I think the worst thing as a parent is to feel you can't give your kids everything they could ever want. At the same time, you want to teach them to be happy with what they have. It's a never-ending battle of the heart, somewhere between giving and teaching, and there does not seem to be a perfect solution. Things around here have been very tight financially. For a variety of reasons we are in the biggest financial crisis of our lives and Jeff and I have been working so hard for over a year to try to make things better. But there is only so much that can be done. Jeff has a good job with a decent salary, but not nearly enough to maintain our lives in THIS house, at THIS time. We've done all we could to make the kids' lives fun and fulfilling but it never seems to be enough. When you live in an area where wealth and affluence surround you, it's not easy to not "want" and to not confuse "want" with "need". Even though my kids have grown up in a nicer house than I ever lived in, they have never been able to enjoy all of the "stuff" (material items, yes, but also experiences) that their peers have. Not to say that they have not enjoyed "stuff" - the certainly have, and plenty of it. But with multiple kids, it does become financially difficult to finance many lessons, activities, vacations and material goods. All of the income from any job I've had over the years has gone to the "stuff" fund - just paying for all those "extras" like dance classes, camps, movies, outings, activities, weekend trips, etc. I've never really made enough to contribute significantly to bigger financial gains like paying bills or debt reduction. But even a small income helps with all the extras. Unfortunatley I'm not working right now, and that weighs on me so heavily every day I sometimes feel like I can't breathe. Not because I feel like a failure for not choosing career over family. No, that was a conscious decision for me, something I always knew I wanted and felt strongly about - if I brought kids into this world, I was going to raise them myself. Still, I've always had some type of job - writing, child care, working at the schools - that has provided me with some type of income. Not so at the moment and we're feeling the strain. Not only is the financial strain (coupled with bigger players like attempting to modify our home loan) difficult, but it affects everyone in that those "wants" that once seemed like "needs" are becoming "wants" again and everyone has to adjust.
The worst part of this to me is when my kids accuse me of wishing I didn't have them. If they are such a "burden" then why did I have them? Nothing hurts like that comment. All I ever wanted was to be a mommy. I feel so incredibly blessed to have had three of my own children, and then to be blessed again with a beautiful stepdaughter - what more could I ask for? I love my family! I love that we have four kids and that things are chaotic and crazy and loud and there's always someone there to talk to, and to listen to and to just BE with. I'd have another baby in a heartbeat if I could. I ache all the time for the two I lost. I don't think anyone but another mother could truly understand this, but I wish my kids could understand that despite any complaining about their behavior, their arguing, their not following rules or following through on chores, I still love being their mom more than anything in the world. And I would choose them over anyone if push came to shove. And that being their mom is "enough" for me. No career in the world could be as fulfilling and enjoyable as being their mom.
And yet, it just never seems like I can do ENOUGH. I can't get enough housework done, I don't cook enough, I can't provide enough, I can't spend enough time, I can't give enough. And sometimes, I just wish my "enough" really was.