Friday, September 20, 2013

Parenting is Hard

Parenting is hard.  So very hard.  A totally obvious statement, I know.  But since parenting is filled with challenging moments every single day, I find my threshold for pain is pretty high.

Get up in the middle of the night to tend to scary dreams?  Got it.

Being the fun governor when it comes to enforcing screen time limits?  I (begrudgingly) do it.

Trying to make sure each child’s needs are met without cloning myself?  I practice that each and every day.

But then something comes along that pushes my limit.  In yoga, it is called going beyond your edge.  When I go beyond my edge in yoga, I have exceeded my physical and mental boundaries and everything becomes a challenge.  Even breathing.

This moment occurred when Harrington and I decided to cancel our 10th wedding anniversary trip to Napa and Sonoma, which we were going to after his business trip at Lake Tahoe.

Yes, this little message is in my inbox.  Taunting me.

It actually pains me to type this sentence.

We came to this decision after listening to the deep, sorrowful, painful sobs of how much Marie would rather be home with me than at her new school.  The crying, that was on the verge of hyperventilating, yanked at my heartstrings.  Even though this specific breakdown took me by surprise, in retrospect, I have realized that she has been very emotional and has been having a hard time at night.

How am I supposed to go clear across the country for six days when my child is hurting?  And not just hurting, but hurting for me?

On the other hand, I feel like I am letting Harrington down by not going with him on this trip and celebrating our 10th anniversary.  One day, these kids will leave the nest, and since he is the one I will be stuck with (in a good way, of course), I want to make sure my marriage is a priority.

But when your baby needs you, how do you walk away from that?

As Harrington said, they won’t need us like this forever.  We need to be there when they do now.

I decided to think about what I could live with in the long run – going on this trip with my husband and hoping that Marie would be OK. 

Or could I live with skipping this trip with my husband, but knowing I didn’t take off when my daughter needed me?

If this is a pivotal time in her life with the move and going to a new school, and I leave, I don’t think that is something I could undo.

And what would a big decision like this be without a healthy serving of guilt.  I blame myself.  If I wasn’t busy working this summer, I would have been more emotionally available to her.  If I wasn’t busy unpacking, I would have had more time for her.  If I had been able to pull it together, I could have had this all situated and not have to bail on an awesome trip.

Letting down your kid and missing out on wine country: kind of feels like the biggest fail in the history of my fails.

So what has been the hardest parenting decision you have had to make?  How did you get through it?  Should I stock in more chocolate or salty snacks?  Would it be inappropriate to listen to grunge rock and sulk in my room?


Liz Parker said...

That's a hard decision. I guess in the long run you'll see if it was right or not, but I think "morally" it sounds like you made the right choice, IMO. :)

Erin Janda Rawlings said...

Thanks, Elizabeth!