I need to get this off my chest.
I’ve been thinking about it all day, and it’s getting me a little down.
It’s one of those typical mama feelings, which I’m sure many of us feel, and I know it’s normal, natural, healthy even, but truthfully, I’m not enjoying it. Not one bit. Nope. Don’t wanna anymore.
Tuna cried when I dropped her off at preschool this morning. Sure, it was only for about 5 seconds. I lurked at Clingy Anxious Mothers’ Bay, otherwise known as the area near the escalator by the entrance of her school, hidden from view, and watched her to make sure she stopped crying before I could tear myself away. She stopped crying. I couldn’t see her anymore as they turned the corner heading to the playground. And I had to leave.
I sort of wanted the teachers to suggest gently that I stay for the day. You know, for her sake.
The thing is: I knew she’d be fine, and I knew that this was all me. I just needed to feel that reassurance, which I feel when I’m with my daughter 24/7, that she’s happy, content, feeling secure, and has every physical, mental and emotional need met. By me. Her protector. Her keeper. Her mother.
Right now, I’m feeling a lot of resentment towards the irritatingly undeniable fact that a big (and yeah, yeah, important) part of parenting is letting our children feel pain, or go through difficulty, or have to learn things the hard way sometimes.
Yep. Openly admitting it. Often I default to wanting to keep my precious little snowflake shielded from all of the evil in the world: this evil includes other kids snatching a toy from her; her getting a cold; her looking for me and wishing I was there; her getting a mosquito bite; the list goes on. And it’s an unreasonable, impractical, ridiculous list. But I feel it. I feel it. I’m going to continue to feel it – the older she gets, the more she experiences in life, the more independent she becomes.
Because she has to go through a lot of things that I wish I could bear the brunt of, on her behalf. That’s what turns someone into a well-adjusted, balanced, mature adult, right? Going through difficulty and learning to stand on their own two feet.
I can’t deal with that feeling sometimes. It is counter-intuitive, and intuitive, at the same time. It confuses me. Because I know that sometimes, that thing that I don’t want her to go through is what’s best for her, but all I want to do is wrap my tiny little baby up and protect her.
When I wrote the piece about Tuna getting a sibling, and my honest feelings about it, it was subsequently published on Scary Mommy. I read the comments on the Scary Mommy Facebook post. Of course I did. Any naive, still-getting-on-their-feet, not-quite-used-to-baring-all-feelings-to-the-world, writer would. It was generally well-received and I was pleased to see that a lot of other mothers had felt the same way, but naturally there were those usual Scary Mommy commenters that criticised me for wanting to “apologise” to my toddler for giving her a sibling. The usual, how can you be a good mother if you’re constantly wanting to make everything revolve around your child and bend to their every whim?
They missed the point.
We know our babies have to grow up one day. We know we can’t protect them from everything. We know that sometimes we have to let them experience some pain, something that isn’t easy or pleasant, something that takes adjustment, flexibility and courage.
We know. I know.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t impossibly difficult sometimes. More often than not, it’s probably harder on us, as parents, than it is on the kid.
I love my daughter with every atom of my being. More than that, if that’s possible. I would do absolutely anything for her. I want her to be happy. To be content. To feel fulfilled. To know just how loved she is. I want her to be strong. Independent. Confident. Brave.
But sometimes, I hate that she has to be sad. I hate that she has to be disappointed. I hate that she has to cry. Or feel angry, or frustrated.
I’m sorry to horrify the inevitable parenting critics out there that are now shaking their heads at my confession in a moment of weakness. Except I’m not sorry. We feel how we feel. I feel how I feel. And I’m finding that the more I acknowledge and accept the difficult feelings I experience as a mother, the easier it gets to learn to cope with them and become a better mother.
And let’s be honest, it’s always a bit of a relief when you find that someone else is as unreasonable, impractical, and ridiculous as you. And I am, mamas. I am.