Saturday, I felt I failed as a mother. My 4 year old has been pushing boundaries over, and over, AND OVER again the past week. Intentionally not listening, acting out, and overall a complete stranger to us. Last week was also paired with receiving devastating news of the health of our cat, an incredibly stressful week at work, and a sick (and cranky) husband, whose house duties fell on me. So when the work week finally came to a close, I saw an opportunity to hit the reset button, and let the weekend work its magic. I envisioned us taking a blissful family trip to the beach where all of our sorrows from the week would be carried out to sea, and we would be renewed, re-energized, and most importantly, would have long forgotten about the week that past. I could not be more wrong.
Saturday, there was no beach trip. Instead, there were about 13 timeouts, 7 toys taken away, 24 hours of banned TV, and 0 bedtime stories. Why? I honestly cannot remember the actual trigger, but something along the lines of running out of applesauce or not having any clean pink socks to wear. Sadly, I knew when we woke up Saturday that my hopes and dreams of salvaging the week were grim. I could feel it. However, that still did not prepare me for the worst tantrum I have ever endured as a mother. As frustrated and angry that I was, the biggest emotion I felt was utter failure.
While my daughter was hitting me and telling me she didn’t like me, I felt like the biggest loser. As she cried and screamed in a cloud of chaos, I cried too. A lot. Her behavior had to be my fault. Maybe I have been doing a terrible job ensuring both of my children received the same love and attention? Maybe I have been working too much and she feels abandoned? Maybe she doesn’t feel the same bond with me as she does with her father? Maybe I am just a shitty mom. Or maybe my daughter is just 4, her mind exponentially growing, and is struggling to process all the growth and changes. Maybe she is still struggling with having a sibling, and at no fault of my husband or I, is just jealous.
The truth is, I do not know exactly why Saturday happened, and probably never will. What I do know is that I love my daughter with every fiber of my being, and I know she loves me too (despite what she said), and that she is so deeply loved and cherished. When the storm finally passed, our sweet girl was there again, and we decided to still salvage the day and took a short trip to a local farm. You may wonder why we chose to do something that seemingly felt like a reward instead of a punishment. Behavior and discipline are incredibly personal, and every family and child are different. We are constantly seeking that perfect balance of raising a strong, responsible, and independent human being, while still evoking creativity, imagination, and purity. The toys, stories, and TV we took away as a punishment still happened, but there is always room for love, which is exactly what we did.
The fact of the matter is, these days happen when you are a parent, they happen to all of us. They are so incredibly frustrating, exhausting, and heart breaking, all rolled up into one. These days always seem to come on the hardest of weeks, and when you least expect it. However, you are not a shitty mom. You are not a failure. Your child is not bad. Both you and your child are growing, evolving, and learning. Take these days as an opportunity to understand, and also as an opportunity to love. Mommyhood is the toughest job there is, and when you have days such as these, always find the good, no matter what.
Through every storm is a rainbow.