Today in that scary calm mommy voice I told the kids to get inside, take off their shoes and go to their rooms until I told them to come out.
I was about 1 nanosecond from screaming SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!
They went to their rooms, quietly and when they were safely shut inside their rooms they began to scream and cry. They must have felt they were safe from the wrath of mama behind the closed doors. And I didn't care that they were screaming for the same reason - they were behind closed doors, not my responsibility anymore.
I called two friends.
First I called Bekah, my forever friend from college. We never have to waste time on pleasantries. We can go two days or two months without talking, it doesn't matter. I will love Bekah forever. I began with my kids are in their rooms screaming. Francesca is whining incessantly and Nico is more rambunctious than ever. They are both driving me crazy. I think it must be my fault but know it's more of an ages and stages kind of thing. I don't give into the whining, she has to try again but it continues. Bekah says OH NO, two year olds whine. She has had five of them so far and has tried everything in the book, they all seem to get over it but not so much from anything she has done. As the mom of six and an old school parenting style I trust Bekah to be a straight talker. She says a friend of hers asked if she should combat her two year old's whining with a bar of soap. Bekah told her it would be akin to torture, she would be washing out that mouth all day long - a 2 year old whines. I laughed out loud.........it felt so good. The pressure valve was released.
This is exactly what I needed to hear.
I needed to hear confirmation that I wasn't crazy and that I wasn't a bad mom.
She reminded me of ages and stages and phases. I remember Fia whining, I remember Nico whining but was it this bad? This constant? Probably. I needed to be reminded.
She reminds me I'm a good mom.
Bekah always tells me I am a good mom exactly when I need to hear it. And if you know Bekah she nevers says what she doesn't mean. So it means a lot.
My next call is to what I hope is my newest forever friend. I don't give this title out lightly and am always surprised when it happens again. When you find that friend where you don't seem to go through the total awkwardness of new friendship. It is even more of a bonus when your husbands and kids get along :) So I call Liga and give her the same story because two of Bekah's girls were following her around and she needed to go and I still felt the need to keep the kids in the rooms and to talk to another mom.
She says oh that's so good of you. Something along the lines of good job for not yelling.
You really think that? I was just thinking that I was awful for losing it. But she reminds me that I DIDN'T lose it. Just what I needed to hear.
Can I do anything to help? she asks.
Aahhhhh.......the peace that comes from understanding.
The joy that comes from a friendly, supportive voice.
Voices, women that tell you that you ARE a good mom. That remind you that kids are kids, that you are doing the best you can and it's good.
They give you the time and space to laugh and to see the moments for what they are.........just moments. They pass and you move on to better moments.
Parenting is an uphill battle. It just is. We are imperfect, our kids are imperfect. When we expect too much or we expect every day to be joyful and content and well-behaved we are fooling ourselves and letting ourselves in for a world of hurt. And when we start to try to be perfect for others, for other moms, for our parents, for strangers in the store that leads to stress and anxiety BECAUSE IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
How much better to call and tell of our hurts and our frustrations and our bad days. It lets other moms and parents not be perfect. It allows them to share their hurts and frustrations and bad days.
I guess I just wanted to tell you all that sometimes moms need to hear it. They need confirmation that they are doing a good job. They need it from people who see them day in and day out. People who know their children, who know them, who see the job they are doing.
It's hard. It's a long journey, this journey to raise kids. The results aren't guaranteed - no matter what book you read, what prayers you pray, what classes you take, what rules you make. So we need to rally around one another, cheering one another on, noticing the big and small things we do every day. So many times we don't need advice or criticism or small silences in which we fill the space with our own negative thoughts, we need encouragement. We need someone to listen. We need someone who understands and even if they don't, then to still pat us on the back and say good job. We believe in you.
So...................I BELIEVE IN YOU.
I know it's hard and I think it's AMAZING that you got up today to do it all over again and that you are going to get up and do it all over again tomorrow...........AMAZING.
When your kids are yelling and screaming and whining in the store.........GOOD JOB for not totally losing it and running them over with the shopping cart.......because I know you have thought about it :)
When it's hot and everyone is tired and no one REALLY wants to be at the zoo anymore but everyone is whining about leaving..........I am SO IMPRESSED that you actually took your kids home and didn't leave them there.
When you've been up all night with a crying baby, toddler nightmares, bedwetting preschoolers or kids who just want to talk and you are tired and cranky and everyone is needing you......GREAT JOB for making sure everyone is fed, at least partially dressed and keeping the household running......seriously, GREAT JOB. Sleep deprivation is brutal.
Did you get your kid to school on time, fully dressed, with some form of lunch, their book bag packed and breakfast in them? MIRACULOUS! How do you do it every single day? MIRACULOUS!
Every day contains parenting miracles. Remember that. Recognize yours. At some point in your day you did some really good stuff. And at some point today, some other parent did some really good stuff. Recognize THEM. Recognize their good stuff, their parenting miracles.
I love you all. I want you to know that. You are good people.
Thanks for reading my words. It means something.