Today I listened to a Periscope by the fabulous Julie Bogart of Brave Writer. If you know anything about me and my homeschool, you know Julie is a mentor who is full of wisdom about homeschooling and Awesome Adulting. She had many insightful thoughts, but the one that hit me – I mean really caused my heart to pick up the pace – was this one.
Power Differentials — It is rare that the person without power has as much permission to get as angry as the person with power. ~Julie Bogart
We can apply this quote to so many aspects of life. But, I’m a homeschool mom. So, I see it as my children – these tiny people I’m raising – are not allowed to get as angry as me.
What do power differentials have to do with anger?
I live in a house with three kids, three dogs, and a cat. There is always an argument to referee, or some destruction to fix, or a large mess to clean, or a person who is hungry, or someone who can’t find [fill in the blank], or a bad attitude to adjust in this house. It. Does. Not. End.
And some days I’m at my wit’s end.
Sometimes I can’t referee another fight over who gets the remote.
Some days I can’t pick up another sock, shoe or pencil off the floor.
Some mornings I can’t stand at the kitchen counter for an hour and a half while someone decides what she may or may not want for breakfast.
Some afternoons I can’t clean up another pee stain from the new puppy.
Some days I just can’t. I can’t “adult.” I can’t parent at my best.
I can’t be the fabulous, loving, understanding, forgiving, got-her-stuff-together mom.
Sometimes I have a mom fail.
It’s in those moments I go to my friends. You know who they are. They’re the other mamas who some days just – can’t – even.
They’re the ones who have refereed their 1000th fight of the day. They’re the ones who have cleaned snot, poop, half-eaten lunches and chocolate off the walls and window sills. They’re the ones who have found half-eaten yogurts in the dresser drawers and snow boots in the toothpaste drawer (you think I’m kidding – I’m not).
They know what I need.
They know I need to feel like a person. A person who isn’t a failure to her children. They are my therapy. As one of them told me just today “Toss a $20 in the therapy jar.” Because we all know we’re doing something that will cause these poor children to need therapy the rest of their lives.
Role vs. Identity
We sometimes mistake our role for our identity and they’re not the same. ~Julie Bogart
Wow, Julie. You just keep getting me.
Yeah, I do mistake my role for my identity. Because it feels like that is who I am.
I’m a babysitter, nurse, housekeeper, cook (let’s not get crazy and say chef) and teacher. The problem with this role vs. identity crisis is that I have only one way to evaluate myself. I look at the cluttered house, the complaining children, the stack of papers on my desk and give myself a big F.
I failed as a mother. I failed my one big, hugely important job. My identity is so wrapped up in that role that now I’m a failure as a person. Because if I can’t take care of all my roles, then I must have failed my family. And you know, what? That’s a bunch of crap.
Life is simply not that simple.
It’s not a snapshot of this moment in time only. It’s all the snapshots put together in a slideshow.
It’s the snapshot of the puppy chasing the kids through the house while they laugh hysterically that comes before the one of the wrecked living room.
It’s the snapshot of the child experimenting with color and textures before the one of the green goo trails on the counter.
It’s the snapshot of me sitting at the table playing a board game with the kids before the one of the piles of papers on my desk.
It’s the snapshot of us snuggling up together for family TV time before the one of the piles of laundry on the floor.
It’s all these snapshots that make a life… that create an identity.
Today I got angry.
I got angry, and I yelled at my kids. I even yelled at the poor dog. It was righteous anger. I had had enough.
I was tired of the bad attitudes and the not cleaning the rooms and the chewing on my basket (the last one was the dog – in case you were beginning to wonder about my kids). But, mostly I was tired because I was working on some things that were stressful and required a lot of my brain power and, honestly, had nothing to do with my kids.
Today didn’t make me proud to be a mom, but it didn’t make me a complete failure. It made me human.
Because we all fail sometimes. It’s simply impossible to be perfect in all our roles at all times. The goal is to keep taking the snapshots. Keep trying to be the person you are proud to be. And know that some days you will fail, because really… this Adulting is hard.
What are your struggles? Do you sometimes feel like a failure, too?