I’m nesting. There’s no other word for it. For years, I’ve swallowed my OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) tendencies in order to get along with my children (otherwise, I’d spend all day yelling at them for things being out of place). Now, I crave order. A place for everything and everything in its place.
I crave the smells of a clean home. I crave the ability to spend time with my children. For the first time in my adult life, I fight with trying not to throw work into the wind and play with the kids.
I love them, you see. They’re so very important to me, and I’m watching them grow from the sidelines. I want to spend my days nurturing, raising and teaching them. How frustrating. My life – the dreary, always busy, always working life that has been my comfort zone for so long – is changing, and I want to embrace those changes fully. – And I can’t.
Fear holds me back.
See, spending time with my kids has its drawbacks. I can feel their need – the need for attention, for love, for acknowledgement, for nurturing. I feel it, and it draws at me. It sucks at me continually, because their need is so great, and there’s only one me.
C sums it up pretty well, I think. “I’m afraid I’ll never have a dad and I’ll be stuck with just you – and you’re a really weird mom. I mean, you’re mom and all, and I love you, but you try to be dad, too, and you’re just… not.”
To be honest, I’ve spent more time with my children over the past two months than I had a long time. I’m learning more about them; learning how to observe and pay attention to what their body language says. I’m learning how to read their eyes and the twitches of their faces. They all talk a lot, but I’m learning to pay attention to what they don’t say, because it’s often so much more important than the words that come out of their mouths.
And what they say is frightening. They each have an idea of what a mom is, and they’re three separate ideas. They all need my time, attention and love – individually and collectively. They all need an Individual Education Program, because, wouldn’t you know it, they’re individuals with different needs. They all need me in their own ways; I feel it, and I know it, and I’m suffocating with it.
I know I’m never going to be able to live up to their ideals of a mother, but there are worse fears, really. What if me working leaves them feeling unloved and ignored? What if, by my horrible examples, I lead them the wrong way and give them a twisted perception on life? What if, when they grow up, they look at me and wish they’d had a different mother?
Then there’s the worst fear of all – what if they wake up? What if they realize I’m not anything like the person they think I am, and that I’m much meaner and nastier inside than anyone notices?
That’s really my biggest fear. Exposure. People talk about how nice, friendly and happy I am. Sometimes people ask my opinion, and I’m afraid my answer will show how much I don’t know. Compared to the available knowledge in the world, if it were a glass of water, the amount I know wouldn’t even be a drop. I’m not nice. I’m not friendly. I’m not gentle, caring or kind.
Now, let me ask you. What kind of example is that for children? How can I expect them to have a good life and grow up to be an “upstanding member of society” when I am. So. Not.
Maybe these are fears every parent has. I’m often reminded that the things I worry about and struggle with aren’t unique to me. However, no parent that I’ve talked to has ever expressed those fears. Normally, the worries most parents talk about are things like, “I wish they’d listen to me.”
Maybe, just maybe, I am the sum of my insecurities and worries, and I need to just, “let go and let God.” Maybe, I need to realize that I am who and what I am, and all I can be is the best I can be. Nobody can expect more, right?
Wrong – I expect more. I want to be more for my children. I want to be more than I am, better than I am, more loving, caring and nurturing than I am.
I hope it’s possible, but even the hope is scary. I’m afraid to hope. It brings its own set of fears… at this exact time in my life, there’s so much hope and love in my heart I’m paralyzed with it. I’ve stepped from being afraid to terror and out the other side. Saturday night, I sat on my porch after midnight and cried, because of how much hope and love I feel, and how simply, completely, unprepared I am to face it and embrace it.
So I hope that, eventually, I can willingly and opening – wholeheartedly – accept the needs and demands my loved ones make on me. That I can accept those needs with open arms and a loving heart, meeting them with confidence and love instead of fear.
It seems like such a long road to walk, looking from the beginning of the road, where I’m at right now. God willing and with His help, I’ll make it to the end, but there are a lot of steps in between… which is why life is, and always will be, a work in progress.