I was recently told that I was one of “those” Moms, and we were one of “those” families that look like they have it all together and are doing it all! I was shocked and I guess a little flattered. If you know me, then you know we are not one of “those” families. I quickly corrected this vision of our family by stating all of the things we struggle with. However as I thought about it later, I realized for every area I am “failing” in I have an area I am doing pretty great in too! I think the reality of parenting (in our case three young kids) is that you have to make choices and prioritize what you want for their childhood and what you can live with or without.
Most days are a struggle, we usually always have two parents at home all day to manage all three kids and I do not take all three out (particularly for errands) alone. I despise making meals, and rarely do it regularly. I used to be a clean freak and now I struggle to maintain as clean of a bathroom as possible because I need at least one clean room and that’s the smallest (plus come on, who wants a dirty bathroom). I try to continuously run laundry but have yet to ever fully catch up, and its more out of necessity (kids need clean clothes, mom ran out of underwear, Rowen has no more uniforms left, etc). We are always outnumbered and try our best to enjoy our often challenging days.
Families are funny things, I love to brag about mine because lets face it they are pretty great… but the behind the scenes and the everyday can be tough. Some days are great and smooth and amazing, but some days just aren’t. Plus no family is what it seems, or so I am learning. We have learnt that you cannot expect anything from family, you can work hard at creating what you want but it is not a given. Parents can disappoint you, siblings can be best friends or the opposite, kids can surprise you and family can go above and beyond when you really need it and least expect it. Family can be more than people who are blood related. We are lucky in our life to have created a large group of diverse people we call our family, a mixture of blood relatives and by choice family.
I thought I would ask the kids what family meant to them, and these were the answers I got… Grace says “Families take pictures together, hmmm maybe not the dogs. Families are together.” Rowens answer was “A family is when the kids are with their Mom and Dad, that is what a family is called.” Eleanor says “Families are like colours, some people are in my family like Elsa and Anna.” So, I guess we might work on that? Lol, a good start to them learning what a family is.
We are a “typical” family, we can be loud, we scream at our kids or react in ways we aren’t proud of, we can be messy and stressed and all that life stuff! But amongst all the crazy we are happy and healthy and love each other. The kids have a warm bed, food to eat, clothes to wear and parents that love them and support them. Usually the bed and clothes are clean, sometimes they wear warm enough clothes, we try to make the food nutritious but we always love them. Most of all we try to take advantage of the time we can spend with them and make it count when we can.
So, if you scroll my instagram and see us having fun know that was one minute of amazing… there were a million other minutes of all sorts of different things.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, is our super crazy day. It starts with school drop off, every child is at school Tuesday mornings but at three different schools. So Rowen is in Richmond for 9am, Grace at Lil’ Saints in Ladner at 8:45 and of course Eleanor in Beach Grove for 9am. Fraser is taking a pottery class downtown and it starts at 10am. Eleanor needs to be picked up for 11:30 in Tsawwassen. Rowen is picked up in Richmond at noon, and of course there are weeks like last week where I had an 11am meeting with his therapists to go over his goals and progress, and then off to take Row to Sacred Heart so he can finish the afternoon at school At least the afternoon slows down just school pick ups and swimming lessons… just a typical day???
I wouldn’t change it, I absolutely love that I am able to pick up and drop off my kids, meet and chat with their teachers and therapists and get involved with school and any other programs. I am proud that Fraser decided to take a class he has been interested in for a while and made time for himself and despite it being a busy day I am so glad we do swim lessons because our kids love it and it is such a great end to our day. It is not lost on me the privilege it is to be able to do this for them. However it all comes with a cost, there is no one way to raise a family and there is no right way to do it, no matter how badly I wish there was.
I think what I realize is I will continue to do me, I will parent for the kids and family I have and do the best I can. I will be grateful for the choices and life we have and try to find the bright side of our situation. I will also give myself some grace for the tough moments, days, weeks and times. I want to try to remember this when enviously watching another family do it differently. It is so easy to see someone else’s life and think it is easier or better, but I think that is rarely the case. It is just different.
So whatever your family looks like, and however you spend your days I hope it was a great one! Happy Family Day.