Friday, September 27, 2013

Parenting and the Downward Spiral of Guilt

Today I should've been in beautiful Napa celebrating our 10th anniversary. Instead I'm dealing the emotional fallout of moving and starting a new school.

Was it the right decision? Absolutely. Am I upset about canceling my trip? Damn right I am. But not for the reasons I thought I would be.

Yes, I am sad that I am not immersed in beautiful scenery, drinking delicious wine, and dining on amazing food. (Oh, Girl and the Fig, I'll be back for you. Someday).

However, I’m more upset about how our lives ended up at this point. What if we hadn't moved? Wonder if my dabbling in blogging/social media/ teaching/freelance writing had not evolved into something that resembles real part-time work?

Then I go deeper in the spiral and start to think about how I might really being effing up as a parent.

I don't think I am spending the same amount of quality time with Thomas as I did Marie. I know it is always different with the second child, but what if I hadn't taken steps to boost my social media ventures to the next level? Maybe Thomas would like to write his name. Maybe he would like to craft? Maybe he wouldn't be so interested in Angry Birds?

It would be easy to get defensive of my choices and push forward with my goals. It would also be easy to justify my choices in that not everyone is meant to develop a deep affinity for handwriting and glue sticks.

But instead, I am listening to the signs that the kids are giving me; I’m letting it soak in, resisting the urge to downplay it in hopes that everything will work out.  I have restructured my “office hours” and reexamining my work commitments. I have put a premium on getting enough sleep so I don't meltdown. And I'm finally doing all those Pinterest crafts to help Thomas along with finding his handwriting jam.

Pinterest craft practicing handwriting with glue and fruit loops
Redemption through Pinterest

Halloween foam no glue craft
A challenging foam, no glue craft that Thomas loved!
Also, that cape melts my heart into a puddle. 

Next year, he will be in school all day next year. This is it for him. And I need to make it count.

As for Marie, I will listen patiently as she finds the words to verbalize her feelings about being the new kid.  We have also chosen a calming essential oil to help her relax at night. And we have kicked off our weekly dates.

Anything missed in the work-sphere while I tend to my babies during this transitional time will have to be categorized under "not the right time". And I will have to have faith that the right opportunities will still be there.

I am going to try to unwind myself for the guilt spiral. Up until two conversations with some help ladies, I was completely convinced this was all my fault. Turns out, it might not be my fault.  The anxiety about being a new student in a new school and the strong dislike towards coloring/writing may actually be something independent from me.  Regardless, I have to show up for some serious face time and with my listening ears on.

In the meantime, it might be time for me to get some more chocolate therapy.

Do you ever feel like you are just doing it wrong? How do you deal?