When my summer nanny sent me a text a few nights ago asking me to talk to my children about the importance of being kind, I damn near lost it. Scratch that, I did lose it.
“I’m doing the best I can!” I cried to my husband. “How in the world am I supposed to work 40 hours a week, put dinner on the table, protect my kids from the ongoing pandemic AND make sure they are NICE!! It’s too hard. It’s too f***ing hard.”
The truth is, my nanny had a point. My kids can be nasty. I’ve lived that every day of my life for the last 7.5 years. They are good kids, but like all kids, they can be a handful —especially for a young nanny who is just trying to make a little summer cash.
But this was the straw that broke my pandemic back.
In the midst of the parenting in a pandemic, I had tried so hard to keep the status quo - to continue to educate my kids, to make sure they got enough exercise, to feed them a balanced diet, so limit their screen time. But this message from someone who had graciously dedicated her summer to watch my children stung. It reminded me that, despite my best efforts, I couldn't do it all. And it confirmed my fear that maybe my best isn’t good enough.
Some days, with the help of my husband and my nanny and my parents, we’ve gotten through just fine. Some might say pretty well. Some days we keep the yelling to a minimum and no one breaks a bone so we deem it a success and get ice cream as a family. Some days, we keep the status quo.
But other days, most days, the tears are endless. And not just from my children. Other days, I put my children to sleep and climb into bed without cleaning the kitchen or saying goodnight to my husband. Other days, I’m not sure how I will make it to the end of the week — as if days, weeks or months have meaning anymore.
The majority of the time I am hanging on by a string. I am on the verge of melting down or blowing up or taking off or some extreme act that I’m sure will traumatize my children.
I think we all are.
I think we’re all trying to do our best in the midst of extreme circumstances. We’re doing our best to raise our kids the right way despite the pandemic that is threatening our lives. And, while we might fail occasionally — or feel like we are failing constantly — we are trying out damndest to not mess this up.
So please don’t come at me right now. And if you do come at me, bring love, bring kindness and for god’s sake, bring wine.