It seems as though my children love me so much that they don't like to nap if they know I'm home. Apparently, I'm such an awesome mother that they just want to be with me all. of. the. time. At least, this is what I'm telling myself.
Last Tuesday, Cait and JP were here and watched the kids while I went to the gym. When I came home...the kidlets were napping! And it was a good, long nap, too. Cait ended coming up again on Wednesday and I half-jokingly said she should get her in time for nap so that she could put the kids down. I "went out" (at first it was supposed to just be a drive around the block, but actually did end up going to Target) in time for the kids' nap and, lo and behold, they took another one! I was starting to get a little bit of a complex. Wah, wah, poor me, my kids won't sleep for me, what am I doing wrong?! Then I adopted the attitude that I'm just so awesome that they never want to be without me (although, bedtime sleeping is not an issue at all...except for when they get up before the asscrack of dawn and refuse to go back to sleep).
On Saturday, I again left the house just around naptime and J was able to get the kids down for a solid couple of hours. They still need the rest, maybe not every day, but clearly they need it (especially Liam). I hate having to actually leave my own home in order to have my kids get rest, but I'm willing to play along a few days a week (as long as there's someone here who's able to put them down...they won't let Nana put them down to nap because she's even more awesome than I am).
Lately I've been having a hard time. As much as I love and adore my children, they were driving me insane and I've been short tempered and not at all the mother I want to be. I was beginning to feel pretty lost in the land of motherhood and ashamed of my feelings of frustration and exasperation. I know that every parent feels this way from time to time, but I tend to add an extra serving of guilt on top of my emotions because motherhood is the only thing I've ever truly wanted and when life gets frustrating or overwhelming I feel like an utter failure. How could I be so terrible at the only dream I've ever had? It only adds to the frustration and sense of defeat that I sometimes feel.
Que last Saturday: when I left the house in order to give J a chance to put the kids down, I had no intention of going anywhere. In fact, the only thing I was doing was trying to avoid getting another Diet Coke from McD's. As I was driving down the street, I came upon the library. A fleeting thought crossed my mind to pop in. I'm not a huge fan of the Concord Public Library. It's too small and a very distracting place. But, I made a quick decision that, if I could find a parking space, I'd go in for a minute or two. There was an open spot nearby, so I pulled in. I didn't really have anything in particular that I was looking for.
It crossed my mind to check out the parenting section for books on potty training since it's a big topic of discussion around here (the toddler half of the discussion usually being: "No, I don't need to go on the potty!"). I have a couple of good resources, and the Internet is chock-full of ideas, so I wasn't really invested in my browsing. I was merely killing time.
Or so I thought.
J called, pretty much as soon as I'd walked through the door, to say that they coast was clear (and I was only gone ~ 10 minutes!), but I thought I'd look around since I was already there. Screw the potty training books, I ended up with a great selection of books. Then I happened across one last book. What got me was the subtitle: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children. OK, I thought, I'll give it a shot. I began reading it that night at the gym (an ironic place to read a book about mindfulness). IT'S FABULOUS and just what I needed to read at this point in my life and in my journey of motherhood. I'm only 30 or so pages into the book, but I already feel so. much. better. Years ago, when I motherhood was a mere dream, I purchased the book Buddha Mom and began to read it in the hopes of approaching parenthood with calm and peacefulness. I never finished the book, though, and it's somewhere up in my bedroom, I'm sure. I may just have to revisit it after I finish Buddhism for Mothers. I can be a little turned off by all of the squishiness that seems to stem from a lot of Buddhist devotees, but I absolutely believe that elements of Buddhism dovetail nicely with Catholicism. I think, for instance, that mindfulness is really just a way of living the golden rule. Being aware of your surroundings, being open to what life has to teach you in any and every instance, just makes sense.
In our insanely busy world, in our lives that can be ruled by schedules and technology, we've learned to not pay full attention to pretty much anything - even when we think we are. I'm not saying that I'm enlightened all of a sudden, but I have been reminded to slow down, to look around, and to remember what's important.
This is exactly what I need right now.