I’ll be completely honest with you. I was the best mother ever before I had kids. I often saw other mothers out and about with their toddlers and little ones angrily talking through clenched teeth, threatening to smack bottoms, and the like. I saw children around two years old and older with pacifiers – GASP! I watched as mothers bribed children to sit still with M&Ms, Tic-Tacs, trips to the playground and everything else under the sun. Oh the things I said I’d never do…
I watched as mothers half grinned though embarrassment at their small child throwing a tantrum as they excused the behavior with, “Sorry, he didn’t have a nap,” “She is getting her molars,” and “He’s 2 and a 1/2.” I silently promised myself to never excuse my child’s ‘bad behavior’ because I would teach them to act better than that. I swore my child would never be that child. You just have to teach them better than that. You just have to put your foot down a little harder. You’ve got to make sure they know who is in charge.
All the times I watched children on the playground, at the park and other places I vowed to never let my children hit other children. I would ask myself,”What in the world is wrong with these children? What in the world are these mothers doing to create such little monsters?”
Then the light came shining down as my first born turned 2. And then the top of the world came crashing down when she turned 2 and a 1/2. And people say God doesn’t have a sense of humor…ever hang out with a 2 and a 1/2yr old? It is amazing how great of a mother I was before I ever had children. For now I am the mother who occupies her child with Tic-Tacs in the shopping cart, who allows her to ‘ride in the big part’ because it keeps her from pitching a fit and who is being hit, kicked and challenged at every other word that comes out of my Mama mouth!
The world has a way of humbling us all. I used to feel like such a failure when my daughter went from sweet, compliant, helpful and happy to feisty, argumentative, stubborn and determined as all get out to do it her way and on her own terms. So many days I sat and cried thinking I failed at Motherhood because my daughter was now that child that I swore she’d never be. Then it hit me like a crowbar to the forehead…it isn’t about me. It’s about her. This is her journey, her battle, her growth, her life. She has to challenge, to question, to push boundaries to find out where she fits in. It isn’t about intentionally ruining my day, it’s about finding her balance on an ever spinning world.
Oh the difference it makes to see this for what it really is. My independent, beautiful, strong-willed child is every bit of what I wanted her to be, herself. And now I no longer feel like a failure, but I reach out to other mothers and we bond through common ground, experience and challenges. So to any of you who feel it’s about you, guess again. Once you have children, it isn’t about you anymore. Once you retrain your mind to think differently, once you change your perspective and pay attention to how you allow yourself to respond, things will flow much smoother. But again, easier said than done.
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