Monday, October 26, 2015

Survival Parenting

I love my kids.  I really and truly love them more than anything in the whole world... but sometimes they legitimately make me feel like a crazy person.

Being a stay at home mom is a job I have always dreamed of having.  I am incredibly thankful to my husband for working so hard to fulfill that wish for me, but the truth is, it isn't always easy.

This past weekend, I was on my own with the kids for a few days, which in actuality wasn't all that different from how we usually roll, but for a full 3 days, there were ZERO breaks... I couldn't pee alone, shower alone, or even sit down and enjoy a warm meal in its entirety... not that any of us get to enjoy these luxuries often as moms, but when you feel like you are gasping for air, sometimes even 5 minutes of peace and quiet, behind a closed door can feel like a day-long trip to the spa.

Max is now at the age where talking back has become his area of expertise. "No I don't have to", has become a common response when he is asked to do something.

Ella has suddenly become a stage 5 clinger... as in she holds on to the bottoms of my legs with a death grip and yells "mommy, mommy, mommy" on repeat.

Lately, running errands has become a dreaded past time.  A simple trip to the grocery store requires so much more effort than I have the energy for.  Car seats, coats, socks and shoes have become the bane of my existence.  Add to all of that, a case of the "I wants" that carries on throughout the shopping trip, accompanied by hair pulling and personal space invading, and I have found myself gritting my teeth and mumbling "Lord, give me strength" under my breath, more often than I should probably admit.

This post isn't meant to be an all out vent session, but I suppose in some senses it is.

I try so very hard to be a good mom, but there have been days recently where I feel like I am coming up short.

I catch myself having very little patience, and often,  I feel on the verge of snapping, and the guilt that I feel when my kids push me to that point, keeps me up at night on occasion.

Sometimes I feel terrible for the way that I react to my children's actions, even though in the moment, it seems totally appropriate.  Seeing them cry when they push to the point that discipline is required, is something that tears me apart inside... but the truth of the matter is, I know deep down, that in the long run M&E will only benefit from structure and discipline, that these boundaries are something that they need in order to thrive.

So even though Max might think that I am a mean mommy for making him eat a real dinner, rather than the granola bar that he'd prefer, or if Ella cries when I have to detach her from my legs and redirect her attention elsewhere so that I can accomplish a simple task, it doesn't necessarily make me mean, it means that I am doing my job.

If on occasion, I have to leave the room, shut the door, and count to ten, or, if on certain days, I feel the need to skip a trip to the store because it's just too hard to manage, than perhaps that is what I need to do.

I'm making it a point to be more forgiving with myself from this point on, and accepting of the fact that I just can't do it all.   I shouldn't feel inadequate, there are just going to be those days that are a struggle, and then there will be days that seem to breeze by with out so much as a hiccup, but I think that this is how parenting is supposed to be... I'm not sure, but I think.

I'm also making it a point to not compare myself to other mothers, who seem to have it all together, because let's be honest, it's unlikely that any of us do... and not to compare my children with other kids, who might seem so much better behaved than mine in certain moments, because no child is perfect.

I had to laugh the other day, when while dropping Max off at school, a couple of moms standing near by, overheard me asking "are you sure you don't need to go potty again before class?" "you'll tell the teachers if you have to go, right?" "make sure you share with your friends today, and use your words, don't just take things."... The other moms smiled, and one asked, "isn't it so funny how we all have the same conversations with our three year old before school?" The simple sentiment of her asking that question, reassured me that I'm not alone in the way I feel sometimes, that I'm not alone in constantly worrying that I'm parenting my kids the right way.  It appears that all of us, as mothers have moments where we feel inadequate. That we all question if we're teaching our children right from wrong.

The silver lining is, that we also get to experience those moments when we feel proud.  When our children do something great that validates our worth as parents and makes us feel good about the choices that we make for them.  Some days we might feel like mean or bad mommies, but in the eyes of our children, I doubt that's truly the case (at least until they are teenagers).  We're all striving to do the best we can, and the struggle is real.

So... like I said, this post wasn't meant to be entirely about my venting and getting all of this off of my chest, it was also meant to make any of you, who might feel like I do sometimes, aware, that you are not alone in these thoughts.  We're all in this together, just trying to stay afloat.  Deep breaths.   if today is a tough one, tomorrow is a fresh start.

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