I blew it.
Every day I wake up and tell myself to make the most of the day. To be patient. To be understanding. To be the parent our boys deserve.
Some days I hit a home run. I engage, create, play, listen, comfort, and console. Those days I tuck them in at night and feel content and hopeful. Hopeful that I’m doing this whole parenting thing right. Hopeful that this day’s good will spill over into the next one, and the next, and maybe even the day after that.
But the next day there are shortened tempers, tattling, demands for favourite pants that are still wet from the washing machine. But I cling to the good from yesterday and dig in deeper to make it return. But this day there are battles over diggers, refusals to put on socks, back talk over packing vegetables in their lunches.
There’s still hope to turn this day around before yesterday’s good slips away completely. I take a deep breath and remind myself that they are young and selfish and sometimes just jerks. I need to model patience and compassion, tolerance and forgiveness.
He’s giving you a message, are you listening? He’s asking for that back, talk it out.
I feel yesterday’s good seeping out via yelling and slamming and stomping and then finally realize that I am doing it, too.
Don’t talk to me that way! STOP IT. STOP. IT. I WON’T HAVE IT.
My hand comes crashing down on the countertop for emphasis.
Emphasis? Or just frustration? Anger? It is anger.
Anger that they are cruel to each other. Anger that they deliberately set each other off. And anger at myself for losing control of my temper – the very thing I try every day to instil in their young personas.
I blew it.
We talk it out and we try to smooth over the powerful emotions. Apologies are offered and forgiveness received. But yesterday’s good is long gone – there’s nothing reserved for today. Today we start from scratch.
A friend texts and I share the struggles of the morning. I’m getting better at that, the sharing of the real stuff. Admitting that sometimes parenting is difficult makes you vulnerable, but I’m learning that I can’t do it on my own. I can’t even do this with just my husband. I need to be honest with my friends and let them be part of the funny anecdotes and the uglier moments.
This day I tuck our boys into bed and whisper into their hair how much I love them and I get a giant squeeze around my neck. There it is, I can see it – tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, full of good.
Thank you, friends who walk this path of parenting that is both terrifying and joyful all at once. I could not do it without you.