Sometimes, I have to fight back the urge to scream these words directly into my sweet children's faces. I often forget that children are just that - children - and they need constant reassurance (hmm, just like some adults I know). And I'm the person they can count on getting it from.
But some days, it feels like simply my presence creates an unhealthy helplessness. The requests for my assistance are incessant, and I feel like a pinball bouncing around in a machine aimlessly, unable to control my own direction.
The... err, challenge with 3 year olds (and having two of them) is that they want so badly to be autonomous, yet can't quite complete a task without adult intervention. Or, they try and struggle only to relinquish the power back to me.
After a particularly demanding day camping, I found myself commiserating with the cable TV customer service rep over the phone about the excessive amount of time it took to prepare a simple lunch of PB&J for the girls. Doing it myself would have taken 3 minutes, tops. But both girls insisted on spreading the jam on the bread; of course, I had to display the bread, paper towel, peanut butter, jam and butter knife just so in preparation for them. After patiently watching them attempt to spread jam, the task was returned to me. I convinced them the peanut butter was too cold for them to spread, but they meticulously observed to make sure I mashed down each and every lump for perfectly even coverage.
Meanwhile, my husband was anxiously awaiting my preparation of hamburger patties, which had to wait until I was released from my PB&J supervision duties.
Finally, the sandwiches were complete. But wait! The crusts needed to be cut off. (Where did they learn that??) Oh, and god forbid, I forget to cut each sandwich in half.
Neither child ate their fastidiously sculpted sandwich.
*sigh* I tried to brush away my frustration, but what I really needed was a break.
Unless physically removed from said child/children, breaks for moms are ridiculous fantasy, known only in the utopian world of parenting advice articles and books. While attempting a "break" a few minutes later to read a magazine in front of the campfire, I found myself craning my neck around the child that had crawled into my lap, while another
requested demanded my help doing....yet another mommy assisted activity.
Childishly, I held up my hand like a wall and said, "mommy is off duty". (Mind you, I still have a child in my lap). She backed away sheepishly and gave me that look that twists my motherly insides like bread dough.
With that, the spell is broken. I am the overly demonstrative, huggy, kissy, reassuring mommy once again.
|The true breaks happen when you least expect.|