I Used To Be A Really Awesome Mom
And then my kid turned 4.
It really has nothing to do with him and everything to do with ME. I am a baby person. I love babies, I am good with babies, and all of the work surrounding them doesn’t make me cringe as much as it does most people. I’m not going to say that it’s not exhausting and hard- it is- but most days, I didn’t mind it much. As Sawyer has gotten older, things have gotten so much harder. There is no less love, just a lot more frustration and misunderstanding.
I’m not that great at being a “gentle parent” to a preschooler. Sawyer is very spirited and strong willed, and so am I. We butt heads- a LOT. Just this morning we got into a screaming match over getting dressed for school. Him refusing to take off his Captain America costume and me getting frustrated over the fact that we were going to be late and OMG HOW CAN IT TAKE AN HOUR TO PUT ON SOME PANTS?! Then, it was a battle over shoes- no you can’t wear sandals when it’s snowing. Then over his jacket- no you can’t wear a raincoat, you have to wear a warm coat. Then another battle over wearing a hat and mittens. They go outside to play at school rain or shine, so he has to be warm. It’s not like he’s just going from the car to a warm building. Then, we were both crying in frustration.
I don’t want to be upset with my child. Who does? However, we have to get to school on time. He has to wear seasonally appropriate clothing outside of the house (in the house I don’t care what he does- most of the time he’s in his underpants or some sort of costume), he has to cooperate when he gets dropped off at the sitter. Unless we want to be living in a cardboard box, I have to work. I have to have some cooperation with that.
I never used to yell. I never used to get so frustrated I had to walk away. I could hold it together, realize that my child was just being a CHILD, and get us both back on track. Over the last few months, I’ve somehow lost the ability to do that and I’m not quite sure how to get it back.
I used to be so patient. We had tons of activities planned and I was so fully present. Now, I’m just happy to have made it through the day without any major battles. I want to figure out how to get back to that. I want to be excited to be a mom again.
I’m not trying to say that I hate being a mom or that I think I’m a bad one- that’s not the case. I just am not the mom I want to be right now and a lot of that has nothing to do with the inevitable trials of dealing with a 4 year old (although that doesn’t exactly help the situation, either.) It has everything to do with my own personal shortcomings and the difficulties and stress that are in my own life. I’m working a lot over the next month to make sure we have money for Christmas. I’m exhausted and short fused. My feathers are easily ruffled when it comes to things like being on time for appointments, school, work, etc. I have a hard time putting myself in my child’s shoes when it comes to understanding why he won’t get dressed, eat, pee when he OBVIOUSLY HAS TO, get in the car, hold my hand when crossing the street, and so on. I am the one who gets extremely upset in those situations and then it ends up making HIM upset. Which makes me even more upset, and it just keeps going.
I’ve realized that most times I am the one who needs a time out.
So, this is my promise to both myself and my son- every day I am going to try to do a little bit better than I did the day before. I promise to try not to yell. I will remember the mom that I once was- the patient, kind, doting mother that I was so proud to be. I will read, practice, and do whatever I need to do to make my attitude change. I will keep the gentleness to my tone and not replace it with the bitter sting of anger.
I will be that awesome mom again.