I have fibromyalgia and Sjogren’s Syndrome: a cousin of lupus that my husband refers to as “some guy’s syndrome,” so feel free to promptly forget what it’s called. Both of these are chronic illnesses that work together to make me feel achy, tired, and overall just a wee bit cranky. And overwhelmingly lazy. Don’t forget lazy. “But Peryl,” you might ask, “weren’t you lazy before you were diagnosed with two chronic illnesses?” Well yes, I may have been. But if that’s relevant, it’s only because I had already realized a few secrets that all parents need to know. Given my conditions, I know with certainty that I’m never going to be the mom that stays up until midnight making 600 cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale. I’m not going to be president of the PTA while maintaining a full time job and running mommy-and-me triathlons in my spare time. I won’t be coaching soccer teams and I won’t be sewing a classroom full of turnip costumes for the school musical.
And at first, this bothered me. I wondered if it meant that I wasn’t measuring up as a parent. But then I realized something key and life changing. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing half-assed. This translates roughly as:
- Kids prefer Safeway cupcakes.
- My husband knows how to operate the dishwasher and the washing machine.
- My kids love me just as much when I’m lying on the couch watching Scooby-doo with them as when I’m planning an educational field-trip to a pick-your-own asparagus and butter-churning festival. (Probably more.) And,
- I can’t coach soccer games, but I’m darn good at watching them.
At a certain age, probably earlier than we think, kids understand that there are times when mommy is not up to playing. Or cleaning. Or giving them a bath more than once a week. And they don’t mind. In fact, they can be remarkably sympathetic. When I have a particularly bad run with debilitating cramps in my legs, my older son will greet daddy with “Be extra nice to mommy. She has crabs again.” Cramps, son, cramps.
The point is that we all have our limitations, and it’s okay to respect them. So what if my car is so messy that my kids’ friends are literally in awe of it. So what if my kids are confused by the term “home cooking.” And so what if I do only what I can. It’s enough. My kids don’t want the turnip sewing, PTA-ing, triathaloner (bless her, I’m sure she’s a lovely person) as a mom. They want me.
Photo Credit: Vince Alongi