So, I usually write about food, but sometimes I just need to vent (I apologize in advance). Do you ever have a bad parenting day? You know, one of those days when you’re convinced you’re the worst parent on the planet? Yesterday was one of those days for me. See, I’m the mom of three boys under the age of 4, so I most definitely have those days (probably more often than I’d like to admit). I love staying home with my boys and being able to experience all the awesome moments of their childhood firsthand, but some days are certainly harder than others.
Kids are like ticking time bombs. One minute they’re sweet as can be, telling me I’m their best friend and professing their love for me, and the next minute they’re stomping their feet in protest over… um… oh right, you never know what they’re upset about half the time. I’m no parenting expert, but I chalk up these extreme mood swings to their inability to communicate fully and that whole “exerting their independence” thing. Or, even more likely, they’re simply tired or hungry. Or I didn’t sing the right song. Or I put too much frozen yogurt in their cones (imagine that!). Because my boys are so close in age, there’s a lot of arguing that goes on – over toys, over who gets to push the button to close the van door, over who gets the placemats out of the kitchen drawer, over the other one talking too loud. The list is endless. After the boys go to bed and I’m able to reflect on the day, I can see the humor in all of it, but when I’m in the throes of it? WHOA. Sometimes I just want to wave my white flag, surrender, and put myself in a time out (or climb into bed and pull the covers over my head so they can’t find me).
The parenting books don’t tell you about the guilt that creeps in ALL THE TIME when you’re a parent (or am I the only one who feels this way? Please tell me I’m not). Guilt for wanting to hide under the covers, guilt for wishing their naps lasted fifteen more minutes, guilt for cleaning up the yard instead of pushing the kids on the swings, guilt for raising my voice when I break up the 23rd fight of the day, guilt for spending 15 minutes on the computer, guilt for ordering pizza for dinner one night, guilt for letting them watch TV while I cook, guilt for forgetting to brush their teeth, guilt for not reading that 4th book at bedtime. Oh, I could go on, but I’ll spare you. Because I’m a stay at home mom, I liken any time spent doing something that doesn’t involve the kids to checking your Facebook in a board meeting (P.S. I realize this is a little crazy. Just because I’m a stay at home mom doesn’t mean I don’t have things to do, such as PACKING OUR HOUSE TO MOVE, but that’s another rant!). I don’t think your boss would appreciate that very much. My bosses just happen to be under the age of 4, but I can assure you that they are just as demanding!
I know I’m probably a little hard on myself (see above), but I think everyone aspires to be the “perfect” parent. What perfect is, I have no idea, but I’m certainly not it. I don’t think anyone is. I mean, my kids are loved, they are healthy, and they are happy. What more could I possibly ask for? I realize they probably aren’t thinking I’m the WORST. MOM. EVER. when I let them watch TV, so why should I?
It’s so easy to get sucked into the negative black hole of “bad things” that happened throughout the day, so sometimes it’s nice to add a little positivity to balance things out. After an extremely demanding day yesterday, I decided to do an art project with my two older sons (while my youngest was napping) this morning to lighten things up and have some fun. We all know that art can be extremely therapeutic, and this project totally delivered in that department. It was a beautiful warm, sunny morning, the birds were chirping, the smell of spring was in the air, and we all painted. No one fought. Instead, we complimented each other on our birdhouses.
See, those parenting books also don’t tell you about all the joys you will experience and the number of times you will tear up because you just witnessed your child do or say something that completely blows you away. Kids. They’re totally worth it.
How do you deal with an especially trying day? Do you beat yourself up as much as I do? More importantly, WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES???
Our art project… I like to call it “For the Birds and Mama’s Sanity” (in pictures)