Keep Calm and Eat Spaghetti

Tonight I reached an entire new level on this adventure I call motherhood; I made dinner based on what dishes were clean. 2 bowls, 1 plate, and a plastic princess bowl. This week has been crazy. Every week is crazy. The sink overflowing with dishes. It’s OK though, it matches what I think might be a laundry hamper. I’m certain it’s under there somewhere.

Spaghetti saves the night once again. I appreciate its versatility of being able to be eaten from a bowl or plate. It’s a little bit of magic at the end of this incredibly long day. Most of my family will be happy with the meal selection and one will not. He’s learned to not complain about it and I am grateful. I need something uncomplicated today. I want a sign that reads, “Please excuse our mess, Mom has been busy…for awhile”

As I was cooking dinner, my oldest assumed his position on the other side of the counter pacing and telling me about all the things on his mind. This is our time. Despite all the stresses in his life this is the time he talks about everything calmly, like I am a peer. It’s a nice change from the last two nights. We’ve been arguing a lot lately. It’s not been easy. It’s not been fun. Life as a teenager is complex. Mom of a teenager is hard. I am new to the later.

I glance at the clock as I drain the noodles. So much for my goal of eating dinner before 7. It never happens. I vow to reach my goal tomorrow as I make my way to pull my pre-teen out of hibernation and join the family. I have faith in me. I am capable of anything I want and I really want to eat dinner before 7. I also really want my daughter to be more engaged with the family.

She’s been struggling since switching schools. Logistically, she had to switch schools. We made a decision to try a charter school and the change hasn’t been pleasant. In fact, it’s been awful. I made the change hoping and praying that it would be the change needed to make some positive changes. I made a mistake and my kids are paying the price. I’ve got to do something about that.

My husband emerges from his office. We discuss our schedules and determine that if we want to spend time together today we both would need to work from our laptops on the couch. Work is beautifully busy and he is supportive. I am lucky and I miss him when our work lives keep us apart.

This Mom gig isn’t easy. No one told me how much I would cry, how there would be days that I feel so defeated that hiding under a rock (or my closet –which isn’t even big, by the way!) seems like a very enticing option. Or, that the criticism and praise that I receive from my children would be far more significant than any corporate annual review.

Some nights I lay awake making a mental checklist of everything I will do better tomorrow. Sometimes I lay awake concerned that my son won’t find his way or my daughter won’t see her worth. Sometimes I lay awake praying, with many tears, for more patience. I will beat myself up over the fact that my daughter has hid her homework all year. I will take personal responsibility over the fact that my son refuses to eat lunch. I will feel frustrated and Google the night away about parenting methods.

This week has been tough. However, among all the chaos we had the sweet moments. After two days of fighting, my son gave me a hug and told me that he was sorry. He also told me that I have beautiful singing (He sure knows the way to his mama’s heart)! He hugged his sister while she cried about the kid who insists on taunting her. My daughter told me that she hopes we are always best friends while ⁷we chatted about our upcoming projects. More importantly, we ended the day with me sandwiched between my kids and husband watching Stranger Things. It’s worth it.

I realize more than ever that all relationships have highs and lows, the relationship with my children included. We go through our lows and it will either break us or make our relationship stronger. I pray for the strength of it all. More importantly, I pray to find acceptance with the imperfect. I’m frequently asked, “how do you do it?” Please know that I have somehow found just enough acceptance in eating spaghetti at 8pm from a plastic princess bowl.

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