Monday, March 15, 2010

While They Sleep

Sometimes I'm a rotten parent.

Every morning when I leave for work, before the sun is up and the house is quiet and dark, I kiss the damp heads of my little boys goodbye. And every day, I think that this will be the day I'm not strong enough to leave them again. All I want is to curl up next to them while they sleep and hold them.

But I leave. Every morning, I kiss them while they are sleeping and leave.

During the day, it is rush rush rush hurry hurry hurry think think think decide decide decide. I am glad I'm doing this. This is good for our family. This puts a roof over our head and a future in our reach. But it is hard. There are moments when it is quiet and I stand in a back hall, take a deep breath, and am still. When it is still, I am homesick for blond-headed blue-eyed boys.

12 hours, maybe 30, pass before I go home again. Then I have one thought on my mind. Hurry hurry hurry home to the too quickly growing boys that I love.

I love these boys more than I ever thought possible.

I guess that's the reason I'm so disappointed with myself.

I just want to soak them up, but too many times I walk through the door and notice the unswept floor or the unfinished homework or the occasional sibling bicker. I want to savor each moment, but find myself tense and short-tempered.

I can be a really terrible parent.

I escape to quiet at the computer or with a text book. I bark at them for being too loud. I'm not patient with Bug's questions or Monkey's crying. I can be rough with my words, short with my attention, and quick with my discipline.

I will have had the opportunity to spend several hours with them, hours that could have been spent reading together, constructing blanket forts or block kingdoms, but instead were trifled away with laundry and dishes and Facebook.

Monkey doesn't let me read to him or brush his teeth or carry him to bed anymore. He requests, no, demands Hubster be the person who turns the pages and tucks the covers over him. I vacillate between taking it in stride and being angry and hurt. He's only three years old.

But I think he's already disappointed in me too.

He won't let me kiss him good-night.

But after he and Bug are asleep, and then again before they wake, I'll kneel by their bed and kiss them, and promise to do better tomorrow.


  1. And that's all we can do. Kiss them and promise them, and ourselves, that we'll do better tomorrow. In my opinion, that's what makes a good mother. We are just winging it, and we trip up... we just have to keep picking up the pieces, and do better tomorrow. I think you are doing wonderful things.

  2. I feel the EXACT same way. I have already decided that next week, over Spring Break, I am going to keep Lo home from preschool and only get on the computer or clean when he naps or watches his one show of the day. I'm excited and nervous about my ability to stick to it!!

  3. I'm sure you're not such a terrible parent after all. :)

  4. You're not a bad parent, you're simply human. None of us are perfect no matter how hard we try, sometimes life gets the best of us.

    I hope tomorrow is better for you.

  5. You are not a terrible parent and that is proven by the fact that you feel guilt. Everything you and your husband are doing is for your family.

    I feel guilty every day (many times a day) and I'm sorry you are going through it too, but it does make me feel better that there are others out there "like me." This is a great support system for us.

    Like you said, there is always tomorrow. :)

  6. You're a good parent aching over an unstoppable hourglass. Those who must work and those who must be home both repeat the same woes: the cross word, the praise deficiency. You speak to the regrets in us all.
    It makes me ache with you when Bug doesn't have you tuck him. Is there a chance the boys plan definite evenings when its your "turn" to tuck them? You can let them give cookies to dad to keep him happy till its his turn.
    You are a good parent and these blue eyed darlings love being your boys and you love being their mommy. You are not just letting things happen, you PLAN good and wonderful things for all of you. It is sure to heal much of what you have little control over. I am confident the joy will outweigh the deficiency because even a little bit of joy is heavier than anything else!

  7. Oh, this post breaks my heart.

    I can remember when I was young and my mom would come home from a long day and be mad that I neglected to sweep the kitchen floor, while she failed to notice that I had done all the dishes AND scrubbed the stove.

    But you know what? Now that I'm older and look back, I don't resent my mom for being upset about the floor. I ask myself why I didn't bother to sweep the stupid floor. She worked hard to keep a roof over our heads. The least I could do was keep things clean and tidy for her at the end of the day.

  8. This post made me so sad. Sad for the way you are beating yourself up not because you are a bad mother.

    You have to do what you are doing or you might be a bad mother. You have to be true to yourself. They will never look back on these days thinking you weren't there for them. Cut yourself some slack.