Excuse me while I have a totally human moment and admit that today sucked! And yesterday sucked, too. And that I am dreading tomorrow so much it literally brought me to tears thinking about it.
Parenting isn’t easy. Sometimes it is incredibly hard. Some days leave you wondering how you’ll ever make it through their childhoods. Some days end with you feeling like you were just not cut out for this gig.
Today, I wanted to quit. I wanted to hang up the Mom hat. The three year old is practicing asserting his control and independence, every. Chance. He. Gets. I’ve heard him say “no” over the last few days than in his whole life before this. And I know! I have studied early childhood development and I know why he’s doing it; I know it’s an important step in his growth and development, and I know it won’t last. I know to stay calm and empathetic, allowing him control when feasible and being understanding yet firm on the boundaries when I cannot let him be in charge.
I know his tantrums aren’t about me, they are about him. His growth. His learning. His need to push boundaries and figure out where the lines are drawn. But when he’s screaming at me because I got the wrong surprise treat or because I won’t pick up the item he dropped on purpose RIGHT BY HIS FEET and therefore commences to do the Possessed Worm in the middle of the grocery store, I don’t feel knowledgeable and capable.
I feel angry. Hurt. Overwhelmed.
I’m embarrassed, indecisive, fragile.
*I* want someone to put their arms around *me* and tell me “You are having such a rough day! I know that doesn’t feel good inside. What can we do to make this better?”
But, of course, no one does. In this scenario, that’s my job. And so that’s what I do. I wrap him up tight and tell him I wish that I had enough arms to carry him, pull the grocery cart AND push the cart the baby is riding in. I wish I could pick him up and never let him go until he was ready. I remind him that when we get home, I can snuggle with him. And that we can go home as soon as we are done with our shopping.
And it works. For a moment. But only a moment. Because he’s three.
And I’m 28. I’m the adult. Mom of 4, soon to be 5. Caregiver to 8, 9, 10 kids at any given time. It’s up to me to reframe this moment and turn the week around.
And I will do my best to do that. But for now, I’ll also take time to simply be human and feel. Breathe, and cry, and indulge myself; allow myself to process my frustration and hurt and discouragement.
Because I am human. And that’s okay.