Posted by Kirsten Patel, Elementary Mommie-on-the-Run | Posted in The Elementary Mommy-on-the-Run | Posted on 16-09-2010
I remember clearly my first thought when I found out I was pregnant for the second time. I already had two year old twins and all I could think was how is there ever going to be enough of me for three children. But low and behold, I have managed with three children just fine for the past five plus years. Some days there clearly isn’t enough of me to go around and other days I even manage to eek out a little time and energy to do something for myself.
I’ve learned to divide my heart into three pieces, but what often trips me up is trying to divide it into three equal pieces. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been obsessed with fairness. I made sure each one of my stuffed animals had a turn right next to me in my bed and drove my mom nuts asking her to count the number of noodles I had on my plate to make sure my sister didn’t have more.
I try my best to make sure everyone has the same amount of milk in their glass. I carefully count out the chicken nuggets to make sure each child has the same number. We take turns picking the music we listen to in the car and I even made a chart to keep track of whose turn it is to sit in the most favored car seat. But let’s face it, life is not always fair and I just can’t make sure they all get the same amount of hugs per day and chocolate chips in their cookies.
When my twins started kindergarten I went to great pains to make sure I volunteered the same amount of time in each one’s classroom. I was assigned to Monday afternoon for one of them and there are several Monday holiday’s in a school year. They noticed if I made it to one classroom that week and not the other, and I felt guilty. I try to explain to them that things will not always be tit for tat. For the most part it all works out and I probably feel more guilt over dividing my time up than is necessary.
Tonight is Back to School Night and like every parent with multiple kids at one school, not just twins, I fret over whose classroom presentation I would attend and which one my husband would attend. I don’t mean to imply that I am the superior parent, but I am on the front lines doing drop off, pick up, communicating with fellow parents and teachers and helping with homework. I wanted to hear the teacher’s presentation first hand for both my girls.
At least my son’s kindergarten class presentation is earlier in the night and both my husband and I can attend that one.
After fretting over it and making my husband discuss it with me ad nauseum, he finally said, “relax, it’s not Sophie’s Choice.” And he was right. Whenever I am stressed about something like this I try to ask myself how much it really matters in the grand scheme of their lives. They won’t even know whose classroom I was in. Will they not get in to Stanford because I didn’t sit in their classroom one September night in 2nd grade? Perhaps taking a step back from making everything fair and the same would be good for me and my kids.