I’ve been quiet around here. We had a full week of our house being completely torn apart to get new floors and between getting ready for that and trying to get things back to normal AFTER that, blogging has taken a back seat to things like wine & sleep.
But today I have something to share with you guys because I feel like it’s important. I have been having a rough time in the parenting department lately. And not in a “we had one bad day and I feel guilty” kind of way. Quite honestly, it’s been a “we’ve had a bad day every, single day” kind of way and even typing those words out makes me tear up.
I joke on here about Hannah being the spirited child. And it’s true… she is spirited and lovely and one of my three favorite people in the entire world.
She’s also almost two. And with that comes a whirlwind of adjectives.
Hannah is all of those words… and so many more. And the tricky thing about two is she can be any combination of those words. And one minute that combination can equal sitting down together and reading books. And then I grab the wrong book, or turn the wrong page or I don’t know, breathe, and it’s all over. Before I can blink there is flailing and stiffening limbs and loud screams.
And frustration. Oh the frustration.
And the yelling. From all of us.
I’m not proud. I end each day feeling like I’ve failed Hannah. Why can’t I figure out what she wants? Why don’t I have the patience to calmly ignore her instead of engaging? Why do I yell at my husband as a means of coping?
And at night I can see it all logically. I know it’s a phase. I know it’s stemming from language and communication issues. I know she’s boundary testing and confused about limits and what decisions she gets to make on her own and which decisions are made for her.
I know all of that.
Except in the throws of a tantrum… before my morning coffee…. or after there have already been three that day… or when I’m simply trying to enjoy a dinner with the family in the few precious hours that we have together each evening, I am never able to see that.
I yell and I hate the person that my family has to put up with but I still can’t stop the yelling. I cry because I don’t know how else to deal with a child who knows what she wants but can’t TELL me what she wants. I lose sight of who I am and the mother I want to be. I don’t like who I am in those moments. I need to do better for Hannah and Madison. For Clint and let’s not forget for myself.
It’s so easy to look in the mirror and hate yourself for your inability to cope with all of the stress. I feel jealous of people that seem to have it all together.
The family enjoying their meal at a restaurant while we take turns walking Hannah around outside because she’s crying.
Or the kids at the park who don’t throw themselves on the ground because you put them in the wrong swing.
The happy photos of crafts and outings with smiling children sting when I see that mine always has a paci in her mouth because sometimes that’s the only way we can get through being out in public without a meltdown.
But I’m not alone and neither are you.
Could I do better? Yes. And I’m constantly challenging myself to dig deeper. To find more patience, speak softer, hug more and yell less.
But I also have to take care of myself and last night I did that by reaching out to my internet friends. I wasn’t looking for an answer to our problem. I knew that no one had one. I was looking for comfort. I needed to hear that someone else was going through this. That I’m not the only mom who has yelled or walked out of a room and slammed a door because you just can’t take it anymore. That other mothers love their child but are also deeply frustrated and trapped by a certain age.
I needed to know that it’s okay to not love every part of this parenting thing and yet still love your children with every fiber of your being.
I wanted someone to tell me that all of it is okay and real and ALL of us feel like this to some extent.
And that got me thinking. About that mother who is complaining about her child on Twitter or Facebook? Perhaps she’s sharing a message about the non stop whining or the frustration with her day? Perhaps she’s making a comment at 10 a.m. about needing a stiff drink.
Go easy on her. Maybe that’s not really what her message is about at all. She’s probably lonely and isolated. She’s probably looking in the mirror feeling like a terrible mom because she lost her temper too much that day. What she needs is a hug. She needs to know we’ve all been there. She needs an ear to listen. She needs someone to say “me too, but I’m constantly trying to do better.”
Because she is too. That’s exactly what she’s trying to do by reaching out. She’s admitting to the world that it was a bad day and she needs comfort because she wants to do better.
I’ve been there and while it’s a very lonely place, please know you are never alone.
I’m there too. And I always bring wine.