It’s no secret that as moms we often find ourselves riddled with guilt. The kind that after a long day makes you question your parenting abilities and wonder if you are even fit to mother the children in your care.
Of course when we dig deeper and really think about it we realize we are not only doing our best but doing a damn good job of motherhood and we learn to let go of the negative voices in our heads telling us we not good enough.
The hardest part for me comes when I think I’ve finally got the hang of it and all is seemingly peachy. Those days when everything seems calm and easy and there is less shouting and more talking. Less crying and more laughter. Less moaning and more cheery banter. I get that nice little sense of calm and a wonderful feeling of control. The control has to be the thing I love MOST.
These are the days when I think seriously about adding another one to the mix. I mean, “HA, I could handle another one, I’ve so got this!”
It’s funny how life works though and I for one should know that it’s usually in these very moments when life comes around to bite you on the ass and bring you back to reality. Just as we think we have all our ducks in a row we are reminded that life is life and kids are kids!! How I honestly expected my 4 year-old to stay on the straight and narrow for the rest of his life is beyond me. Its simply delusional is what it is.
I mentioned how Noah has come such a long way in the last 6 months or so and it has been so amazing for us as his parents to notice that change and feel “rewarded” for all the effort we are putting in. I mean that’s the biggest blessing right? Seeing our kids developing well to become kind and respectful towards the people around them.
We made it to the one-week mark without a single voice being raised or a meltdown of any kind making an appearance to ruin our day. Part of it was me learning to read him better and understand his temperament. After listening to a great talk at my moms group about raising kids with different characters I realized I needed to be more aware of the way my little boys work. What works for one may not work for the other. So yes this insight combined with a fresh dose of patience, played a big role too.
But just as kids lose perspective and get overwhelmed, so do we. Just as kids make mistakes and lose sight of the reward, so do we. And that’s exactly what happened last Friday!
We were having a week of feeling so closely connected, so much so that on Wednesday I even declared “Right today you are bunking to hang out with your mom! We are going to spend the day doing some fun stuff!”
I can tell you straight out, it’s not often I declare a “bunk” day. It’s not often I don’t get scared thinking about entertaining two children all day. But that’s the thing; I was starting to realize that it was important to him that I do that. He thrives on
positive affirmation and feeling loved. He THRIVES when I say “I want you to myself today!” Seeing his face light up when I say “I need some Nono time” is enough to make me want to call “bunking day” everyday! We were really doing so well.
I went to bed most nights last feeling like I had rocked it as a mom. There was no smugness, no arrogance, just a deep sense of accomplishment and joy. Something I haven’t experienced before. There I lay in bed feeling for the first time like I was the best mom in the world. The best mom, chosen for these two children.
And then Friday came around. All was great until our afternoon play date and Noah decided this was the perfect time to resort to his “old “ ways. Looking back now I don’t even know what it was specifically or how things escalated so fast but one thing I do know is that I was just as much to blame. I lost sight of the reward (the calm and being in control) and I lost my shit. I allowed the circumstance to overwhelm me and I took it out on my son. Instead of calmly talking to him I went back to my old ways too and yelled at him.
Hubs came home to find me in a heap of tears with a glass of wine in my hand. I felt like I had not only let my son down, but let myself down too. I felt like all my hard work had gone down the toilet. I kept hearing this voice in my head almost yelling at me “Two steps forward, three steps back!! Two steps forward, three steps back!”
While Hubs bathed the kids I sat crying on the bed wiling the voices in my head to stop. Thank Goodness he talked some sense into me (so often he is like my parent) telling me there were always going to be days like this. Even when things are good and we make progress in certain areas, there will always be moments in between where we fall short, where we need extra grace and more forgiveness. There will be days where it seems all our hard work is for nothing, but that is not the case.
He reminded me that we are only human too and that there will be many more bad days ahead of us. He reminded me that what really matters is how we respond, how we choose to get back up and not allow the bad days/moments defeat us.
So I chose right then to “forgive myself” for crossing a line, to ask God for more grace and to start fresh the next day.
And that’s exactly what we did. I woke up the next day with fresh perspective and an even deeper understanding of the fresh grace we receive everyday. I cuddled my children in bed and thanked God to be alive and to be their mom. One that is always learning, forever growing and eternally thankful for everything motherhood continues to teach me.