At a party recently, someone asked me how we manage everything with two kids and both of us working, and then commented something like, “Whenever I see your posts on social media, I think – you guys really have it together.”
I think I laughed and said I don’t think anybody really has it together. But then last night we dropped by a neighbor’s house who just had baby No. 4. “Man, they really seem to have it together,” I told Mr. G when we got home. The house was clean, the kids weren’t freaking out even though it was past 8 p.m. and they didn’t even seem exhausted.
But the truth is, I don’t know their life, they don’t know mine, and, at our house, we stumble all. the. time.
Last week, I went to work and left Mr. G at home with two kids and one car seat. Pumpkin was definitely late for school that day. Every day we wonder if we handled temper tantrums the right way, if we should have raised our voices, if the kids are modeling our behavior when they act out. (Sometimes, we know they are based on their word choice.) Are our rules too strict? Not strict enough? Do I spend too much time on the computer? On my phone? Am I too busy trying to get a good picture that I miss out on actually enjoying the moment? As a parent, there is so much doubt.
Over the three-day weekend, we kept busy pretty much the whole way through and by bedtime Monday night we had a full meltdown situation on our hands. After we tucked the girls in to bed, I said we may have done too much with the girls, then Pumpkin actually told us today that she doesn’t like three-day weekends.
Tonight, we finished dinner early but we skipped baths and instead all played together in the living room.
I tell the girls we’ve never been parents before, and we are learning right along with them. And we try to solve things together – I will let Pumpkin know if she needs to listen better, but also will acknowledge that I need to work on my patience.
We are not perfect parents, and we don’t have it all together. But they laugh, they tell us stories, they are excited to see us and spend time with us at the end of the school day. I think these little clues let us know we’re doing alright.