Not everything about motherhood, not everything about being a parent, is sunshine and rainbows. Sure, we like to pretend that it is. That’s the way that it seems when you see all the selfies and perfectly style bento boxes on Instagram, but no one takes pictures of the less than happy moments, the incredibly hard moments. Heck, I don’t, and I don’t blame others for not doing so either. Why would I want to permanently document those moments?
I love my kids; I do. However, I don’t love every minute, or every second, that I spend with my kids. I know that probably makes me sound like a horrible parent, and I know some people will probably judge me for it, but yesterday I had one of those days when I didn’t love everything about being a mom.
I feel so guilty writing that, but it’s true. It was just a bad day. How is it possible that I can love these two little people so much, how is it possible that these two little people who make my heart explode with so much love and laughter, can be the same two people who make me feel so awful at times? It doesn’t happen often, but it happened yesterday. And I hate myself for feeling that way.
Because Cayia is so little and helpless, I find myself expecting more of Porter these days. I have to constantly remind myself that he’s only two and a half. He still needs me, and there are still things that I can’t expect him to do, standards that I can’t expect him to meet. He’s not five; he’s not ten; he’s not a teenager; and he’s certainly not an adult. He’s two, and there’s still a lot that he doesn’t understand about the world.
We are in the midst of potty training Porter and while there have been a lot of good days and proud moments, there have been incredibly frustrating ones as well. Porter was having a day yesterday when he just didn’t feel like sitting on the potty, a task that seems so easy to us, but it’s a task that is still new and confusing to him. For the past two and a half years of his life, he’s been able to go to the bathroom in his diaper. That’s what he was used to; that was his normal. And now here we are turning his entire world upside down when we are asking him to forget everything he has ever known about going to the bathroom. I found myself getting frustrated with him when I should have shown more patience and understanding. Now that it’s a new day, I can remind myself of that, but yesterday I wasn’t able to.
Porter loves to play with Maggie’s toys. He loves to throw them for her, and he loves to tease her with them. They often have a lot of fun, and it’s endearing to watch. However, yesterday when I was feeding Cayia, Porter threw one of Maggie’s hard rubber balls and it hit Cayia in the head. Cayia immediately started crying; I knew it must have hurt, as it probably would have hurt even me. Porter immediately sensed her discomfort and exploded into a fit of tears. “Mommy! Cayia is crying! Baby Cayia is crying!” He climbed up on the couch and his eyes quickly darted to mine as he tried to figure out what was going on. I found myself feeling angry at him, even though I knew it wasn’t his fault, even though he didn’t mean to hurt her. I took a deep breath and tried to console both of them. I tried to have a calm conversation with Porter as I explained that he had to be more careful and that he couldn’t play around baby Cayia like that. I blamed myself, though. I was looking down at Cayia when it happened. Had I been looking up and been more aware of both of my children, I probably could have prevented it from happening. Now that it’s a new day, I realize that it wasn’t my fault, but yesterday, I was convinced that it was.
Porter doesn’t always take an afternoon nap. He has his days when he goes down easily, his days when he fights it, but eventually falls asleep, and his days when he downright refuses. Even on days when he fails to take a nap, he usually will play in his room for at least an hour. He likes to read books, sing, count, and say his ABC’s during this time. Yesterday, however, he decided to destroy one of his books. When I walked into his room after I was finally convinced he wasn’t going to take a nap, I could see that he had torn out most of the flaps from one of his flap books. He seemed upset and asked me to fix it. I found myself feeling annoyed because he had done this himself, and it wasn’t something I could fix. Now that it’s a new day, I can brush it aside and laugh, but yesterday, I could not.
At one point yesterday, I had asked Porter to do something and he downright refused and said no. He likes to say no a lot lately–though it used to be “no way” and at least we’ve gotten him away from that. When Porter refuses to listen to something we ask him to do, we often place him in timeout for a few minutes. This is what happened yesterday when he refused to listen to me. After a few minutes, I went over to him and knelt by his side. I had a conversation with him that David and I have had many times before. I explained to him that when Mommy and Daddy ask him to do something that he needs to do it. I told him that it makes Mommy very sad when he doesn’t listen to me. Even though I was calm, I felt frustrated, but I was trying not to show it. Usually when we are upset with Porter, he sticks out his bottom lip and pouts. He doesn’t like when we are upset or disappointed with him. Sometimes he even cries, but what he did surprised me. He leaned over, gave me a hug, and said, “I love you, Mommy.” What should have made me feel over the moon, made me feel awful. It was the first time Porter had said “I love you” without me saying it first, and it seemed that he said it in attempt to make me feel better because he knew I was sad and upset.
Now that it’s a new day, I can recognize that as parents we all have those moments and those days when things just don’t go as planned, but yesterday, I felt like a failure. While I can recognize that nothing of what happened yesterday makes me a bad mother, I still have tears in my eyes as I recall what happened.
Do I love my kids more than anything in the world? Of course. Do I feel so lucky to be their mother? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I love every second of being a mom.
I hope admitting this makes me normal. I hope it makes me honest. I hope it means that I’m realistic as I continue on this journey we call parenthood.
Being a mom, being a parent isn’t easy, and I never expected it to be, but I am grateful that I have more moments of joy than moments of doubt, more moments of bliss than moments of despair, and more moments of patience than moments of frustration.