Yesterday they had sugary cereal for breakfast … and dinner.
The day before they watched TV all morning … and afternoon.
Last week I washed my hair two times … the entire week.
Two weeks ago my toddler dropped her unwrapped sucker on the floor of the store … and then ate it.
We’ve all been there. Those moments as a mom where we feel inadequate, not enough, a failure. The failed moments seem to outweigh the tender family moments portrayed on the Lifetime channel. I keep hearing people say how fast these child rearing years pass and I long to soak them in, but defeat keeps staring me in the face.
There are days when parenting feels a lot like a wrestling match. A wrestling match I was unaware I signed up for. I don’t remember straddling the band to enter the ring, yet I’m in the ring, face to face with my opponent and the bell has rung. I am being propelled from side to side, bouncing off the bands that hold the ring together. I turn around and there’s an arm putting me in a choke hold. I get up and then get body slammed. Before I know it, someone else is being tagged to come in and resume the attack I am under. It’s a constant beat down, stand up, fall down, stumble up pattern that is exhausting. At my breaking point, I want to ‘tap out’ like the defeated wrestler I am.
So many days as a parent, I want to tap out, wave the white flag, throw in the towel, cry uncle … admit defeat to my own kids. The reality is there are bad days as a parent. There are days where there is more yelling than I’d like to admit. There are days where my kids spend the majority of their time being disciplined and fulfilling the consequences of their actions. There are days our plans get canceled because of the negative behaviors of our children. There are days when the kids have to get pulled aside in front of others to be reprimanded for their behaviors. There are days when we rack our brains on the best way to address situations we find ourselves in.
These are the days where I know they have won. I have been overtaken. Overtaken by my OWN children.
When these days occur, I have to remind myself that this mess, this chaos … it is normal. We all have these days, just ask other moms. You will probably see the relieved look in their eyes when they realize they aren’t alone in this fight. If you don’t see it, ask them their secret.
If you still aren’t sure, just ask your kids their opinion on this matter. They see you when you lose your junk. They see your tired eyes. They see when things around the house are left undone. They hear the frustration in your voice. And you know what? Your kids are fine all the same.
Bottom line: this is all normal.
During these moments, two very critical things are happening. As moms we are being refined and molded into the moms we were meant to be. We are learning to find value in the mundane events of life and be joyful in all circumstances. We are learning how to deal with mishaps and disappointments. We are learning how to tame our tempers; tempers we were unaware of until we had kids. We are learning how to face tomorrow when it looks like it’s going to go exactly like yesterday, and that was a disaster.
Our kids are learning through the mess too. They are learning to live in the realities of the world. People let you down, even your mom. Things don’t go as planned. Living with others is difficult. Bad choices lead to consequences that affect you and others. Some days are boring. Oh, and you probably should go to the bathroom before leaving the house, even if you don’t think you have to go.
For today and every day, I won’t actually tap out or surrender my role in my children’s lives. Instead, I will put them to bed early, put on my comfy pants and eat a bowl, or two, of ice cream. I’ll wake up in the morning, having minimal sleep, and if I have to get back in that ring, I’ll put my gloves on and fight the good fight.