Before I became a mom for the first time, I knew exactly what I wanted my motherhood and family to look like. I was patient, loving, full of energy and convinced I would never become one of “those parents”. I didn’t understand why people ever yelled at their kids or lost their patience, why some children had permanent snotty noses and why people insisted on leaving dirty diapers in their car. While I was among the ranks of daughters that heard, “you’ll understand it when you are a parent someday”, I insisted that I wouldn’t. That my family would have it all together and I would be somehow immune to LIFE.
Just to get this out in the open right now – yes, I lose my patience. All too often. Yes, I have gone to bed and laid awake wondering if I had scarred my child for life with my inexcusable “adult temper tantrums”. I’ve been to the bottom of the barrel, cried (over and over) in front of my children when I just can’t handle anymore, and had to say sorry (again and again). I have daily moments of frustration, and times when I feel like all I do all day is redirect and play referee. While I now know I don’t even have a CLUE about what is coming in the future, I also have gotten my fair share of a swift kick in the pants and a (large) slice of humble pie. My kids aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect (as a wife or a mother). My life isn’t a fairy tale. It’s the down and dirty, get-through-the-days, smile all you can and pray for a good end result (and a happy family!). It’s crazy, chaotic, pull-your-hair-out, beautiful.
While I wouldn’t trade my husband or children for the world, sometimes I would be ok with a step outside of reality for a few minutes of fresh air.
Speaking of fresh air, it is my saving grace when I just can’t take a second more AND my preventative “medicine” for the chaos of life with three young children. If I thought getting out the door before L was born was hard, throwing in a baby who needs to nurse and be changed every couple of hours (usually at the most inopportune times, of course) AND her brothers that know they can get away with whatever while I am doing the said nursing, we’re lucky if it takes us *only* a couple of hours. I literally spend my first waking hours racing the lunch time “alarm – AKA meltdown – clock” in an effort to get everyone ready for the day AND outside before lunch and naps. If I don’t succeed (which, believe it or not, DOES happen), the kids are crawling the walls, I am biting my tongue and muttering under my breath, and the house looks like a bomb went off in it. Throw in an impatient 100 pound lab and we’re set up for complete failure. Seriously – it’s that bad around here.
The days when all I want to do is put my head down and get the toilets cleaned for once and be able to walk through the living room without tripping (and so forgo outside time) are the days when I get nothing done. It’s completely unfair. But, the truth is we (all of us) NEED that recess for productivity and the ability to smile and let it (whatever “it” happens to be) slide right off our backs.
I shock myself that I need daily reminders that getting out DOES make a difference and IS worth it, because by golly it’s tough to even get out of the house for any reason! But, even if we are all still in our pajamas (there’s perks to these spring snow storms which means you can cover everything with snow pants and jackets), we’re getting a walk around the block!
This is the type of situation where the only thing I know is that no matter what, I am a better mom when I can get outside and the effort is worth it. My patience is improved, I yell less, I love more and I am happier with myself and the life I chose (and love!).
What’s your go-to action when the days are long, the stress is high and the kids are bouncing off the walls?
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