Night after night its the same scene in our house, I am frantically trying to scrape together a dinner that is reasonably healthy, quick and budget friendly. Two toddlers hanging off my legs, occasionally injuring themselves or each other and a five year old screaming at me because I won’t let her have a snack a half hour before dinner. I try my best to swollow down the frustration and anxiety it causes and do my darnedest to get the food on the table before one of the little rug rats spontaneously combust.
There..finally its done. Boys strapped into their boosters, daughter taking 15 minutes to wash her hands then stamping to the table grumbling about not being hungry and wanting to play. Funny, when half an hour ago a snack was all that going to keep you from certain starvation. For about a minute there is quiet, I wipe sweat off my brow and manage to dish up my own plate. Then I sit down..and it begins “what IS this??” “It smells funny!” The boys eat a few bites, then forks start flying, sippy cups hit the floor, quickly followed by large quantities of the dinner I worked so hard to make. “I’m not hungry, I don’t want to eat” “if I eat 3 bites can I go?” Every night its a wheel and deal situation, then the twins are spitting out their food and throwing it here, there and everywhere. I’ve had enough, I go in the bathroom and pour their bath in pretense, to hide my tears of frustration.
The boys could care less, they gleefully squeal and toss their food about, smashing utensils and plates against the table, bouncing to the rthym it makes. But my daughter knows, yelling apologies to me . All I can think is one day, one day you will know how it feels, and maybe then you’ll appreciate that I tried. Thats my hope, that I will do my job as a mother and raise you with the respect and appreciation for a healthy home made meal that one should have, that I have from my own mother. I wonder how it was for her, did we do the same thing? Probably. Then my daughter does something that restores my hope in my self, and brings tears back to my eyes.
She goes to the closet and gets out the broom, proceeding to clean the table and sweep up the mess her brothers made. At 5 years old she understood that my frustration stemed from not only the fact that they weren’t eating but also that I would have to clean up this mess, throw away valuable food and she helped me where she could.
All I can truly hope for in my role as a parent is to raise compassionate, caring and independent human beings. The simple act of my daughter trying to make me feel better shows me that maybe I am doing ok.