Ya’ll the last 3 days with my 3 year old have kicked my tail! I don’t know if it’s the three-anger stage (3 year olds acting like teenagers) but it’s been rough! Monday night I found myself crying on the bathroom floor because it had just been a day of constant questions, arguing, more questions, tantrums and melt downs. Somewhere between love and attitude I just couldn’t take the roller coaster anymore and let it all out with a good cry. I find that I am on a constant cycle of Mom guilt. Some days are better than others but most days I’m realizing how much guilt I feel for things I shouldn’t feel guilt for. Things like going to the dance class I love so much, working, doing laundry or cooking dinner; a tiny voice in the back of my head is saying, “she’s only 3 once you’ll regret this later.” That tiny voice may be true but I’m realizing how much I actually can’t accomplish in a day and that not only frustrates me but adds to my guilt. Do any of you feel the same way??
With Mother’s Day on the horizon I wanted to share some realizations I’ve recently had.
- Balance is a lie! Who/what/how do you even do this? It’s just a lie. My favorite quote that I repeat to myself over and over is “If you try to do everything, you do nothing.” There is zero expectation to balance cooking and playing and attitude and giving quality time to your family. It’s just not going to happen, so don’t expect yourself to “balance” all these things. Nothing will get done, if you try to do everything. Prioritize your needs and your families needs and let go of the rest. If you need quality time with your child, spend quality time and order pizza. If the laundry has piled up to the point that you literally, have no clean t-shirts in your drawers, just fold some laundry. Don’t “balance” both playing and folding laundry or you too will be crying on the bathroom floor.
- Your feelings are ok and normal and you are allowed to have them. I think as women and as mom’s we are expected to hold it all together and have an expression of zen on our faces. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Have feelings, show your feelings, let your children know why you have feelings and teach them the appropriate way to cope. Feeling stressed? Tell your child “Mommy is stressed because she has a lot to do, I am going to take some deep breaths in my room.” This not only teaches children how to do this when they experience the same feeling, it shows them that feelings are O.K.
- Children are the hardest and best thing in the world. When I was in my Doctorate program, my dissertation chair gave me some life long advice that applies to more than dissertation work; Anything worth doing, is worth doing the hard thing. When you have kids, your heart may as well be walking outside of your body. That makes things so much harder. You want to protect them, love them and keep them safe and most of the time what you get back is a melt down. And on the rare occasion your love is met with “Mommy, I love you,” it makes the tantrums, meltdowns and attitude worth it. Point being the hard stuff is worth it. Keep that in perspective.
Parenting is a beautiful kind of hard. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself, don’t believe the lies of balance and keeping all your feelings together. Keep perspective in all the hard days and moments.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there!