I wonder if I will ever feel that I have done enough for my kids. Will I ever feel satisfied that I have done the best by them and for them, or will I forever be plagued by vague feelings of inadequacy as a parent and provider?
At my very core I think I’m doing a good job, mostly. But day-to-day, doubt and comparison cause me to feel shame, frustration and guilt that my children aren’t as well off as they deserve. I’ve even felt sorry for them, for God’s sake! How seriously screwed up is that? That I feel sorry for these children who have everything they could ever possibly need, and then some. But, there it is – there are times I feel my children deserve a mother other than me – a better mother, someone who deserves those kids because they’re good kids, awesome little people, despite what I do and say to make them otherwise.
I worry that despite my best intentions, I’m making the wrong decisions and choices. It’s no small thing to be responsible for two other lives. It weighs heavily on my mind and my heart. Either I feel I give them too little of something, or too much, whether it be attention, lectures, lessons or possessions. Either way it’s not right.
Every now and then though, I have moments of clarity where I can see that perhaps it’s all balancing out in the end. That the life we are providing our children, although not flash and full of every bauble on display, is still abundant, and rich and layered and marvellous.
On New Year’s Day, we sat down as a family to go over the highlights of the year just past. We had kept a Good Times Jar on a shelf – a place to jot down and store memories as we made them throughout the year. We took turns pulling notes out of the jar and recounting the times we had each chosen during the year as fabulous days. There were picnics with grandmothers, bushwalks, and car rides. Trips to new beaches, making new friends, and going to shows. Holidays in houses and tents and hotels. We became excited remembering different days and activities. We looked up pictures to match the day. And we resolved to do more of those things this year.
It was a reminder of the full family life we lived in amongst the day-to-day stuff. It showed our connection. It reminded both the children and me what a fantastic life we are building and living.
It’s time to fill another jar.