This Is The Thought That Gets Me Through The Hard Days

by Danielle Sherman-Lazar
Nadezhda1906 / Getty

Did you know garages have stuffing in them? Kind of like stuffed animals but harder to fix than a couple of stitches. I didn’t until today when I backed into my half-masted garage door, destroying it — but luckily not my car. I wanted to call Doc McStuffins to help a mom out. Or maybe I needed Handy Manny for this one?

I could picture Handy Manny with his yellow gloves and toolbox: “Si puedo arreglar garajes.” But I digress… all I could do in that moment was put my hands-on top of my head and give up on the day.

Today was one of those days. The kind of day where everything turns into a big pile of poop and not the poop (I am used to) that I am changing all day long with two kids in diapers—much worse.

While I was pumping my two-year-old went up to my seven-month-old and raised her hand up high as if ready to strike her, smiling a wide toothy grin at me. Getting that twinkle in her eye that means, “Mama, I am up to no good.”

That’s when I barked, “Don’t you dare,” shooting her the do not mess with me look. She hit her little sister yesterday so I knew her threats were not empty. In response to my bark, she ran away retreating to the closet like this was a game of hide-and-go-seek, except there was no way in hell I was seeking her out.

Not even a minute later she came out of the closet charging at my little one like she was using guerilla warfare tactics, slapping her SMACK on the head. That’s when I lost it. Pulling the pumps out of the holes in my pumping bra to go after her. Bam, she did it again, like a game of Wack-A-Gator, except the gator was my baby’s head!

I Hulked out, furry unstoppable, grabbing her torso, and placing her straight into time-out. I found myself ranting like a maniac over the little one’s echoing cries–haunting me still because I couldn’t prevent it from happening.

Then came the feelings of sadness. Helplessness. I was over the mind games, the constant power struggle—my toddler’s strong will against my need for her to behave. I wept as I stroked the baby’s soft head, breaking down into a wet snotty mess of salty tears. How could she do this to you? I couldn’t protect one daughter from the other. How would I possibly be able to protect both of them from this harsh world? I felt like a complete failure of a mom.

Looking into her sweet baby browns, rubbing her head as her sister babbled from timeout, I felt broken. I know this is normal two-year-old butthole behavior, but it’s hard to accept as just that at times. It’s hard to not take it personally and feel like I have been doing a completely awful job parenting.

I put my daughter down for her nap still angry. Angry at myself, at her, at everything. When she woke up we had a playdate so I loaded my girls into the car.

I pressed the garage clicker, looked into the rear-view mirror, then turned to see my toddler sucking on her WubbaNub and my seven-month-old staring at her “friends,” a mobile with critters dangling from it that she admired sweetly cooing.

Anxious thoughts raced through my mind as I hit the reverse: my toddler is so cute it’s too bad she acts like a sociopath, I wonder if she is really a sociopath, maybe I should get the baby a flat-head helmet to protect her from being attackedcrash.

I must have pressed the garage clicker twice, making it stop halfway. Yep.

I got out of the car and inspected the situation. Oh Lawdy lawdy.

In parenthood, some days are going to be days where you are so upset you smash the garage literally and figuratively. You hit your brink and your soul feels broken. You are going to question everything you are doing. Then the next day you will have the scars from the day before, the bruises that line your body from your toddler being tough, but there will be a change.

That next day will bring you a sweet toddler sharing with her sister and giving her kisses instead of hitting her. That next day will bring big hugs of “mommy, I love you,” and a glimpse at her empathetic side when she comforts a hurt child in class because she hates when anyone is crying. That next day you are confident in your ability as a parent. Bruises heal, so will the garage, feelings too — and at record speed in motherhood. Your heart will again be full.

Tomorrow will be better. And most of the time, after a good cry, just like a rainbow after a rainstorm — it is.