What’s your most urgent priority for the rest of the year?
That was my first-thing-that-popped-into-my-head answer. And it is a priority, I suppose, but that’s not my final answer. I’ll start again.
The truth is, I don’t know. I used to be a planner, and in some ways, I still am. But not with my life as a whole. More like I have everything planned out for the kitchen remodel that my husband is supposed to do sometime before I fucking die. But as far as planning and prioritizing things in my life, I come up empty.
So I walked away from this post and gave it some thought. A lot of thought. And here’s my answer.
Be a better mother… for the rest of the year and beyond.
I have no fucking clue how I’m going to accomplish this because to do so, I need to be better myself. It’s near impossible to give my kids a happy and healthy life when I don’t have one myself.
I’m not setting a good example. It’s a ‘do as I say, not as I do‘ situation. And that’s hard for them to swallow. How can I expect them not to learn from me? Kids learn from their parents whether what they learn from them is good or bad. [I don’t know how to explain my situation, though. I was very fortunate… my mom is amazing, but I didn’t get that amazingness (is that a word?) from her. I got some of it, I think, but I have medical conditions (depression, anxiety) that leave me as I am instead of more like her. And/or I’m just a fuck-up.]
I need to get out of my own head and refocus. I can’t go back in time, but I need a reset. Amnesia would probably be good for me.
If anything goes wrong for my kids, my first instinct is to try to fix it. They need a mom not a fixer. I can’t fix everything for them, and I shouldn’t anyway. My job is to teach them how to handle things on their own. And to teach them that everything can’t be fixed—we have to bend and adapt to move forward.
I catch myself [usually after it’s too late] applying their situation to my own life [self-absorbed], and I proceed to tell them how I would deal with it. Wrong! They don’t need to know what I’d do [especially since I made so many mistakes]. They need to be themselves and figure it out on their own. If they ask for help, I’m here for them. But I can’t go into a whole thing about my past experience. That’s not what they need. And I don’t want them to be like me anyway! I do see some similarities already, and that’s my fault—because of genetics or learned behavior. I have so much guilt.
I also need to give them hope—to teach them to be hopeful and optimistic and excited for their future. This is especially difficult for me because I have no hope to give. Somehow, I need to find some, though, because they need me to have it.
So maybe my more urgent priority is to work on myself because being a better mother is going to be quite a challenge if I don’t get myself in a better place first. But I need to hurry the fuck up. Problem is… I don’t think I’m worth it, whereas my kids are. But it’s all connected.
p.s. — I probably should have said that getting a job is my most urgent priority. But I’m not sure it is. And I don’t know if that’s right or wrong. Part of me still thinks survive is the real answer… but mothering is a weakness for me.