I'm a work in progress as a mom. I was pretty good from the get go, I'll admit it. I'm the oldest of four (or six, depending on how you count step siblings) and I've got legions of cousins for whom I was the primo babysitter. I've got ten nieces and nephews (nine of whom were born before I had Jessica). I'm good with the basics. I knew the mechanics. But having one of my own, let alone three, is a whole different story.
I worry that I spoil them too much, I also worry that I yell at them too much. I worry that I give Jess too much responsibility, and then I worry that I baby her too much. I worry that Sam gets away with murder and that Julianna will never settle into a normal nap routine. I agonize over bribing Jess to do her homework while feeling secretly proud that I've figured out how to get it done without both of us dissolving into a sobbing mess.
I think I'm good at this. I think I'm a good mom. I think I'm pretty good at trusting my instincts, balancing out what I know with what I feel, figuring out what they need versus what they want. I struggle with paying attention to each one - making sure that each child feels loved and special and valued, while also teaching them that they aren't the center of the universe and sometimes, lots of times, you have to consider others' needs before your own.
I'm feeling vaguely introspective tonight. And tired - because Julianna has embraced teething with a vengence and has started waking up several times a night and fussing. Adding in Jessie with a nightmare or two and I feel like I didn't get any sleep at all last night.
All in all, though, things are well with my little family. We're happy. Dare I say, even peaceful. Jess and Sam can still scream it out with a major battle, but in the end, they do like each other. And they flat out worship Julie. Nights for me are relaxing and calm. And I'm never, never blind to the fact that it's an incredible blessing. My family is safe and warm, well fed, and healthy. Tonight - I'm grateful for the opportunity to wonder if I'm doing it all right, because I know, deep down inside, that what Marc and I have created, this family, it's so much better than I ever dreamed it could be.