I remember the feeling of pride as a young mom, conquering my first tough phase. I felt like I was on top of the world, like I could handle anything that life would throw at me. Then came a rude awakening when my son moved on to the head banging meltdown stage and I was clueless, again. It felt like I was always figuring out how to manage one phase of behaviours only to be slammed with another.
There was always something.
Ten years later it’s the same story. Success and struggle in an endless cycle. It can be overwhelming and exhausting to say the least.
Not long ago, my youngest was having a tough day. It wasn’t entirely her fault. She had been sick all weekend long and had spent the morning in the emergency room, but she was cranky, and the whole evening was spent teetering on the edge of category five meltdowns.
At the end of the day I was feeling low. I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes mulling over all of my hurt and frustrations and wondering if I had messed things up as a mom. I had poured so much love and attention into this beautiful child of mine and yet in that moment it felt like all of my efforts were in vain. I went to sleep feeling heavy, weighed down by an intense desire to parent my kids right and my deep fears of failure.
The next morning was blue skies and I’d like to say I woke up happy and refreshed, but the truth is I woke up stressed. Expecting much of the same behaviour as the day before I awoke in a state of frustration, but instead of the cranky child I was anticipating, I was pleasantly surprised. My daughter was in the best mood. Turns out a good nights sleep was just what the doctor ordered. Her giggles brought a smile to my face as she told me silly stories and later that day she even saved a caterpillar she lovingly named Callie from being run over in the road.
The truth is she was just being her sweet self. That giggly kind hearted little girl is who she is in her purest form. The rest was just a product of a bad day.
Everybody has those.
I was talking with my friend about the roller coaster of emotions as a parent (you know the one). The gloriously high highs and the desperately low lows. How mom life feels like bliss Monday night as you dance through the kitchen with your kids and laughter fills the air, and yet feels entirely draining and discouraging Tuesday as they meltdown during the morning routine. You never really know what you’re going to get.
Through it all though, I’m learning to show my kids grace, because the truth is as adults sometimes we have tough days. Sometimes we’re going through rough seasons and we’re not ourselves. Sometimes we cringe at our own snappy replies when we get one too many requests for cookies or stall tactics at bedtime. And if we’re being truly honest, sometimes we just straight up lose it, but we would never want to be measured by our worst moments.
All of us want to be known for our best parts.
Sure, it feels easier to focus on the negative. I’m pretty sure every mom has their days where they can instantly list off the many reasons their kids are driving them crazy, and I’m no different. Life as a mom is tough, and it’s easy to dwell on our frustrations. Kids can be inconsiderate, temperamental, and just plain rude! But overall I think most of us would be willing to say that they’re still great. In fact, I’d say my kids are pretty amazing!
These beautiful kids of mine are witty and frequently make me burst out in laughter. They know their manners well, and though they sometimes forget them at home, I’m always getting compliments on their behaviour. Even as they grow older they shower me with hugs and snuggles, and they still let me kiss their heads at the bus stop each morning. They’re kind and compassionate, and often bring me to happy tears as I marvel at how thoughtful they are.
Best of all they have a way of softening the hardest parts of me.
Sometimes they drive me crazy, but I’m going to try and focus on the best parts and forgive the rest. After all, it’s what I would want, and it’s what they deserve.