As a parent, we all know the daily internal struggle.
The one where you want to be super human and win at every aspect of your life that day. The one where you wake before your kids, shower and get ready for the day, finish cleaning the dishes from last night while your precious angels snooze until exactly time to get up where they then greet the day and you with a sweet, sleepy smile and eat their breakfast and get dressed and into the car without a single argument or tantrum.
And then you go to work and slay the day. You nail your presentation, you identify a potentially catastrophic situation that could negatively impact your client and you solve the hell out of it and the client is so grateful and impressed with your super human talent that they finally sign off on the large SOW they’ve been “reviewing” for three weeks and then your bosses are super happy about that and everyone is toasting champagne and showering you in accolades.
And then you pick up your darling tiny humans and feed them a nutritious and well balanced meal that you had prepped over the weekend and they love it and eat it all without protest. And then finally, when it is time for bed they simply give you hugs and kisses and announce “I am going to bed because I know the importance of being well rested. Thank you for being such a wonderful parent. I’m the luckiest kid alive.”
Like, to the point I’m not even mad about it anymore; I’m impressed. I have been in a sort of funk that I just can’t shake. And I hate it because this is my absolute favorite time of year.
Then daylight savings ended and we were in the pacific time zone when it occurred. Pro-tip: don’t travel west when DST is ending; it’s the worst.
Then we got home and our precious tiny human decided to stop sleeping all night and that 3:30 a.m. was a perfectly reasonable time to be awake.
He would cry until you came into his room. Normally when he wakes up in the middle of the night it’s because he’s scared, or thirsty, or uncomfortable. And he asks to be consoled. But this was not normal. When you would walk in he would immediately stop crying, smile and say “hi!” 😩😩😩😩
This went on for four nights. We tried bringing him to bed with us but he would just roll around and karate kick us in the face and punch us in the eye. Until he passed out from exhaustion…at 5:30. And then he was S U P E R unpleasant at 7:30 when it was time to get up for the day and go to school. Nobody was sleeping well and everyone was miserable.
It all came to a spectacular finale yesterday. I spent the entire day in my sleep deprived, anxiety-raddled funk. As I was heading to the school for pick up, I received this message from my neighbor.
After frantically trying to get a hold of the husband, I finally reach him and pass on the message. “What do I do?” I asked, “I’m worried about Murphy.” Go get dinner and I’ll let you know when it’s safe to come home, I was instructed.
So, off to dinner with an overtired toddler I went. He was mostly okay, but he didn’t nap well and all he wanted to do was not eat what I gave him. Fine. Let’s walk around the store. Much better.
He picked out all of the things he wanted and we went to the register where I paid for only the things we needed and gave the rest back to the cashier, feeling terrible because now someone was going to have to put all of that back on the shelves; but it was either that or have a fight with a toddler over vanilla pudding. No one wins in that situation.
Feeling like I might be turning the corner, we head to the car to continue on our store wandering adventure. I unlock the car, open the passenger side door, place my bags into the car along with my jacket and purse, and close the door only to hear all the doors lock and my car alarm go off. Which I can do nothing about because my keys are in my jacket.
Of course this is when I get the call that it is safe to come home. I’m done with this day.
The husband comes to the rescue and we all go home. As I’m sitting with my tiny human in his rocking chair before bed, I notice he is really squirmy and won’t settle down. His teacher mentioned he had a hard time settling for nap time, too.
So I look down at him and notice he’s eating his blanket and I ask him “buddy, do your teeth hurt?” And in the sweetest, most angelic voice he says “yeah.”
Uuuggghhhhhh. Punch right into the heart. The last four nights have been terrible because your teeth hurt and you can’t say “my teeth hurt” but if I would have just asked we would all be happier!!!!
So feeling like the worst mom ever, we go get some medicine and within ten minutes he’s snoozing soundly and slept all night.
And while all of this is going on, I still have dishes in the sink. And laundry in the dryer. And the washer. And in baskets waiting to be put away. Basically, I’m killing this #adulting thing.
And then, while I’m feeling my absolute worst about the most important aspects of my life, this pops up in my feed.
You guys, I needed the reminder that it’s all just fleeting. Because even though I feel like I’m failing hard, I watched my kid at dinner tonight and he is so happy. When I picked him up from school he was so filled with joy over airplanes in the sky that he couldn’t wait to show me. He’s so excited about life that he had to go down the slide three more times before we left the playground. He loves his parents so much he couldn’t wait to have a dance party in the family room. And he feels so safe and secure that he fell asleep in my arms.
I might be failing at dishes and laundry and fancy car safety features, but if I’m honest with myself and set all of the Mom-guilt aside, I’m doing Mom right. I’m not perfect. I lack patience and have to mindfully practice my reactions to situations that frustrate me. I don’t succeed at handling them all correctly. Because I’m not perfect. But I am absolutely the perfect mom for my kiddo. I’m exactly the Mom he needs. And my husband is exactly the Dad he needs.
So, to all the other parents out there that feel like they are failing at the important things, you’re not alone. None of us have it all figured out and nobody received a secret manual that we are all keeping from you. Even though a lot of days it feels like we’re watching other parents crush every piece of parenting, if you really watch your kids I’ll bet you realize you are winning the #parenting thing.