I think as Mamas we are super sensitive about whether we’re doing this whole mothering thing “right”.
Will our kids grow up to be kind, functional adults? Or, will they be damaged beyond repair because of our inadequacies as a parent?
And, so we tend to turn each little molehill into a mountain: Oh, no! I yelled at my child during dinner, now they’ll probably have eating issues forever! My child didn’t potty train as soon as my friends’ kids did, he will most likely be slow for the rest of his life!
It is true that motherhood IS important. And, while we’re in the midst of it, we feel the vital nature of doing it right to the very depth of our core.
One of my blow-it-out-of-proportion issues was sibling rivalry. Each of my kids had a completely different personality type and that meant they had different needs as well. Some needed peace and quiet, some needed constant activity and noise, and some needed a combination of the two. Trying to create an environment that would keep each child happy and out of each other’s hair almost drove me batty.
In my own birth family, we were never taught to get along with each other and my relationship with my siblings is fractured to this day. It broke my heart to think that my kids might have the same experience. So, I tried really hard to give my kids the tools they needed to get along, not only with their siblings but with the world in general. And, while they learned to treat the rest of the world kindly, they continued to fight with each other. I mourned the “fact” that they would probably never be close.
Often, it is only when we look back that we can see the things we stressed and cried over, and laid awake worrying about, really weren’t as big a deal as we thought they were.
A few days ago, on a normal Saturday, I had an “ah-hah” moment. As I was stuck in bed, I had the gift of time to watch life swirl around me. And, what I saw made me smile.
My kids’ lives are busy and they cherish the few hours they get with nothing planned. But, on this day instead of relaxing, they all chose to support each other. My middle daughter left her baby with her husband and drove over to her sister’s to pick up her niece for a one-on-one auntie/niece date. My eldest daughter had a few hours without kids and she spent them at her brother’s helping him redecorate his study.
This is actually often the case now. They celebrate every holiday and birthday with each other. They support and love each other. And, their kids have the added benefit of aunts and uncles who love them fiercely.
It took a while, but this is the family I always dreamed of having and it would have been nice if I hadn’t wasted so much time fretting over sibling rivalry when they were young.
So, if you have a family of strong-willed children with completely different personalities too, don’t give up. The lessons you give them on how to get along are important. But, please also give yourself grace. And, rest in the knowledge that with the right tools, your kids will get along eventually. It just might not be today!