2 a: lack of success
3 a: a falling short : deficiency
Parenting is so hard. If you're a parent, this is no news to you. Part of what I find difficult in parenting is the constant change, the non-stop fluctuation. Highs are followed so closely by lows. Earlier this week, J complimented me on the way I had handled a situation with A by saying, "You don't have a job right now, but staying home with our daughters is really a job. You did a handled that well." But yesterday I ended the day feeling frustrated, disappointed and defeated. Here's why:
For several years, my daughters and I have done a Fun Jar in the summer. It started the first summer I was a stay-at-home mom and it was as much a way to keep me sane as to help them have fun. The basic premise is that we write down all of the fun things we want to do during the summer and put them in a jar. Weekly, we choose something and share our plans with friends. In years past, my daughters loved the Fun Jar. They were excited to see which activity would come next. They loved seeing who would join us at the events. They got to visit new parks and activities around Nashville.
This year has been another story. We're more than three quarters of the way through our summer and I feel like I've had to cajole, convince or nearly force A & B to do Fun Jar activities. Yesterday, we were scheduled to go to a place that use to be one of their favorite spots in Nashville. Yet when I told them, they both (separately) said, "I don't want to get wet." or "I wish we could go to a pool instead." We went anyway. B and K both brought friends along and while it went OK, A & B were unenthusiastic. By the end of the day, I felt emotionally bruised and ready to hide in my bed.
I know that A & B are growing up. I've tried to have our activities reflect that. Yet my overwhelming impression of this summer is their dissatisfaction. With the Fun Jar, with each other, with me.
I feel like I've failed them and I'm puzzled, hurt and completely lacking in confidence.
One of the difficult things about being an introspective person is that an event like yesterday's makes my mind wander far into the future. I wonder who my daughters are becoming and whether they are headed in the right direction. I don't want them to think summers are for lounging at a pool to work on their tan. I want them to seize the opportunities they have, even if they are not what they would choose. I want them to have curious minds that seek activity, not indolence.
Now I'm faced with figuring out why my daughters are unsatisfied and deciding how much of that is my responsibility versus theirs. For someone who detests and fears confrontation, I sense that the new parenting phase we are entering will test me in ways I never wanted to be tested. Because right now, I need to talk, engage and communicate when every part of me just wants to escape (preferably into a book)...