So you know the post I wrote about wanting to be Super Woman? And how I'm trying to stop chasing the dream of being her? Well, last week all illusions that I ever could be her have come crashing down into one big messy pile at my feet.
Crashing Moment #1: Friday night we left the apartment in a whirlwind. The kitchen was still a disaster from dinner, but there was no cleaning and getting there on time. And so I left it all, even the bits of chicken fat on the cutting board. Gross, I know. We came home to find a thousand ants swarming the cutting board. Gag, gag, shiver and gag.
Crashing Moment #2: I had all these happy little hopes for our advent activities. I knew it would be a stretch for Aiden unless he was in the right mood. Well, he was definitely in the wrong mood on our first day of advent. I finally got him happily distracted with balls, of course, only to find that the glue was maddeningly nowhere to be found. Taping took much longer, so that Ellie lost interest. And when I tried to summarize our little lesson, her contrariness kicked in and she purposefully gave me the opposite answers to my questions. Me: "Ellie, Jesus is the what? (Answer: Light) Ellie: "The dark!"Sigh.
The Crashing Series: It feels as if Ellie and I have been in one long epic battle this past week. All the dailies of life, the hair brushing, the clothes wearing, the chore doing, the sibling sharing, the "no, you can't do that" become a warring of the wills that wears. me. out. Did you ever look at someone's kid before you had kids and subconsciously think, "My child will never be that disrespectful or disobedient"? I did. I thought discipline + loving affection = good kid. Turns out it's not so simple. I'm not saying I think Ellie is a "bad kid." But she is proving this past week, perhaps more than ever before that rebellion is steeped in her bones. And I know that just means she's human, a member of the fallen race in need of redemption. But here's what it feels like: I'm a bad mom.
I was stuck in the "I'm a bad mom" rut, focusing on all the negative, defeated before the next battle even began. It was a terrible place to be. I hate admitting all of this, showing you this big messy pile of my crumpled Super-Mom-Wanna-Be fascade. But in my commitment to vulnerability, I'm doing it anyway, because I know that it does my heart good to hear that other moms have these weeks too. That I'm not alone. Togetherness brings great comfort and hope.
Here are some other truths that are helping me climb out of my rut:
This too shall pass. I find it easier to handle Aiden's toddler tantrums than I did when Ellie was that age. I haven't found any magic solution, I just know that there's really only so much you can do until they grow out of it. They need time to learn how to handle this big world. Since we haven't passed through preschoolhood yet, it's easy to think this is just the way she is. Remember, Self, give her the grace to grow through this.
This iron will of hers, this passion that pumps in her blood may very well become her greatest strengths.
For all the rivalry that exists between my kids, they need each other like a cowboy needs a horse. Their love is thick and strong. Aiden's often waking words are "Where Eh-yay?"
Seeds are taking root. The first thing Ellie does when Daddy walks through the door is show him her advent ornament, chattering on with the complete and correct retelling of the lesson.
Remember what's worth it. I could have stayed home to clean up my chicken fat, but instead I chose to go soak up our first taste of American Christmas as a family, relishing in the richness of the old carols, the wonder of candle-lit faces, and the joy of fake snow. And that was worth a thousand dead ants.
If I am so focused on the messy pile of failures and frustrations at my feet, I will miss the wonder of it all, the gift of each moment, the sweetness of each kiss, the awe of lives sprouting before my eyes.
I don't know if my truths do anything for you, but they are helping me. What do you do on your "I'm a Bad Mom" weeks? And please tell me you have them too!