Managing motherhood isn’t easy. I’ve been a mom for six years, and it hasn’t gotten easier with time. Each stage has brought its own set of challenges. There are new hurdles to cross over. New lessons to teach. New discoveries to make. New hurdles to work through. Every day it’s something different.
And today, I cried.
Let’s back up a bit.
Before I became a mom. I had all these plans mapped out in my head of the parent I would be. I would rely on the gentle parent approach because I believe that children should be taught how to manage their emotions instead of being punished for having them.
Now as a mom of two littles, a six-year-old daughter and son who’ll be one in a week, I question myself daily on if this is actually working. I mean I was raised differently and I turned out okay. I think.
But, today I had my breaking point and I cried because my daughter kept testing me. She’s
sassy, stubborn, and hard-headed strong-willed, and isn’t shy about letting it be known with me. I say with me because from an outsider’s perspective, she is quiet, shy, and polite. It’s sort of like a light switch. She knows how to turn her personality on and off. But believe me, she’s a real firecracker.
I’ve shed my fair share of tears since becoming a mother. They usually flow down my face in the shower or in bed after everyone is sound asleep. Today was the first time I’ve cried in front of her because of her.
It wasn’t intentional. I was trying to explain to her how important it is for her to listen to me and how my goal is to help guide her towards making good decisions so that she stays safe. But she had a meltdown. A full-blown meltdown and that’s not the first she’s had the weekend or even this week rather. All the big feelings, emotions, and theatrics at age six. I can’t wait until the preteen and teenage years come. (That was sarcasm by the way.)
At that moment, I not only felt like I failed her; I felt like I failed myself as a parent.
To be honest, there are many days I feel like the worst parent in the world. There’s no blueprint that comes with parenthood. We’re literally handed a child and are expected to make good choices for them until they are of age and to help guide them on how to be kind, compassionate, thoughtful smart human beings. But, we don’t always get it right. I try my best day in and day out to check all the imaginary boxes, but I don’t always get it right. I wish life came with a “redo button.”
Even though I cried sad and hurtful tears today, there have been many moments that I’ve cried happy tears as well. Like the first moment I held her in my arms when I literally thought I was on my death bed. And when she got on stage during her first dance recital and brought all the sass, technique, and confidence. Or even when her teacher told me how helpful she is to other students. Her transformation from my little baby into a person who thinks, speaks, reads, and reasons on her own make me cry as well. I’m in awe at the person she’s becoming.
Celebrating the wins is something that comes easy for me but redirecting the wrong turns doesn’t. I’m learning to be more patient and to lower my expectations because she is just six. I want her to grow up confident in who she is, always be kind to others, and celebrate others that are different.
I find myself reflecting on my childhood, and I am always thinking “My parents were right about many things.” While they may have been tough, or mean as I thought, they always had my best interest at heart and I love them dearly for that.
I know there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Sometimes I’ll make mistakes, but in the end, my kids will love me. Just as they give me grace, I should give them grace as well. After all, we are learning together.
Please tell me I’m not alone. Have your kids ever made you cry?