Welcome back to Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF). We give you a sentence and you finish it (however long or short you’d like). Write a post and link it up, or if you don’t blog, feel free to finish the sentence in the comments for everyone to see.
This week’s sentence is: “I get so frustrated when…”
I get so frustrated when I am faced with a parenting dilemma that causes me to second guess my mothering skills. If you are a parent, you probably know that these situations, in which there are no easy answers, happen regularly. Just when I think I have things figured out, something changes and I am presented with a new scenario that leaves me baffled. Lately I have been struggling with the reality that sometimes I have to prioritize the needs of one of my children over the other. I am afraid it is something I better get used to, and if possible, learn to get really good at. Surely there is a graceful, mindful way to carefully balance the desires and protect the boundaries of each of your children?
It is happening more and more often: my youngest daughter, 16 months old, is becoming annoying, and her older sister, 6 years old, wants a little more separation and privacy. As the oldest child in my own family, I am tuned into the firstborn mentality of craving some time alone or with friends without the pesky younger sibling tagging along. But as the mother of a sweet, eager toddler who is obsessed with her big sister, it breaks my heart to see her standing at the top of the stairs, rattling the gate and crying out to her big sister who has just headed down to play with her friends.
Izzy is a patient, tolerant, loving older sister, and she obviously deserves some time to herself. Lately she has taken to going into her bedroom to play quietly by herself, announcing with the responsibility of the firstborn, that there are “choking hazards” on the floor and Sophie needs to stay out. Fair enough. During these respites from her bothersome younger sis, I try to engage the little one in her own room with toys.
Frustrated and confused, Sophie races down the hallway to her sister’s closed bedroom door. “No-nock!” she bellows, banging her tiny fists against the door. “No-nock!” When I gently remind her, “Sissy’s doing her own work in her room right now. Sissy says No, thank you, you can play later!” she throws herself to the floor in despair and sobs.
As a mother, it hurts, but it is only a small taste of what is to come. Sophie faces years of waiting by the front door while her older sister rushes off to a friend’s house, a school function, or a date with a boyfriend. Izzy is allowed to have things in her life that are just hers, particularly considering the age difference between the two of them.
And Izzy has made plenty of sacrifices herself. I try very hard not to blame Sophie for our social inflexibility, but Izzy has frequently heard, “It’s time to go home-Sophie needs her nap, “ or “We’re not going to go out to dinner- it’s not very much fun to bring Sophie to a restaurant.” As much as we try to give Izzy her special big-kid time by taking her to movies, concerts, or out for treats while the other parent stays at home with Sophie, there have been changes to her life since her sister was born.
Of course there is always a trade-off to any parenting challenge. We get the privilege and pleasure of watching our daughters love each other. For all the moments when Izzy angrily shouts, “SO-PHIEEEE!” there is an equal moment of harmony between the girls. It makes my heart swell to watch my oldest child protect and nurture her sister when we take them places together, and it is so rewarding to see my toddler reach out her arms to her sister and request, “Hug? Siss-siss?”
They really do love each other, and despite their 5 year gap, it is amazing how many things they are able to enjoy together. I credit my mature, nurturing, and enterprising six year old with her ability to find activities that she and her sister can enjoy together. Since Sophie was a baby, Izzy has always created games that she and Sophie could “play” together, even when Sophie could barely hold up her head.
And though I will without a doubt struggle over the years with balancing their needs and protecting their individual space, I will also have the honor of watching their relationship grow and evolve. That is a gift.
*You may recall my post last week about how my husband and I are going out of town for Valentine’s Day weekend- without our kids! Due to his no-blogging mandate, we are having an unplugged weekend. Don’t feel snubbed- I promise to read and comment on your posts when I get back next week!
*Oh, and I am prescheduling this post before I skip town, so if something goes wrong with the LinkyTool below, there will be nothing I can do to fix it! If it doesn’t work, just link up with one of the other hosts, ok?
Your FTSF hosts:
Janine from Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Kate from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?
Dawn from Dawn’s Disaster
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Next week’s sentence is: “Speaking from experience, I’m going to give you a little advice on…”