Today, my 4-year old son pushed EVERY button that I have. I swear, there are days when he is like a little tornado and he breaks or hits or spills or ruins EVERYTHING in his path. By dinnertime, my patience was completely gone.
And when my patience is gone? Everything just gets worse. So, instead of me saying, “Oh, that’s too bad that you spilled your milk again. Please clean it up and now you can have water for the rest of dinner,” it turned into me yelling, “SERIOUSLY? I swear all you did all day was make giant messes for me to clean up! GO get a towel, right now!”
So, of course, instead of cleaning it up, he pounded his fist on the table and screamed, “EH!!!!” and gave me a look.
His sister looked up from her dinner plate and quipped, “Geeze, mom, it looks like E is not listening to you at ALL today. Are you going to take his lego train away?”
Daggers. DAGGERS in her direction. HOW, oh how do kids get so sassy?
Then, of course, and I bet you can guess what I did next, I yelled, “I have had enough! It’s time for a time out!”
You guys. I don’t even use time outs. I don’t even really think they work in the way that people use them. I think a break from something or time away can work, but the way I was handling this was failing miserably.
2 minutes later, we were both sitting on the floor, hugging each other, and crying.
What I know: my kids feed off my attitude, my demeanor, and my actions. I also know that my son is very physical and busy and he spills and breaks things all the time and I know that he (almost always) doesn’t do it on purpose. I know that I need to show him that I’m serious and show him that he can’t push me, but that I still respect him.
Right now, my husband is in another country, and he’s going to be gone for 3 weeks. My anxiety is high, I’m not sleeping, and I don’t have another adult around to coach me (my husband and I coach each other or tag team when things get rough, so we don’t have things like this happen).
But, now I’m sitting here, feeling like I’m the worst mom on the planet and wondering how I was ever allowed to have kids. I’m debating whether I should write out how I really feel, which is a failure. A complete and utter failure.
A friend of mine once told me, “Be careful not to take too much credit for what your kids do that is great, because if you do, you’re also taking responsibility for their mess-ups.” I totally loved that when I heard it, and I try to remind myself that only so much of what I do has anything to do with how they act.
But, then, there are days when all the parenting articles and books I’ve read and all my teaching experience just gets thrown out the window, and I’m sitting on the floor, hugging my kid and sobbing.
I would tell anyone else, “You are a GREAT mom! We all mess up! Go easy on yourself!” and I would mean it.
But, not for me. For me, I think, “You suck so bad. How can you do this again? You’re going to ruin your kid for life and now he’s crying because you can’t even handle being a parent.”
I’m tired, tonight. Weary. Right now we’re watching our 3rd episode in a row of some terrible show on Netflix because we tried to do art and I got out all the paint supplies and my daughter painted her brother’s face and he threw his paint brush at her because he was mad.
Tomorrow will be a new day, though, and after they go to bed I’m going to watch 2 episodes of Scandal without anyone saying “MAMA!” and eat some chocolate, and attempt to get a good night’s sleep.
And tomorrow I will remember that although I’m not perfect, and although I mess up, my kids are going to be ok. Maybe even great.
Just need to breathe-we’ve got this, you guys. Whether your struggle is with your spouse or parents or children, just take a breath. Give yourself a pep talk.
On we go.