A life, simplified

Child:
Stop doing that and pay attention to me.
Stop driving and look at me.
Stop eating and do for me.
Stop talking and listen to me.
Stop sleeping and comfort me.
Stop reading and play with me.
Stop thinking and focus on me.
Stop being you and do what I need.

Parent:
I have to give them what they need.
I want to give them what they want.
Only what’s helpful.
What’s helpful?
Only what’s reasonable.
What’s reasonable?
Only what’s appropriate?
What’s appropriate?
Only what they need.
What do they need?
Almost everything they want.
But is it too much?
But is it enough?
But is it too much?
But is it enough?
No. But it’s all I can.
But is it enough?
Is it too much?
Is it enough?
No.

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13 thoughts on “A life, simplified

  1. Exactly what I am ruminating now after my son told me I am a bad/irresponsible mother (because his clothes were not folded and in his dresser and ahem he’s 12) and then proceeded to beg me to let him stay up so he could finish watching 30 Rock. But your version is so much more poetic. And to the gut.

    To the gut. Everything they say to you is going to be to the gut. Below the belt. I wish I were truly nonchalant.

  2. subWOW, being nonchalant is one of my dreams. I dare not make it a goal, because come on, who am I kidding? But it must be amazing, no? That whole “going with the flow” thing? The “laid back” descriptor?
    I wouldn’t know.

  3. Yes, this.

    I am never enough, but I’ve decided that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Otherwise it would be different. (I am allowed to use circular reasoning to maintain sanity, it’s in my contract.)

  4. Can I just say yes? Especially to that brilliant last ‘No’ at the very end.
    I’ve been commenting less because all I can think of to say to so many of your posts is yes, me too, you said that so well, exactly… and so on.
    So yes, I totally get this post and feel it with all of my kids’ ups and downs and needs and demands and my own self-doubt and parenting angst and exhaustion.

  5. Oh, the endless inner monologue that is a prerequisite for mothering these children we love so much…But the questions never end, they just change. The desire and willingness to do what’s best and the knowledge that no, we are never enough for all their needs, for all their demands. Yet, we are. We are a living paradox…

  6. Yes, YES it’s enough. If you’re worn to the quick, it’s enough. If you try all the time, it’s enough. There’s no perfect scoring in this event, but there is A for effort. And effort, my friend, you have in spades.

  7. I’m printing this and putting it on my bathroom mirror. What a brilliant summary of life as I know it. Can you read minds?

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