You know those moments when you find yourself behaving towards your child in a way that probably makes sense to most other parents around you, but deep down you feel ashamed?
That was me this morning. Becoming impatient with the five-year-old who dawdles. The one who takes 20 minutes to get dressed, brush her teeth, and get her snow stuff on to walk down the driveway and catch the bus.
I hollered. I felt my neck tightening. She was distracted by everything this morning. And then as we walked down our long driveway, she kept climbing the snow banks with no snow pants on. After I had told her not to. And I growled again.
And you know what? I can see why so many mothers find themselves hating being mothers, and so many people choose not to have children. It’s not because children are irritating. It’s not because children don’t listen. It’s because we as a society–we as parents–have stopped tuning in to who children are. We have stopped allowing them to be who they are, and do what comes naturally to them.
Of course parenting is hard when I am forcing my daughter to tune out all of the amazing things around her that pique her curiosity, such as the fun and wonder of a snow bank to climb when you are FIVE YEARS OLD. Duh…
It wouldn’t have been so hard had I stopped trying to make her do what I wanted her to do because of… externals. Externals that don’t really matter in the long run.
With every impatient word uttered (loudly at times), and every nudge for her to hurry up, I knew in my heart that I was wrong. I was so wrong. And that feeling really kind of sucks…
My daughter, the thirteen-year-old, has been… ill. “Off” is perhaps a better term. I think it is anaemia possibly caused by something else. Modern medicine would tell us to treat the symptom. But what is the root? It could be Celiac Disease, which she has a blood test for tomorrow morning. It could go deeper.
She won’t eat while at school. She is a nervous type. She has been teased about the way she eats. Her stomach is always in a knot. So she hardly eats while she’s there, no matter what I put in her lunch, or even when I leave her to make her own lunch and give her the chance to put whatever she wants in it.
Lack of nutrients at thirteen will (obviously) cause nutritional deficiencies. I can’t help but think–to notice–that while she loves her teachers, the staff at the school, and learning in general, the spark she once had when coming home from school is completely gone. She is pale. She fell off a sled and was in essence out of commission for three entire days. I took her in to outpatient’s on Monday and was told that if there was an emergency regarding her blood work I would be contacted that day. I was not, so that’s a good sign. We will get the results tomorrow morning.
She lights up when she is learning about science. She loves to read. She holds free cell and chess competitions with her father. She likes to help out in the kitchen. She likes time alone together, even if we are simply driving.
I think she wants to continue getting good grades and learning what she is learning, and simply deals with the rest of it. But it bothers me. Up until about a week ago, she was adamant about finishing her year at her school regardless of where we moved. And then recently, she simply, quietly stated that she just wants to be homeschooled next year.
The work isn’t hard for her. She struggles a little with math, but is passing. She keeps coming home with 90s & 100s in science, and does well in her other classes. Her teachers sing her praises. So this is not “the homeschooled kid not being able to hack school”.
Maybe she’s bored. Maybe not being the cool chick on the sports teams whose parents buy all the right labelled clothing is taking away from her love of the rest. Yet she is not impressed with those cool chicks and doesn’t particularly want to be like them…
We move into a rental in three weeks. We move into our new home a month later. Our new home, while still in this county, is in a different school zone for all three children.
We had toyed with renting until the end of June so that they could finish their years at their respective schools. We had toyed with transferring them for the last couple of months of school so as not to leave a gap in their records.
Deep down, if I am honest with myself, I think their records are a load of crap, and just want them to be thriving and learning in the setting that is most likely to foster it without extra junk such as a transfer and the adjustment that comes with it detracting from that.
I had my children back over the Christmas holidays. We went to bed when we were tired (generally around 10:00pm, to allow some Mom & Dad child-free time as well), and rose when we were refreshed. We ate breakfast, did our chores, played, read, watched movies, and went out without rushing around anyone’s schedules. I worked once a week, for about three hours each shift.
I am doing things that go against my gut, my instincts as a mother. Perhaps I should be grateful that I find myself heading into a situation that leaves me no choice but to put my children first again.
Maybe this is my wake up call.