Written by Girl Birthday Gift
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!" comes a high-pitched squeal from the bedroom. Then another shrieking voice joins in and it sounds like we are a family of wild birds.
I can only imagine what all the ruckus sounds like to neighbors taking an evening walk on the street down below. It's 6 pm and the windows are open to let the heat from the day escape through the slats of the screens, and it feels as if every shout and bop and wail is being broadcast to the world.
Soon the squeals turn into a tantrum or meltdown because someone has ripped the red barn out of the other one's hands.
And it's at that 327th scream of the day that I reach my breaking point.
Toddlers are fantastic little specimens. They are silly, they provide high value entertainment, they are smart, they are inquisitive, they love bigger than their bodies, and they are funny. But they are also incredibly exhausting. Fourteen hour days with a 3-year-old and 1-year-old are freaking brutal mentally and physically.
Our house is scattered with stuffed animals and wooden train tracks, and those tiny socks always seem to be missing their mate on the other side of the room. Many nights I just stare at the mess and feel completely overwhelmed from the events of wrangling the people who created the explosion of toys, and I want to dramatically collapse against the wall and cry.
I try really hard to be happy and positive. I think thoughts are powerful tools which should be wielded in goodness. But I have my off days, and sometimes I just need to vent. Somedays I just need to bang my head on the wall and scream into a pillow and flick away those little devil fingers that keep trying to pinch the extra skin on the back of my arms.
And then that smug jerk called guilt walks into the room with its head held high. It says to me,
"Abbey, this is your job so quit feeling sorry for yourself and do those dishes already ... I just read on the news that the hot dogs you fed Luke and Wes for lunch AND dinner are going to give him cancer tomorrow. Oh! And one more thing before I go (as it consults its black memo notebook) ... Your baby probably hates you for putting him to bed an hour early and now he is going to suffer emotional trauma for crying it out. Have a good one, ma'am!"
And then I go and eat half an entire chocolate cake.
The moral of this story is that being a parent is hard. Trying to figure out how to raise HUMAN BEINGS is daunting. And scary. It hurts like hell when you make the wrong choice or see them suffer, and it sucks when you realize you are being the worst version of yourself.
But as parents, we need to remember we are human beings too. We are specifically wired to make mistakes. We are going to fail and lose our tempers. Our kids are going to have days where we are annexed from their hallowed best friend list or tell us they curse the day we were born—such is the life of a parent.
It's unrealistic and detrimental to hold ourselves to an expectation that only exists under the facade of perfection and idealism. It is only when we admit our flaws and weaknesses and surrender to our human emotions that we can become those superheroes our kids think we are.
Fortunately, that admiration and unconditional love I feel from my boys is the thing that keeps me going. They forgive me for my shortcomings as a mom and I find my renewal in that place. I like to imagine it as a pool of crystal, sparkling water. I feel drained at the end of the day because they are filling their pools with the love and sacrifice I give by nurturing and mothering them.
Without fail, they fill my pool back up with that pure refreshing water as well. Whether it's with their arms wide open reaching out to me for a hug, plopping themselves squarely in my lap to read a story, or the words, "I wuv you, mama," I find myself replenished.
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