Mothering is not for the faint of heart. I’d say parenting, but right now, I’m going to do a little gross generalization, and assume that what’s true for Marc and I is true for all parents. Because I seem to worry about everything a LOT more than my husband does. It’s not that I love the kids more, because I don’t. I know that they are the very center of Marc’s world, and that he cares about them as much as I do. But I worry and agonize over them a lot more than he does.
I worry all the time about their character, their morality. I want them to be brave and bold and kind. Giving, gentle and sweet. Confident, capable, responsible. But mostly, I want them to be kind. I like kindness. It’s sort of my thing. Some parents want financial success, ambitious kids, some kids want them to follow in their religious shoes, or to vote the same way they do. I don’t care about that. I want them to be kind. I want nice kids. They can be dirt poor, or staggeringly wealthy – I hope that money isn’t what they use to define their worth. They can celebrate Rosh Hashana or Christmas or Beltane, I don’t care – I’d like them to feel a connection to the Divine, however it manifests itself is fine. I don’t care if they vote for a Democrat or a Republican, I’d like them to vote and to care one way or another, but which one? I’m good with whatever. But mostly, I’d just like for them to be kind. To be good people, who think about others, and want to make the world a better place.
And when they’re not – when I’m forced to confront the fact that they, sometimes, just ARE NOT KIND, but are in fact, kind of mean spirited and selfish and nasty to one another, I can’t help but feel like I’ve failed as a mother. And I’m baffled by it, how do you teach kindness? I can teach them to not hit each other, I can teach them to stop throwing temper tantrums and to eat their vegetables and make their beds. I can teach them to use their manners and brush their teeth and speak respectfully to adults. But kindness? How does one teach that? Modelling good behavior isn’t working as well as I’d hope – I’m kind. I’m a nice person. Marc is, hands down, the nicest person I’ve ever met. He’s way nicer than I am, and I’m wicked nice. And sometimes, my kids are just nasty to one another.
Ugh. Just a bad day overall today. Julianna is teething, and screamed for a good half hour this morning. Then screamed for another twenty minutes while I brushed Jessie’s hair. And Jessie – man, I adore that child, Jessie was not in the best frame of mind today and was just randomly cruel to her little brother. Who was innocent and confused, and it just spiraled out from there. I’m still sick enough to feel like I’d be better off in bed, and everyone’s getting anxious and stressed about going back to school.
Definitely not a morning I’d like to repeat.