Thursday, August 5, 2010

Triage On The Parenthood Battle Field

If you have more than one child you have now entered the fun triage zone of the parenthood battle field. There comes a day usually early after you bring home baby number two when suddenly both kids are crying at the same time, and here comes the instant triage scenario: You do a mental checklist, trying to come up with an assessment of which child needs you most urgently at that moment. Is one child hurt and the other simply lonely? Is one child hungry and one is tired and cranky?

The mental checklist is long and we mothers go through it at a supremely fast rate. To outsiders it may look like we are playing favorites when we quickly rush to one child's side over another, but what outsiders don't know is that we fight the war of guilt that consumes us all the time. It's all because we had the audacity to have and love more than one child, all the while knowing that we are simply one person with the limitations of being one single person who can not possibly do all things for all children all the time. Then we find ourselves begging our children to wait, be patient, hurry up, quiet down, behave, the list goes on and on. All because once your family goes from "one child" to "one more child" we have inadvertantly given our children the upper hand. Now we are out numbered.

When one child is sick the choice may seem easy. You go to the child who is sick first. But life and motherhood are not so simple. Just because one child may need you a lot more, you still must tend to the other or others. My heart goes out to women who face impossible choices every day, who carry guilt that they can not untangle from their love and devotion.

I guess all we can do is remind them, remind ourselves, to look up from our medical kits and our bandages and our checklists to see that there are other nurses and doctors in this triage tent of ours. That love can come from more places than we can possibly imagine and though the feeling of responsibility seems so overwhelmingly ours alone, it simply is not. Our children get love and guidance from our close and extended family, friends, friends of family, co-workers and neighbors.

I think that because mothers are responsible for our children from the moment of conception a part of us never lets go of the ENORMITY of that responsiblity, but sometimes, just sometimes it's ok to allow ourselves to step back and let someone else take over. It's ENORMOUSLY important for us to relinquish the responsibilty to our spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, friend or anyone who loves us enough to take some of the responsibility off our plate. We, as mothers, can not afford to look up from our checklists one day to see that it is no longer our children on the triage cot, but ourselves.

No comments:

Post a Comment