In the darkness of my bedroom, I awake, suddenly gripped with the fear that I'm not doing it right.
During the day, I blaze through the hours a spirit of positivity and enthusiasm. I smile when I'm supposed to. But when the lights go out and my eyelids begin to droop, my mind rewinds to scenarios, comments that have been said to me. Like my daughter saying that when she grows up, she's going to have pictures of her kids all over the house.
I have no pictures. I've always very proudly proclaimed that I don't need my walls plastered with their smiling faces because I have the real thing before me. But that's not a good enough answer. The very lack of effort on my part to hammer a nail into my wall onto which I should have hung a portrait of my children has caused my daughter to doubt me as a mother. I'm not good enough.
I drive my kids to their activities. I talk with them. I congratulate them on good behaviour. I debate with them. I follow the advice they give me. But in the middle of the night, I bolt upright in my bed, and remember that my oldest son told me that he's going to parent so much differently than I am. He's never going to yell at his kids. Gentle parenting, he calls it. Clearly I am not a gentle parent even though I have never laid one finger on them.
I think I'm doing everything right. But at 4am, as I'm tossing and turning, my sleeping pill having long worn off; that sleeping pill, the only remedy which grants me a few hours of respite from my self-indulgent pity, I keep thinking about my 14 year old, and how could I not have known he had ADD? How did I miss this? Instead the child lived in anxiety for 10 years, wondering what he would blurt out during class; walking through the door of our house knowing that within moments, a teacher was going to call to give great details of his misbehaving during class time. Often now he will tell me, "See Mom, I told you I had ADD!" A reprimand.
A friend was having a party. It's a party I've not often attended in the last 8-9 years since she's been having it, because quite honestly, I don't feel like going. Her response when I RSVPed "no" to her invite, "What about the kids? Wouldn't they enjoy it?" My answer, "I don't really care if they'd enjoy it."
I knew I was going to lay awake beating myself up over that one.