Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Never Enough?

Parenting, like teaching... and farming and most every other important thing, can never be done "enough". You might plan and cuddle and read chapter after chapter of Roald Dahl or Beverly Cleary and yet it never feels complete, never approaches what you want to give. Lately I've been experiencing these parenting pangs keenly. The snow days have piled up and I have gotten (I'll admit) a bit grumpy and stir crazy. These feelings are always followed by more than a little guilt and flashbackwards visions of what I might have done differently: some wonderful and creative project, both educational and special... But nooooo, I had to clean out the cupboard or sweep the floor or declutter the thousands of pairs of snowpants and mittens in the doorway and worse, I had to gripe while doing it. I could have been more patient, more understanding when Joe splurted the catchup all over the table or Micah went off on one of her wild and silly tangents or Anna tossed peanut shells all over the freshly swept floor. I could have. But I wasn't. Or wasn't enough. And the snow kept piling up and there we were inside all day with not much to show for it. (Is this depressing yet?)

Well, it snowed all weekend here in Western Mass, but this time around it was actually quite nice. I fell into a nice mellow groove and spent oodles of time with the kids doing crafty, homey little projects, even reacquainted myself with knitting. (I began learning to knit a few years ago then stopped after the kids started conducting "seek and destroy" missions on my poor little newbie washcloth project) My new newbie washcloth project, with the generous and patient help of Meta from Shelburne Falls' Metaphor Yarns, is going just swimmingly. And Micah (My oldest) was interested enough to learn along with me. She picked it up about 100x faster than I did!
The kids and I also made "rope" bracelets out of colorful cotton yarn, beaded bracelets, and the cousins came over and we felted "pockets" and fairy scarves. We even felted some of our homemade soaps! Dan, undeterred by the cold wet outdoors, chopped and hauled wood and rode around on the ATV ("Plowing", he calls it.) and then made a terrific chicken soup.

Funny how the weekend snow days, especially when all of us are home rather than one harried adult and three kids, are really nice.

It's snowing again-- In fact we're expecting a snow storm tonight... and possibly yet another snow day tomorrow. The girls and I spent about three hours this afternoon making homemade Valentine's Day cards and split pea soup and beer bread. (Well, I did most of the cooking while they cluttered up the table with bits of red and pink paper, magazine clippings, pom-poms, stamps and inkpads. Joe hung nearby, alternately pummelling his superhero punching bag and making one beautiful glittery Valentine heart.)

If we're stuck inside tomorrow, I'll dig deep into the creative crafty mother reserves and come up with something fun and make an effort to do all those wonderful creative things I aspire to... And of course, it won't be quite as creative and mothery and wonderful as I'd hoped. But it will be the best I can manage just then and perhaps that is enough.


Christy said...

Being home with my son everyday I do understand what you are talking about. We have great days and we have days I just want him to leave me alone and let me do my own thing. Overall, we strick a happy medium.

Jenn said...

Perri, m'dear, you are a WONDERFUL mom! You do so many really cool things with your kids. At the very least, consider yourself lucky that you didn't get fed the line Alex asked me yesterday: "Mom, are you more grumpy than usual, today?" Sigh ...