I'm Having A Hard Time As A Parent, And I'm Trying To Remember My Child Is Having A Hard Time Too
I’m normally good at patiently and rationally solving problems, but I can’t unravel this. You’re only one, and you can’t understand me when I’m calmly telling you, “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, I’m just trying to put your shoes on.” You don’t understand when I patiently ask you to stop throwing your lunch on the floor. The only time you comprehend what it is I’m trying to express to you is when I yell, so I yell. And then I hate myself for yelling at my beautiful, blue-eyed little boy who I love more than the world.
I’m trying really hard to remind myself that this is a “phase.” That sooner or later you’ll stop fighting me over every little thing and you’ll be a happy baby again. And I think that might be what breaks my heart most of all, is that when this phase does end, you won’t be a baby anymore. You’ll be a little kid. Too busy to give mama a hug and too big to sit in my lap to read books. And I don’t want to spend the rest of your littleness fighting you.
I see all these other moms who don’t seem to have a care in the world. Who don’t seem to be being pulled underwater by yet another tantrum over something as inconsequential as your dad leaving the room to throw something in the trash. There’s a key word in those last two sentences: seem. They don’t seem to be losing their cool as much as me, but inside I know they are. They’re just better at hiding it than I am. I’ve always worn my emotions on my sleeve and thought of that as a strength of mine but to be honest, in motherhood, it feels like a failure. I should be able to hide my worry and frustration better than I do.
You’re trying to tell me that these shoes pinch your toes but you don’t have the words to say that yet. You want to let me know that you had turkey for lunch at daycare and you don’t want it again for dinner, but you have no way of doing so. And I yell at you.
You have all this new-found independence. You can walk, you can run, you can say a handful of words. But you’re still a baby and you can’t control your life the way you want to. You want to keep up with the big kids at daycare but you’re not quite there yet, and you’re aggravated. You want to do what you want to do, and your teachers and parents keep telling you “no.” You’re so little, but you have very, very big feelings my boy.
You see your mama getting discouraged and you watch her deflate. You watch as I eventually throw my hands up and walk away. You see me start to tear up from time to time and hear me ask your dad, “Why is this so hard?” I know you see these things, sweet boy, and I wish I could hide them from you. I know you don’t understand; in some ways I’m glad for that, and in other ways I wish I could explain that it doesn’t make me love you any less. Not one single moment’s worth less.
We’re both struggling.
But I know in my heart that you’re the little boy who God wanted me to have. Likewise, I know that I’m the mama that God wanted you to have. We both needed this struggle for some reason or another. Whether or not we figure out the reason for this lesson doesn’t matter. What matters, my dear boy, is that we get through it with grace.
I pray that you don’t ever think I’m angry at you when I get frustrated. I am angry, but only ever at myself for not having more patience. I pray that I’m able to remind myself that there are far more good moments than bad, and I pray that I can find myself enjoying those as they happen. I pray for you constantly. That you know how much you’re loved and protected and cherished.
We’re both struggling, but I won’t ever leave you alone in the struggle. I’ll be there right alongside you, trying my best to get us both through. That’s my promise to you.
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