Whenever I’m having a less-than-stellar parenting moment, when my patience is thin, when I’m short with the kids, snappy or dismissive…basically whenever I’m not being the kind of mother I want to be, my immediate reaction is to figure out why I’m acting this way.
Did I get enough sleep last night?
Is my house messy?
Has it been a while since I’ve had some “me time”?
Is there a project I’m behind on?
Is there a lot of work I need to do?
When I can pinpoint one of these things as being true, then I feel better. Probably because I can then blame my failure on an outside cause – if my house were clean today, then I would be a perfect mother. The only thing stopping me from being a good mother today is a bad night’s sleep.
Of course the problem is when I can honestly say that none of the above apply. Like this morning for example. I had a good sleep last night, I’ve had lots of “me time” this week, my house is pretty darned clean, and I’m up to date on all the stuff I’m working on lately. So then I have to ask myself “why am I being so bitchy today?”.
And you know, I’m starting to think that this is really ridiculous. Why can’t I just be having a bad day? Why can’t I be short or lacking in patience just because I’m human and sometimes we’re like that? Do I have to have a reason, something to blame, as if it were even possible to be even-tempered and sweet and eager to play with my 3 year old all day all the time. It isn’t, and maybe I should just stop trying to find excuses for being miserable once in a while, and instead just own up to the fact that I can’t be perfect and patient and happy all the time. After all, it’s not like I’m constantly in a state of pessimism and negativity. I’m a pretty darned upbeat and optimistic kind of gal. And many times when I feel like screaming, I’m able to take a deep breath and respond gently to the umpteenth playback of “mama, shall you play with me?” (and there’s a subject for another day- how incredibly wracked with guilt a mother can feel after hearing those words for the fifth time and still find herself saying “not right now, honey, mama has to do X” when she knows it means more to her child to play with her than to make her bed or rinse her brother’s poopy diaper).
Okay, so I’ll end this with my new favorite quote:
“One hundred years from now, it won’t matter what kind of car I drove, how big my house was, or how much money I had in the bank. But it may very well be important that I treated my children with gentleness and respect.”