This week I had one of those horrible parenting fails – you know, the ones where you do something you completely regret with your kiddos? Something you do or say (or in this case yelled as loud as possible) when all buttons have been pushed and the adrenaline is rushing at lightning speed. I am still processing it days later because I feel so terrible I let myself get to that point. Hindsight is 20/20 – but really, couldn’t I have seen it coming? When I felt the spike in blood pressure, why didn’t I go to another room and shut the door in order to take some deep breaths and regroup?
The only consolation in this situation is the words of wisdom and support from my girlfriends I texted after it happened.
“We have all been there.”
“Have grace for yourself.”
“You’re preaching to the choir.”
“I had this happen recently, too.”
“You’re an amazing mom.”
“Mothering is just hard all around.”
These simple words of agreement made me feel less alone.
I sure love each and every one of them. Each friend built me up and also quickly moved on which made me feel known, loved and human like each one of them. I make mistakes. We all do. I know I write about having grace for myself and the benefits of my kids seeing my imperfect self. I don’t know what it was about this time – I felt like a complete and total failure. The kicker was that it all went down at the tail end of my birthday. It was a good day up until that point. Happy birthday to me – you’re a lousy mom who yells and scares your children. I know this is not truth but it is certainly how it felt afterwards.
I know I haven’t had enough breaks lately and we have traveled several times in the past few weeks, which is draining and exhausting with small children. They become restless and whiny sometimes and just want their routine back. I feel you, kids. I want mine back too.
I want to be better at scheduling breaks out and intentionally sitting down and making myself relax. I want to set my youngest down and not feel permanently attached to someone for just a couple hours. I know there are many mothers who say, “Embrace the clinginess – they’ll only be this small once.” While I know there is truth to this statement, I also feel I’m an introvert in many ways and need to be alone in order to recharge.
Last month I came across this blog post by one of my favorite writers and it helped my perspective. I resonated with this excerpt wholeheartedly:
Society tells us that we should savor every precious moment with our kids, and I was struggling to do this. If motherhood had been one of my biggest goals in life, why did I want to get away from my children? Maybe I was a horrible mother. Or I suffered from some kind of defect, an intimacy disorder, or psychological baggage that kept me from being able to enjoy my children as much as other people did. (source: Rage Against The Minivan)
I would not say I’m a total introvert because I also find it refreshing to be with a girlfriend or even a few of them – basically anything outside of my at-home element will do. At times, however, I know I must be partially introverted because I need the house to myself or some quiet time at the beach before I lose my mind! I know when I have some space from my children I find our time together much more enjoyable.
Introvert or extrovert, the bottom line is we all need self-care. Find your happy place and go to it often. Easier said than done but try your hardest to carve out that space for yourself – you certainly deserve it. Self-care is a learned practice, and I will always be a work in progress. But it has never once failed me in becoming a more centered, whole person – and one who is able to better love on my kiddos.