That ain’t enough for you

According to my sweet, eloquent and sometimes needy eight-year-old, I spend most of my day scheming about ways to avoid her. I work too much, I read too much too and sometimes, I even have the nerve to go out with my friends! All of these offences are proof positive, in Charlotte’s eyes, that I don’t want to spend any time with her at all. And in a way, she’s right — I do need time for myself. I work to stay sane and sometimes it feels like everything I make just goes directly to paying my caregivers.

Sugar and spice and mostly she’s nice

The thing is, I like my kids and the reason I stopped working downtown is because I felt like I was never home with them. I try so hard to dedicate individual time to them each day, but sometimes it’s just not enough. The other day, in a fit of anger, Charlotte started ranting about how all I do is try to think up ways NOT to spend time with them and then she wrote me this note. I’ll admit, it stings my heart and pride to read it.

The Rules of Parenthood

1. Limit work

2. (Most important) make your children happy!

The rules of parenthood, according to Charlotte

In my head, I know Charlotte’s note is the results of too many late nights and too few mommy/daughter dates lately. She’s an intense kid who needs LOTS of one-on-one attention — something that’s easier said than done. Work, swimming, lacrosse, dancing and everyone’s social lives seem to get in the way of special-mommy-Charlotte-time and when we don’t get enough, I am in the doghouse.

I know she’s just a kid and I can usually take a step back and remember that. But not before her words bruise my heart. They go on repeat in my head, like an annoying song that just won’t leave. I’m vulnerable like that. I am sensitive and even though I know it’s not about me, it’s hard to shake it off!

So how can I protect myself ? Sometimes when my mouthy little girl talks to me like she’s a teenager, I feel so hurt and then angry. How are we going to survive adolescence?

Do you ever feel like no matter what you give your kids, it’s never enough? I do. Some days, everywhere I turn there’s someone who needs a piece of me and by the evening I find myself shaky and tired, hiding in a locked bathroom while I pray that my kids will calm the fuck down! On a side note: Since I started doing this, Carson has learned how to open the door from the outside and now I have to pull the door shut. Not exactly like the relaxing trip to the spa I was looking for!

I know, I know. I spend too much time worrying about what might happen and what I can and can’t handle. I know it’s not useful and I know it may actually do more harm than good, but I am who I am. I’m starting to learn how to stop these destructive thought processes, but sometimes they get the better of me. In the infamous words of my grade-school crush, Mr. Cory Hart:

I could capture all the love the great romantics had,
Sing you a song that ain’t half-bad,
But that ain’t enough, that ain’t enough for you.
And I could run across the world to bring you the sun,
Look in your eyes one on one,
But that ain’t enough, that ain’t enough for you.

And I could carry the weight of your sad times, dear,
And give you the strength to face your fears.
I know I’ll never be afraid to say
I’m here by your side and I’m gonna stay.