I'm posting a rerun today. It's a post I wrote almost two years ago and just reread. And it actually helped encourage me today and remind me of the insight the Lord gave me then and reminded me of today.
It hit me today- like a slap in the face, kick in the pants, load of bricks dropped from above hit me. I am a mom to two toddlers! Hmmm... My first reaction was a smile that stretched my cheeks far higher than I normally allow. Then, as a I sat in my very hot car in front of the grocery store, I felt a tiny bit of fear creep over me. Just a touch, like a nervous feeling you get when you are driving somewhere unfamiliar, worried you may become lost. I asked myself if I knew what I was doing, if I was ready for the road that lay ahead. The answer was a decibel breaking, glaring "NO!"
I don't know what I'm doing!! I don't think I have prepared myself for what's ahead. Then again how could I?
I grew up with one torturous younger sister who I spent more time fighting with than teaching anything. My parents tried to constantly teach me that I was an example to her, more by default than passionate drive on my part. But really, how much did I take that to heart when most of the time she was pelting me?! I was always thinking "She's got it figured out without my help, thank you!"
I babysat a lot, but most of my kids were angels and the few trouble children I did have all went to bed on time!
I even took one of those family living classes in high school where you carry around a mechanical doll that eats, needs to be changed and cries at twenty minute intervals in the middle of the night (I wish my kids were that predictable). However, my very small, privately funded school couldn't fork over the bucks for the real dolls and therefore we just brought stuffed animals from home. This was a very poor lesson in family living, seeing as mine stayed the night in the trunk of my Pontiac Sunfire each night and was shoved deep in my locker during school. Once I got to Family living class, I pulled out Fluffy (renamed Becky for this particular exercise) and cradled her sweetly for the 45 minutes I was required to be a parent to the tattered pink bunny.
The twenty-something toddlers in my Sunday school class didn't count either; they loved me, but who doesn't love the blonde lady that comes once a week to sing, do crafts, tell you a story and give you a tasty snack?
So as you can see, my resume going into this job of motherhood was beyond less than sufficient. It was pathetic.
Nothing prepared me for the experiences that are now my every day life.
There are so many ups and downs, it rivals the coasters at six flags! Some days my kids are just sweet as daisies and others they are as prickly as hubby's cactus collection (whole other blog topic, the man has a strange fondness for painful xerophytes).
For example, almost every night when I put my daughter to bed she thanks me for EVERYTHING that we did, made, ate or anything that day. She will thank me for breakfast, and exactly what she ate; she thanks me for playing cars with her, finding a ladybug, brushing her hair, giving her water, taking her potty or going bye bye to see friends- you get the idea. She is so incredibly tender and darling so often and when she goes through her thankful list, I just absolutely melt to the floor like a Hershey's in the sun.
However, then there are times when she is just so awful- hellish, almost! The other day we went to lunch with some friends and she was victimizing every child there. She couldn't stop her flagrant screeching, hitting, glowering and doing some sort of angry hand gesture towards the other kids that very closely resembled spell casting gestures. Scary. These are moments when I just wonder how in the world she can be so mean??
And now, as my son is getting a bit older, I am already seeing the roller coaster with him. He also has moments where he is just as calm, collected and convivial as Buddha himself. Then there are the moments where he is squawking like the crows in an abandoned park; he has even started to throw himself down on the ground and turn on the flood of tears when he doesn't get what he wants! What gives?
There are moments when I find myself wanting to pound my head against the wall out of pure disgruntlement. Case in point, the other day while I was cleaning up around the house, I had gathered my small rugs to shake outside. I set them in a pile on the front sidewalk and went inside to get one other rug. I had just washed them all after son's birthday and they are those ones that are braided yarn and cotton, so you don't wash them often because they fall apart easily in the wash. Anyway, daughter was "helping" me and ran outside in front of me. As I was slipping my shoes back on, she stood right on top of the pile of clean-but-dusty rugs and peed!!
AGGGHHHH! I totally flipped! Something so silly, when thrown on top of a very long and somewhat vexing week, just sent me in to "no turning back, completely lost my marbles land." Thank heavens Hubby walked in right at that moment and I had only gotten so far as to take daughter to the bathroom to clean up. I went upstairs and cooled down, only to start crying thinking about how silly that situation was that got me so angry.
Why was I reacting this way? Why can't I handle this stuff? I am a mom, I should be the glowing source of perfect responses, precise answers and all motherly knowledge, right? It couldn't be further from the truth. Sometimes I feel I am trying to scale a mountain with flip flops on (which is not very unrealistic to think about, I do everything in flip flops). I feel like I am just reaching and grasping, struggling to hold on to any sort of control that I can.
Perhaps that is where my feelings of defeat begin; I have yet to accept that I don't have the answers because I have never done this before. I don't have control; I have two toddlers, and I have never had two toddlers before. Tomorrow I will experience things I have never experienced before. Daughter will ask me something I have yet to answer and say things fresh to my ears. Son may say a new word, he did today! He will walk a little more steady and be a bit more attentive to the world around him. Perhaps we will experience a tantrum of new proportions or in a different public place with an uncontaminated audience. And rather than beating myself up, wondering why I am so frustrated, why I am not reacting the way that mom in the Parents article says to react, or why my kids are behaving the way they are in the first place, I am going to remind myself that this IS my first rodeo. This is new and fresh, waiting for me to take it, mold it, and shape it into the experiences that are becoming my life story.
Perhaps I should remember that God gave me my children, so who better to ask for help than their Maker? I should spend more time on my knees with my head bowed, than wracking my brain wondering where I have gone wrong and trouncing myself for not knowing how to fix everything.
In order for me to be able to enter this new phase of my life with two toddlers, I must learn to accept that God believes that I can do this and do it well, or He wouldn't have entrusted these precious little lives to my care. What a humbling thought, God believes in ME! Wow, and why don't I remember that each and every day when my children cling to me in unfamiliar situations or look to me before running to play with friends. My children believe in ME! Why is it so very difficult to believe in myself? I think that if I remind myself of that and accept that I will fail and I will learn from those failures and get back up and try to do better next time, I will make it through my toddler years, my school years, and everything else God has planned for me as the tot mom I have become.