This morning I began a blog on gratitude. I had given myself a gratitude challenge this past week (the challenge went well, blog to come). I didn’t get a chance to finish it. Posting it after the shit show of a day I’ve had with my Muffin Man (the 3 year old), didn’t feel right anyways. Anyone that has a 3 year old surely understands the kind of day I’ve had. If you do not have a 3 year old, let me give you a scenario :
Take a cup. Fill it with happy, sparkling water. Water full of hope. Fresh, clear water. Now take it and just fling the entire thing as hard as you can up against a wall. Then light the wall on fire. This is what dealing with my Muffin Man was like today. I’m the cup of water. Or maybe the wall. Whichever seems more best up, that’s me. You should probably yell at it too. Tell it you don’t like it or even love it and don’t want to listen to it. Just keep chipping away verbally at whichever you feel I am. Yell no at it plenty too. I’m emotionally exhausted.
This is the part of parenting I some days feel weakest at. At one point I took away pretty much everything, including his room. Yes. His room. I took his two large gifts from Santa. I took his tablet. I took the new dinosaur cubbies out of his room. I took a book. Then I took away and any type of tv for the day and evening. You would’ve thought I’d physically assaulted him. For the record, I did not. This is where it gets tricky and judgement from others comes in. We choose not to spank the kids. I try to talk to him about why he’s acting out and making poor choices. He’s a sensitive kid and I know in my mommy gut that spanking with him isn’t a solution. It will only make the situation worse and would cause him I feel irreparable damage. Some kids spanking works on I’m sure. This is not that type of kid, and honestly I wasn’t either.
Well at this point in the day, after all of the punishments, my patience had dwindled. He hit his brother for the last time. I had yelled. I wasn’t proud. He was crying. I scooped him into my lap and held him. I started crying from sheer frustration. Muffin Man was still on my lap. He quietly said, ‘Look at me.’, grabbed my face on both sides with his little hands and then said, ‘Breathe mommy.’ (this is something I do to him. I will grab his face to make eye contact and tell him I love him and for him to breathe when he’s upset.). Still crying I told him I didn’t want to be a mean mommy and yell. That I didn’t understand why he wasn’t listening and why he was being so nasty with his words, because that’s not what we do in this house. Still holding my face he said, ‘Sometimes mommies need to be mean. But it’s okay. You always say sorry when you have to be mean.’. Then he went on to admit that he had been making bad choices all day and he was sorry. Something got through to him. He understood all of it. He understood why I was firm with him. I felt like a failure, but he showed me that maybe I wasn’t one after all.
I’d love to tell you the day was perfection after that. It was not. It was much better than it had been though. He helped me clean (his toys mind you), make strawberry muffins (he loves helping in the kitchen so I thought I’d do something constructive with him), and even offered to help carry laundry to be put away (he learned how to put hangers in his shirts and even insisted on hanging them all himself). In between these positives were more battles, but if we don’t key in on the highlights mamas there’s no hope to be had some days.
So going into this week I’m going to pray for the patience, wisdom, and heart to deal with my Muffin Man. I never pray to change him. His job as a 3 year old is to take me to the brink. (I’m convinced he’s getting some nice bonuses based on how well he does at this some days.) I also ended my evening with a glass of wine and will meditate tonight before bed. I’m going to end this day on a positive note if it kills me. I encourage you mamas to do the same. (Any advice would be welcomed in the comments and venting is just fine as well.)
A take away for the non mamas? When things are overwhelming and it seems you can’t find any type of silver lining in a situation, look harder. It’s there. These moments are the ones preparing us for the biggest, most important challenges to come. I’ve had the largest personal growth and get the biggest push from the moments that kick my ass and tear me down. This is what makes us even stronger, and teaches us about humility. I’m always grateful for these hard times in hindsight. I never enjoy the process of going through them though of course. So for your week ladies I’ll pray for you have the ability to tackle this week with wisdom and a kick ass attitude. (Just a friendly reminder, if none of this helps then that is what girlfriends and martinis are for.)