Today- E is for Encouragement.
I've written about similar topics before.
Things regarding "Mompetition" and "Super Moms".
One of the hardest jobs I ever signed up for was becoming a Mother. Nothing out there has ever challenged me as much or stressed me out quite as much.
I LOVE being a Mom. While it is the hardest job ever, it's also the most rewarding.
Lately, if you've been on Facebook or the Internet it's all about parents attacking parents over how children should be raised, what other parents are doing wrong, what they are doing that's right and how you should be following their example.
Shoot, I've even seen advice posted on how to raise kids from people who aren't even parents yet.
What struggles do I face as a parent?
Some days, more than I would like to admit, because I feel that I would no longer be a "good" mother according to others. And I know, in my head, that it really shouldn't matter what people think of me or what others feel I'm doing wrong. But, for some reason, it does and I don't often post much about my family and what we struggle with.
My oldest (6 year old), Evan, is a great child. Loving, caring with his siblings and very smart. But he tests me daily with his sarcastic remarks and snarky attitude, as I'm sure most 6 year olds do. I would like to say that I'm rational and calm with him, every time he smarts off to me. But, in all honesty, at the end of the day, I'm at my wits end and it takes all I have to not scream with frustration and send him off to his room.
The twins are heading out of the "terrible 2" phase and colliding head on with the "OMG, is this what 3 is going to be?" phase.
Morgan isn't too bad, compared to her brothers. But, she is stubborn. If you do something that she doesn't want to do, you may as well try to lift the house off the foundation with just your bare hands and a hammer. Toss in screaming, at a very high pitch, and you have my daughter. That's how hard it is to get her to comply with simple instructions when she's not on board with your plan.
Declan is my attention grabber and over-active one. Every time I think I've removed a hazard from our home, he finds a new one to scare me with. Everything in our home right now is either unbreakable or nailed to the wall. We found him sitting in the top drawer of his dresser the other day. He used the other drawers to climb to the top. Luckily, it's bolted to the wall, but the drawers could have fallen out. He removes poop from his diaper just because. He pushes, he hits and throws some MAJOR tantrums that could last up to a half hour. Declan is the child that makes me want to avoid public places in fear of how he acts or might act.
Somedays I wish I could have more "real" moms to talk to. The ones that tell you the truth about how hard this is, not the parents that sugar coat it or constantly judge you on what you are doing wrong and could be doing better.
I struggle with questions, like, "am I dealing with this situation properly?", "Will this idea of mine backfire?", "Am I a bad mother because my child acts this way?" "I wonder what those other Moms are doing that I'm not doing because their kid isn't running up and down aisles like one that sucked down pixie sticks full of sugar and crack?"
And I have to believe that I'm not the only Mom out there dealing with the same questions.
Unfortunately, in a world where you only see the "good" on Facebook or on Pinterest, it's almost like we are living a lie. I cannot live up to those expectations. There's no way I would make it into the "Super Mom" club.
I'm just a mom with 3 kids, and sometimes I fail. Sometimes I do lose my patience and get angry. Some days feel as if they will never end and I start to wonder if the only word I said to my kids all day was "no". There are times I do get angry and after 3 warnings, I do spank my kids on the tush. I'm pretty sure there are parents out there that would not agree with my logic. I'm OK with that. But I'm also not telling them what they need to be doing as parents.
I fail at being the mom that I pictured I would be, back before I had kids.
I swore up and down that I wouldn't spank my kids, I would breastfeed them all and I promised that I would be the best Mom in the world.
I failed. On all accounts.
It's seriously hard to admit that, even to myself.
There's so much guilt that comes with that admission, but I'm trying to get over that.
I may not be the best parent, but I'm doing the best I can. I may not have a child that can meet his milestones, but he's also a different child from others and he's better at other things, like climbing. My older son may smart off from time to time, but he tells me he loves me every day, so I must be doing something right.
What I'm 100% sure of, is that they are loved.
Really, really, well loved.
Those kids of mine, happen to be my favorite people on this planet.
I think that as Mom's (or Dad's I guess...although, I haven't seen as much "bickering" between men about what their kids ate that day) that should be all that matters. And we need to support and encourage each other more often. Each parent deserves that much because we are all doing our best and sometimes a simple, "Go you!" is all we need to get through another tantrum right in the middle of the grocery store. Or a "Keep trying, it's all good!" is all we need to encourage us to make healthier meals instead of taking the "easy" way out sometimes.
So the next time you see a Mom (or Dad), fighting with a toddler, looking like they are holding in a scream while running towards the wine aisle, say something nice. Something simple. Something encouraging. Keep the negative or "helpful" comments inside.
Maybe with a little more of that, we can all start admitting that there are times when we look at our child like we aren't even sure they are ours.
(I'm pretty sure the twins are mine. Evan, however, that's still up in the air. I was knocked out for his birth and Jay wasn't in the room with me for the c-section.)
This job is hard. Wearing a thick cloak of guilt over whether you are doing a good job or not, makes it harder and more stressful. Getting negative comments on top of that, is all takes to push me over the edge, and then I end up crying in the bathroom wondering how God could have ever let me be a Mom.
So, to other Moms (and Dads) out there....
Way to go!
Keep up the good work!