Lately, it seems like all I do is scream at my kids. I’m a pretty happy person with a normal amount of stress. I have a good marriage, a great job, and I’m not overwhelmed–any more than other working moms. I don’t need medication or a vacation from my life. But I always hear people talking about how these are the best years of your life and you should enjoy them, and I really just feel like…I can’t wait until they are grown and not arguing constantly over who looked at whom or who touched what. I’m not a bad mom, but every morning I wake up vowing to enjoy them more and yell at them less, but most nights I go to bed feeling like I fell short. I love my kids so much it hurts, and I don’t want them to have bad memories or baggage.
Oh honey…reading this I can tell what a good mom you are and that your kids are so very fortunate God gave them to you. I have children in various stages of development: an adult woman–23, a teenage boy–16, and a tween girl–10. In 23 years of parenting, I’ve had a million realizations, but one is that I’m best with babies and adults. If I can hold, bounce, snuggle, or stick a boob in your mouth, we get along. If we can have wine and talk about feelings, we’re golden. It’s the years in between nursing and drinking that keep me in flux. Parenting teens and tweens and preschoolers–can we agree 3-year-olds are assholes–is not that much fun.
I promise you’re in good company. I wake up every morning with the intention of doing better, and many nights I go to bed beating myself up. Here’s the thing: All of that beating ourselves up means we’re paying attention. We’re trying. If you go to bed at night and don’t question at least one thing you did or said during the day, good for you; you might be a psychopath. I’m kidding obviously, kinda, but isn’t awareness always the first step whether we’re addressing addiction or overeating or yelling at our kids? We can’t change anything until we realize there’s something that might need to be changed.
You’re not alone, friend. I’ve felt this more times than I can count. And I’ve had this discussion with so many great moms because I surround myself with fabulous women who overthink their parenting. Never had it with a bad mom though…go figure.
Here’s the thing: If you wake up every morning trying to do better, you’re probably already doing great. Give yourself a break. I yell at my kids too much. But I also say, “You know what…I’m sorry I yelled about that. I was feeling [insert whatever emotion or baggage I projected onto the situation] and reacted inappropriately.” They’re well-versed in Brene Brown and Shefali Tsabary.
We’re human. We fuck up. That’s not going to change. But we can accept those times we fall short as normal, own our behavior, and keep on keeping on. Works in progress, sweetheart, works in progress.
If you haven’t already read this article by Glennon Doyle Melton, I suggest you read it, frame it, tattoo its wisdom somewhere on your body, because it’s pure gold.