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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Misdirected Frustration

The girls and I went strawberry picking again yesterday. I picked another 4 pints of fresh strawberries while DearDaughter1 enjoyed exploring the patch and DearDaughter2 "socialized" with her little playdate.

DearFriend K invited the girls and I over today to make strawberry jam out of the strawberries we picked. I needed to run to the gym first so I told DearFriend K that we'd be over after my morning swim. We normally return home after my swim because it's usually DearDaughter2's morning naptime by that time. Since I knew we'd be going directly to DearFriend K's house, I packed everything DearDaughter2 would need for her naptime and I set up DearDaughter2's Pack N Play immediately after we arrived at DearFriend K's house. As I prepared to put DearDaughter2 down I realized I forgot her sleep sack, a sleeping necessity that she cannot sleep without. Initially, it seemed as if DearDaughter2 would fall asleep, but after a few minutes, she let out a loud cry. After 2 more attempts of trying to put DearDaughter2 down, I decided to keep her up. Because she did not get her nap, I knew she would be a hand full.

I was also prepared to keep DearDaughter1 entertained. I brought her a Care Bears DVD that we borrowed from Blockbuster last night and a box of Goldfish. Since the video was 88 minutes long, I thought a baggie full of Goldfish and a cup full of juice in front of the tube would keep her occupied for at least 88 minutes. About 20 or 25 minutes into the DVD and after eating all her Goldfish and drinking all her juice, DearDaughter1 got bored. She came into the kitchen whining and begging me to play with her. When I didn't pay her the attention she wanted, she whined louder and bisbehaved.

At this time, things became a juggling act for me. I was going from the kitchen, trying to watch and listen to my jam making lesson, to calming a fussy and tired DearDaughter2, and to finding activities that would occupy DearDaughter1 without having me by her side every second. After about 45 minutes of this juggling act and the girls growing more and more whiny and fussy, I finally lost my patience and told DearFriend K that it was time for us to leave. I quickly packed everything up and left, but before we left, I asked DearDaughter1 to apologize to DearFriend K for misbehaving. Since leaving, I have been very impatient with DearDaughter1 because I am assuming that in some way, inside my heart, I blame her for the missed opportunity to spend time with MY friend...

I visited with DearFriend K on Monday. It had been weeks since we had seen or talked and she thought that she did something to offend me. I explained to her that I've been using my time just learning how to be a Mommy.

DearFriend K and I used to spend a lot of time together before I had DearDaughter1. Her son is in his twenties and her 12 year old daughter is in school during the day and when we hung out a lot, my time was free. So, we went to the gym together, we had lunch together, we studied the Bible together, we read a Christian book together, and we just spent a lot of time at each other's houses. When DearDaughter1 was born, things were interrupted for a little while, but soon after, we were spending time with each other again, but only about 60% of what we used to. When DearDaughter2 was born, everything changed and we hardly see one another. DearFriend K was missing our fellowship time and I thought I could give her a little time this week.

I know why DearDaughter1 and DearDaughter2 behaved the way they did at DearFriend K's house. DearDaughter1 was bored and needed a playmate or an activity to stimulate her, but there was nothing at DearFriend K's house that was satisfactory. She was also tired for getting up so early in the morning. DearDaughter2 was just plain tired. Therefore, I really have NO legitimate reason for being frustrated at my girls. They were just acting the way they're supposed to act for their age and maturity level.

Yet, I walked out of DearFriend K's house frustrated and I kept apologizing and I asked DearDaughter1 to apologize when we really didn't do anything wrong...They're behavior was to be expected.

Many of the friends I hung out with before I had children are older than I am and their children are also older. Today, I hardly spend time with other women, but if I do, it's with mommies who have little children. Is it selfish of me to want time with MY friends too?

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