Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting real with my bad self.

Before becoming a mother, I was once a middle school teacher. I spent the day with amazing young people who ultimately taught me more about the world and myself than I ever could have imagined. They took me on the ride of a lifetime and I left the profession feeling humbled, honored, and totally depleted. The school district was in a region that can be described as dealing with systemic, generational poverty. The emotional roller coaster ride that I rode from day to day was truly exhausting. I walked away from that job reflective of all the lessons I’d learned and feeling pretty pleased with myself for having mastered the art of patience.

Then I birthed this beautiful and bright boy who makes that job and those experiences seem like a vacation at the beach!

Patience? I’ve got a long way to go. Maybe a few more lifetimes, even.

That old adage about how we’re only given what we can handle - I don’t buy it. I think it makes us feel good to tell ourselves that, and it makes others feel good to have something like that to say to us when they otherwise would be at a loss for words.

My point is just that I don’t think I’m any more cut out for this job than I am teaching middle school, or cleaning houses, or driving a big rig. Yet I’m here and I’m doing the best I can (on most days) to be Super Mom.

I’m learning that I need to be more comfortable with asking for help. I’ve got to find ways to cope with the isolation, the grief, and the stress. I’ve got to bring more laughter into my life.

Most importantly, I’ve got to go easy on myself and acknowledge that I’m going to make mistakes and that it’s not going to be the end of the world. That’s a hard concept for any parent, but when your child faces what seem like insurmountable obstacles, it’s a pretty tall order. If you’re not already, won’t you join me?

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