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Motherhood: How Important Are Feelings?

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As a parent, you are required to set a good example for your children. I teach my children how to be sensitive to others but not to allow their emotions to get out of control. If only I could follow my own advice.

Our family, like many families, is involved in numerous sports and extra-curricular activities. Three nights a week, I load all three boys in the car and haul them and their gear to practice. I remember to have them in the appropriate clothing and bring bats, balls, mouth guards, shoes and other equipment the sport requires. I also need snacks, drinks, books, games or toys to keep the other two boys busy while practice is being held.

Within ten minutes we arrive at practice, the boys all rush to exit the car and run to join their friends on the team. Meanwhile, I unload the stroller, the snacks, the drinks, the chairs, the blanket, the balls, the toys and books and the crying baby. I carry chairs and bags on my back like a camel as I push the heavily loaded stroller down the bumpy hill. Once I reach the other parents, I am winded and tired. I manage to smile as I wipe away the sweat from my face. I now have an hour to chase the baby and keep an eye on my other son as they try to run as far from me as they can. I do not get to watch the practice.

This is my routine three days a week. It would be much easier to stay home but I know the team building skills and exercise is good for my children. I know my sacrifices are worth it. When I see the pride in my son’s eyes when he scores, it is worth it.

Occasionally, our two sons have different games at the same time, on the same day. They both plead with my husband to go with them. No one cares if I am at the game. I am not the chosen parent. They fight with each other over who gets Dad at their game. My heart breaks as my mind rewinds all the nights of practices I endure. I hold back tears as I realize that I am not appreciated. Reality check, they are five and six years old. After all, how important are feelings anyway? I’ll survive.

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Susan

This is a great post and resonates with many women. I am generally the preferred parent of all three of my children. Even when their Dad comes home at night or from a trip and they rush to him joyously, within about ten minutes they all drift back to me. I like it. It can be exhausting, but I like it.

But this doesn't happen all the time - sometimes I get overthrown! I think what you need to remember is that you get overthrown because being with their Dad is a sort of novelty. Kids will focus on who is not usually with them, rather than who is. Mothers often get taken for granted because children don't know life without them. We don't thank our feet everyday because we have never known life without them. We don't go to bed at night thanking heaven for feet. They're just....there. But if we lose one, life will never be the same and we realize how precious feet are, after all.

I promise you, your children need you, want you and adore you. But you are an extension of them, body and soul. They don't have a disconnect with you, like they may your husband. They may not even view you as a separate identity. And this shows just how bonded you are. Embrace that. They will never have another you and you mean the world to them. But I understand that sting, I really do. It's very normal and you're not alone.

Now onto another thing -woman, are you crazy with all these snacks, games, books and toys?! I have two preschoolers and one kindergartner and I pack nothing but an extra sweater and water and make sure everyone has gone to the bathroom first! Let your kids run around without bagfulls of amusements! Go back to the 1970s where kids played in trees and rolled around on grass. If they are bored, it's their own fault! The boogie man isn't likely to attack. Keep an eye on everyone but relax a little. Packing and organization and chugging all that stuff around like you do? I'd go nuts! They don't need all that parentally-driven stimulation. And it's way more work for you than you need! I think you are fantastic to do all of it but it weighs heavily on you, and your kids aren't better off. Relax, don't pack up any of that stuff and let 'em all off rolling in the mud! Yep, even the babe! You will enjoy things more and so will they.

And back to that preferred parent thing: a great line from the Golden Girls - "Motherhood is hard. If it wasn't, fathers would do it."

You are doing a great job!

March 25, 2010 - 12:10pm
(reply to Susan Cody)

Thank you for the kind words. It is nice to be told that you are appreciated (even if it is not by your own kids.) Reading your comments about my preparation for practices really made me take a look at how much effort I put into leaving the house. I think you are right. For an hour or hour and a half practice, I should be able to travel a little lighter. I recently received the same advice from a friend after exhausting myself while packing for a trip. She asked me, "why do you have to pack outfits for everyone each day and organize them in your suitcases? Just pick out 5-7 shirts and shorts, socks, underwear, etc. Only you will notice what they are wearing in their pictures anyway." She was right. Our next trip will not be so stressful to get ready for. I was always a very scheuduled, organized person. Sometimes I think that I was given the gift of children to allow me to learn how to let go of the little things and enjoy life more. Thanks again for the comment.

March 25, 2010 - 2:11pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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