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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Parenting is a Bi-Polar Activity

I'm not quite sure what I was expecting way back when. . .before children made our 'couple' into a 'family.'  I was pretty realistic on most points. . .lack of sleep, constant mess, stinky diapers, and taking 45 minutes to get from the house to the mini-van.

I had few illusions about our lives remaining largely unchanged when kids came into the picture.  I knew things would be altered forever.  And I was thrilled at the prospect.

But I admit that there are several things about parenting I did not anticipate.  One of them I like to call 'Stupid Rules.'  I NEVER anticipated decreeing such gems as "Stop licking your brother's feet!" or "If you put one more lego into your nose OR ears, I will take them away!" or, a personal favorite: "You may not stand on the toilet to watch yourself poo!"

Ah, the life I lead!

More than all of the 'Stupid Rules' we have had to implement (that I never, ever, EVER thought I would be forced to utter), I think I was pretty dang un-prepared for the 'Bi-Polar-ness' of parenting.

We have four kids now, which I know adds to the issue, but even back when we had only one, I noticed this phenomenon beginning.  I could be tired and angry and distraught one moment and then my hazel-eyed beauty would walk into a room and suddenly, I was walking on clouds.

Conversely, I could be having an AWESOME day. . .floating into the house on a wave of joy and chocolate, then come crashing down within seconds at the discovery of one kid in dramatic floods of tears, one kid having ripped his brand new jeans to shreds, one kid freaking out about a school project due the VERY NEXT DAY! (that she had three weeks to do, but hadn't started or mentioned to us) and a final kid guiltily holding a ball and the remaining pieces of my grandmother's antique oil lamp.  Usually, this kind of scene made a slight mood shift for the worst occur.

Sometimes I feel two emotions at once. . .frustration at a child's disobedience, but, even more deeply, grief that the child in question is not achieving her own goals when she chooses non-constructive behaviors.  Sometimes, I am heartbroken when one of our kids weeps for the death of a wild animal, but, secretly, I thrill at their tender and empathetic hearts.

That's when I feel most 'bi-polar.'  I'm manic and still, elated and devastated, energized and exhausted.  All at the same time. Usually several times a day.

I sure didn't know that was coming down the pike.

Did you?

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