Today I’ve been cold, borderline passive aggressive, and angry with my children.
Yesterday I spent most of the day cleaning out a small creepy dark crawl space in my daughter’s room and transforming it into a magical “fairy space.” This involved cleaning and painting, purchasing lumber and cutting it to size, covering the walls with glitter, purchasing little strands of LED lights to hang around. I re-covered old throw pillows and spray painted drawer/door pulls to match. It’s a very sweet, no longer creepy space for her to be in and she was very excited and surprised last night.
This morning, two of the children wrote on the walls with permanent marker. Of course I envisioned the room as being a place for her to do whatever she wanted, but…I didn’t want it to be that.
I’m frustrated and feeling like my work wasn’t respected. Of course the kids are little – they have no idea how much work it took to transform the space – time is dynamic in their worlds and what was amazing yesterday needed adjustments today. Plus the marker was her way of making it MORE magical. But, but, but…I can’t shake the disappointment.
So here’s the thing: underneath all of this irritation is the Guilt. The gross, heavy Guilt. “I SHOULD be okay with whatever she wants to do since that’s what the space was for.” “Why do I have to be so controlling all of the time?” Why can’t I just be one of THOSE moms who can ride the waves ethereally, just letting their children shape their own spaces?” “Why can’t I welcome this as her way of individuating in her own world?” And finally, “What is WRONG with me?!”
I’m writing this here not because I need a diplomatic voice who can see the other side – my own brain is doing just fine with that. I’m writing this here because I need to give myself permission to just be angry and to understand that the anger is actually masking hurt and the feeling of being taken for-granted. I’m going to own the feelings and ditch the guilt. This is not to say that it’s okay to be cold with my children, but just that it’s okay to own the feelings; that I am allowed to feel hurt. I am their Mother but that doesn’t divorce me from being human and it’s okay for my children to know that.
I originally posted this in an online forum. It seemed to warrant a re-post here.