Yesterday was a lesson in control. A reminder of how little I have and a challenge to attain much more than I want. It was the Monday at the start of our three-week spring break, and I had to play mom the whole day. That is a role that has some annoying tendencies, but I guess I have no choice but to keep playing my part.
“Children…will you please join us for a family meeting.”
As we sat in the playroom/ husbands’ office I reminded our oldest (at least five times) to stop rocking on the footrest of our rocking chair.
“Hey, Big Sprout, can you PLEASE stop throwing that ball against the wall so we can talk about life for the next three weeks.”
I tried to control the meeting, so that I could get a handle on the schedule for the day and for the entire break. It sounds like I want control, but what I really want is for life to just happen and to enjoy the trip along the way, but because I am the mom in the house, apparently that is not an option. Through the morning, a series of instructions for any and/or all of the sprouts seem incessant.
“Hey, turn off the tv and take your laundry upstairs.”
“No…you cannot have a snack, you didn’t even finish your breakfast.”
“When do you plan on practicing your violin?”
“Did you brush your teeth…this week?”
“Please take your shoes off BEFORE you track mud through the whole house.”
“Stop grabbing your sister.” “I don’t care if she grabbed you first.”
It’s this crazy battle between acceptance of the many things in life over which I will never have control, and having to step in as the one in charge because I am totally supposed to be in control. I don’t want to be “controlling”, but if I don’t take my job seriously, people could deem that my kids are “out of control”, a designation of which I would never be proud. So I do what I can to “get those kids under control” and it rings in my ears like the nagging I cannot stand…but apparently I can’t avoid.
“Big Sprout…you need to put your helmet on for our bike ride.”
“We’re not riding that fast,” he argues. “I’ve gone without it before,” pointing out the mistake I made letting him ride helmetless …just around the lake.
“I know, but your sister needs to have hers on and that way you can ride even faster,” I try to convince him, while in the back of my mind I remember a lifetime of riding bikes without a helmet.
He reluctantly straps the helmet, and I have gained control again. That is… until he decides to ride, with the posture of Eeyore, less than a mile an hour. I completely get it. I understand the angst of children as they grow through the necessary presence of parental control because they want desperately to be in charge of their own lives. I want that too, but that only happens over time…a part of life even moms can’t control.
So I take control of the things I’m supposed to, and when that backfires…well, I open a bottle of wine. I didn’t have control of the fact that schedules collided and Big Sprout was supposed to be in two places last night. It wasn’t in my control that a church commitment had precedence over that district hockey game for him, a game I thought was supposed to be on Tuesday. And I definitely had no control over the fact that the team lost the game, ending their season. I didn’t have a thing to do with the ending of the season, despite my son’s argument that it was my fault, and that is about the time that I went to uncork a bottle and call in the relief mother to finish out the day.
I couldn’t find anyone to take my place…and the sprouts were all in bed anyway, so I sat with hubby, sipping that uncorked bottle of wine (out of a glass of course!) laughing heartily at the movie Hangover. My job as a mother has no substitute, and I wouldn’t want one, but because it is my job to claim and accept responsibility for practically every aspect of our kids’ lives, I am totally taking credit when something goes well!