I have felt defeated lately... Growing up I always had this picture in my head of the kind of mother I would be. Patient, loving, playful...ya know?....perfect?
I know, I know. It's quite laughable because, duh, nobody is perfect at anything. Sometimes reaching for perfection can be a bad thing...especially when it leaves you feeling defeated. But I think reaching for being BETTER is a good thing. I don't want to feel shame for failing at something but rather feel just bad enough to want to work harder at it. And today I did that. I took that defeat I have been feeling the past couple weeks and tried my darnedest to take all the opportunities I was presented with and use them as learning moments and pushing moments.
The morning started out at the splash pad. Myra was whiny as was max (I was ready to go home and google "How to parent whiny kids" and buy every suggested book because I was DONE!) Here we were at a very enjoyable place and all the kids were playing and all the moms were sitting on the sides relaxing and chatting away. Except for mine. They wouldn't let go of me and they wouldn't stop whining. I kept trying to get them to go play... nope. So home we went.
I came home and cracked open one of the many books I am currently reading, "A Mother's Book of Secrets" by Linda and Shawni Eyre and I read exactly what I needed. They talk about how children are not clay that we need to shape into what we want... but rather seeds that will grow into a flower- we just need to give them the water, fertilizer, sun and love that they specifically need. We need to see their personality and accept all of their differences/quirks and help them be who they are meant to be..even if it isn't who we think they should be. An obvious thing, I know... but it made me think and dig deeper into my relationship with Myra and a light went on.
Myra is painfully shy, strong-willed and sensitive and too often when I see these traits come out in her I try desperately to push and force her to be the opposite. That's when things go bad. That's exactly where I damage our relationship. And you know what? It is OK to be shy, it's ok to be strong-willed and its OK to be sensitive. And when I push her to be the opposite... she just falls deeper into being those things. So, what should I have done today instead of trying to get those two to go play so I could relax and chat? I should have stepped back and recognized that I took a painfully shy girl to a place full of people she didn't know and she was left feeling scared and insecure. Of course she just wanted to sit with her mommy. Frustrated that she wouldn't go play, I made it worse. I should have scooped them up into my arms whispering into their ears how much I love them and how lucky I was to be there with them, I should have ran around with them in the water for more than five minutes, splashing and giggling. I should have kissed their cheeks and left that place having filled their hearts with love. But instead we left with me feeling frustrated and saying to Myra, "I am so sorry you made the choice to be mean and grouchy to me today, we will no longer be going to the splash pad." I hate that I said that... Because I now see. I AM THE ADULT!!! I was the one that misbehaved. I was the one in the wrong. I was the one not loving her for her and trying to mold her into a happy, outgoing, independent, carefree girl. She isn't that girl... She needs the hand of her mom... a mom with a giant smile on her face that tells her, "I am more than happy to spend my time with YOU!"
So after naps I made it my goal to be that mom. The patient, loving and playful one. Instead of a fight over going to bed, I chose to get down on the ground and play kitties with her till she followed me into her room...and when she wouldn't get in bed I just started reading in her bed until she climbed up next to me. Her attitude did a complete 360. She went from grouchy Myra to the sweet Myra grace that makes my heart soar. The girl that can't stop giving hugs and long kisses. The girl that holds her brothers hand and says she want to marry him. The girl that says please and thank you and helps clean up when asked. All because I changed the way that I was treating and asking HER! It all starts with me.
Next time she is grouchy I need to stop and think to myself, is this because she isn't feeling loved? Is this because of something I am doing wrong?
It's hard for them too. And I am grateful kids are so forgiving because it means I get a new chance at being a better mom tomorrow. Motherhood is a journey and I am ok with that. I am ok with eating crow and learning how to fix it. I will spend my whole life trying each day to be better for them. There isn't a thing in the world I love more than being their mom, and I want them to feel that and grow up knowing that.