what is best for an individual child? And will Daniel resent being medicated, someday? Or, will he resent not being medicated? Should it be me, who someday gets medicated, to help me maintain a sense of joy and delight in motherhood?

I can't look into the future and be assured that my children will like me, or feel grateful for their upbringing. Will they realize that I helped them love God and each other, helped them achieve what they could, and taught them to be responsible? Or will they look back and just remember me as that old cranky hag, wishing instead that I'd been a forever-baking, crafting, laughing mom?

Life is messy. I hope I do better tomorrow. There is always tomorrow, isn't there?


DebinCA said...

I have to tell you I was just today praying for patience. I felt like yesterday all I did was yell. I never thought I was a yeller until I had 2 young children. I apologized to my children and asked them to forgive me, however I still feel guilty. I feel like I have been stuck in a grumpy impatient mood all week. We have had more going on than broken down, house in shambles due to putting in new floor. Maybe that has just put me over the edge. I guess all I can do, like you is hope (and pray) for a better day tomorrow.

Mama P said...

I wonder if you can focus on trying to relax yourself rather than medication, if you're unsure of medication for your son? When Stink tics, which is about every 6 weeks, I get NUTS. I want to scream, yell and get crazy. And sometimes I do. But now, I'm aware of his manic cycles, and I plan more time alone. I get my husband in on the act. I babysit trade. Anything to keep me from yelling at him to stop ticking, because he can't help it. Just a thought.