Marathons are for Mothers

Being a parent is like training for a marathon. Or at least I think it is since I’ve never run one (more on that some other time). You must build stamina and endurance, think positive to push for that extra mile, and don’t let the bad training days get you down. Because crossing the finish line is priceless. But where is the finish line for parents?

Lately, my mother marathon training isn’t going well. My mental endurance is tapped, my energy level is low, and I’ve hit a wall. My consistent effort to do the right thing is met with consistent resistance, and I am tired of being labeled the bad guy for trying to teach my kids to be good. 

Go away, GUILT
I also have a cloud hovering over this mental exhaustion called GUILT. She follows me like a shadow, appears in the shower with me when I take that extra-hot-water-minute, or sleep in on the weekends past 7. GUILT doesn’t allow me to peacefully do what my conscience tells me to, and she doesn’t allow me to dole out tough love without quickly stabbing my heart. Ah GUILT. My constant companion since my first child was born.

I do turn into a psycho bitch occasionally when I reach the point of no return. Playing the lawyer and defending my actions with my kids can get tiring. After a tennis match of arguments, it eventually will dawn on me that I don’t have to defend myself to them – and bloody hell, I’m doing this because I love them. So I lose it, and sometimes, I lose it big. Then GUILT slaps me hard. Sometimes, I want to stop this mother marathon training. Sigh.

Love, love, love
But here’s the thing — I love my two girls so much, and cannot imagine my life without them. Every day I do my damned best to make sure they are well fed, clean, safe, healthy and happy.  Every day I try to teach them to be kind and respectful. Every day I try to read their minds and actions to make sure they are happy inside, no matter what the outside says. Every day I try to listen to their words and be sure I understand what they really mean. And every day I try to make sure they know that I love them, especially if we say many angry words to each other. It’s just that on many days, I simply don’t have the energy, patience or wherewithal to DO all these right things (SHUT UP GUILT).

What would it be like to have just one day without the cares of being a mother? And be free of the worry, the responsibilities, and of GUILT. It could be like my rest day when I don’t train.

Till I die? Really?
So how do I train for this mother marathon? I know many other mothers (and fathers) go through this daily. But knowing this doesn’t make it any easier. Or strengthen my mental endurance. Recently after yet another battle, my teary apologetic younger daughter asked me why I decided to have children. I said I wanted to love a child or two, and because the world needs more good people. Is that my finish line? When I can witness what kind of people my children turn out to be? 30-40 years from now? Or right up till I die? That’s a long time to be training.

I clearly need to increase my stamina and endurance. I need to introduce a new element to my training regime to shake things up.

HUMOR! WHERE ARE YOU?

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