The other day, I went to pick up Little Miss E from preschool. She looked at me and scowled. “I don’t want you, I want daddy!” I tried to ignore it, laughed it off and commiserated with the other moms that were struggling with their four-year-olds. I tried to get Little Miss E to put on her coat and boots so we could leave, but she ignored me with the same grimace on her face as before. The teacher came out and I frankly asked, “how’s’ E doing in class?” (Secretly wondering if I was the only one that was struggling or if it was bleeding into school.) The teacher shared that it had been a tough day. As I was talking to her, E then kicked me and the teacher stepped in to correct her. My eyes filled with tears…I was sad and a bit embarrassed. Was this going to be one of those days?
Am I Failing At Motherhood?
We are only four years into this momming thing and I pray that I am not royally messing up my kids! Seriously, I need divine intervention in order for these kids to turn out ok! It’s clear that most of the time, I’m not my daughter’s favorite and I am well aware of my shortcomings that don’t help the situation at all! I lack patience, yell way too often, and am terrible at playing kid games. She might even say I’m a momster!
I’m not kidding when I say that on more than one occasion (e.g. daily) I’ve had one or both kids cling to my husband or nanny instead of coming into my outstretched arms.
Literally, my daughter has renamed Saturday to “dadurday” and in her mind, that means that she want’s nothing to do with mama…mama can’t sit next to her during meals, mama can’t help her get dressed, even if mama is fortunate enough to tag along, the talk of “dadurday” is non stop in her effort to communicate to me that she loves daddy more (or at least that’s how it feels.)
Where did I go wrong?
On any given day, it’s hard to pinpoint what the trigger is. Maybe it was a lack of patience, raising my voice, lack of quality time, or something else altogether.
Lack of Patience
Let’s start with lack of patience. How many times have I said “hurry up?!?” … “put on your shoes”…”brush your teeth”…”get in the car”, you name it and I’ve probably said “hurry up” in front of it!
Yelling…can you believe it, I’m a yeller, or at least I’ve become one. When I used to take care of my nieces or friend’s kids, I never yelled. To the point above, I had patience until the cows came home. But now, with the two most precious gifts I’ve ever received, I raise my voice daily! I’m not proud of it…but it does happen more often than I’d like.
Not Playing Games
So, my husband is awesome at playing games with the kids…he’s definitely more fun than mama. I do things like cooking or crafts with the kids, but, like my mom put it…”Play is like currency with kids.” It’s what they love and it speaks to their hearts!
The Worst & The Best
It sucks to feel like your failing at the most important job of your life! On a day like the one that I described above, my heart hurts and I fear the worst, but then, in the blink of an eye, things change. Something is needed for school, comfort is desired after a fall, a cuddle is sought at the break of day and the words that make my heart sing are whispered…”I love you mommy…you’re my favorite mommy ever!” Or, Baby G, who doesn’t have many words yet, wants “up” – he wants me to hold him while I’m cooking, cleaning, brushing my teeth…you name it. He doesn’t care what I’m doing, he just wants mama!
From Mom Fail to Mom Prevail
You see, the role of mama is so much bigger than a brief moment picking up your daughter from preschool when she’s having an off day. Losing your patience, raising your voice, or not playing enough does not define it! The depth of love you give measures the role of mama best. Love is patient, love is kind…it rejoices in the truth…always protects…always perseveres! It’s displayed most by just being…being there when a hug is needed, a pep talk is warranted, or a tear needs to be wiped away. Consistency- day in day out! Love can be soft and squishy, but it can also be hard and difficult (a.k.a. tough love) – the times when you have to stick to your guns because you know there’s a greater outcome in the long run.
What to do when you have one of those days
So, now that I’m back to acknowledge that I’m not a “momster” what to do when we have another one of those days?
Broaden your perspective…remind yourself of your most recent hug from your little or the last time Y’all had a memorable time. Remember that a preschooler’s feelings change with the wind. One minute they “hate” you and the next minute you’re the best thing ever.
Look at the situation with a sense of humor. Remember, one day you’ll look back on this mom fail and laugh!
Acknowledge Your Strengths
The reality is, we’re not perfect. In my case, my husband really is great at playing with the kids and I’m not as great, but I am great at other things. We’re a team and together, we got the basis covered! I might not be great at playing, but I am great at organizing play dates and outings!
Find others that have gone ahead of you, maybe that’s your parents, maybe it’s a mentor; maybe it’s an online parenting class. Whatever it is, seek the wisdom of others and continue to learn and grow your own parenting skills!
Pat Yourself on the Back
Parenting is hard! It’s a tough job. Think marathon…not sprint. That’s why we do things with our own kids that we likely didn’t do with our nieces/nephews or friend’s kids. Acknowledge what you’re doing right, give yourself grace for the rough areas, and commit to learning how to do things better with your kids.
The next time you feel like a momster and want to focus on all of your shortcomings, zoom out, lighten up, recognize your strengths, keep growing, and acknowledge everything you bring to the table. You got this mom…you’re not a mom fail you’re a mom that prevails!
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