For one, my kids are no longer the kids that I used to know; they’re smarter than before, and they learned a handful of new skills (I’ve only worked out of the house for four months but four months is like four years in a kid’s life, if you’d remember). I am now faced with logical arguments for the situations that used to be resolved by the answer “No.” I never really expected to be confronted with sentences that start with “But mommy,” or “Why?” I realized that in the time I was away, my kids kept on growing up and learning things whether in school, or on their own. Their changes still astound me.
Secondly, I am now more often bombarded with sudden bursts of “I want to be with mommy” attacks. Somehow, my kids missed me so much that they can’t get enough of me. Even something as simple as a nap should be done with mommy lying beside them till they fall asleep. Yet, it is a paradox as well that when I go out of my way to try and do something with them, I’d get a reply to the tune of “I want to do [insert activity here] by myself”. I am at a loss at times on what to do on these occasions. So, I try to do my thing and let them do theirs. But I still find myself doing something that is opposite what my kids had in mind. It’s frustrating and genuinely insanely driving me crazy.
So instead of tearing myself up about it, I try to be myself as I am. I am still Kuting, and at the same time I am mommy. I try not to beat myself up if I am not up to par with the Martha Stewart-esque moms that I used to think as the epitome of motherhood. I can never be like that. Instead, I am still my old selfish, childish, petty self. I argue with my kids a lot, but they still know I am their mom. I may not be respected in such a way as my parents taught me how a parent should be respected, but I am still loved for who I am and what I am to my kids. I may not be earning my own money now, but at least, I am with my kids every single minute of the day now. And that makes up for more than monetary earnings.
I may not be a great mom, heck I don’t even think I’m that good a mom. What matters to me is how my kids see me, and they see me as mommy: cranky, loving, slacking about, bossy, selfish, petty, forgiving, condescending, sweet, self-deprecating, funny, scary, perfectly imperfect — just plain old mommy. That’s enough.