April 5, 2012

Doing it Wrong

I should've known it was going to be rough day. The kind of day Mary Chapin Carpenter would describe as, "the stars are stacked against you girl, get back in bed".

I woke up late so I was rushed getting Evie's oatmeal ready and nearly fed her Chili Powder instead of Cinnamon.

{not the same thing}

Since I woke up late I arrived late to work.

Work was a cluster, and I left with a throbbing headache.

I picked up Evie and found my normally sweet little babe had been replaced with the banshee version of herself.

She melted down in Wal-Mart over the single remaining package of animal crackers (I've been on the hunt for the boxes for my gorgeous Godson's b-day this weekend), then because I wouldn't let her grab the (raw) chicken and then again because she wanted her new sippy cups like, RIGHT.NOW.MOM.

It was the kind of day where you realize you forgot to buy paper towels, AGAIN, even though you were just at freakin' Wal-Mart.


The kind of day where you just want to crawl under the covers in a dark room with a pint of Rocky Road, a bottle of wine and have a good cry.

But you can't. You can't because you are responsible for trying to keep the whiny fussy wild thing that used to be your angel baby happy. You can't because you have a ton of laundry to do, and a husband who is currently teaching night school and it all falls on your shoulders.

And crap, there goes the baby whining again and you wish there was some way to teach your one year old that mommy doesn't actually die when she goes to the bathroom. She just wants 30 seconds to pee and wash her hands in relative peace and quiet.

You have a baby to bathe, dress, cuddle, feed and rock to sleep. And then after that you have to somehow make boring chicken breast (again) into a decently healthy meal to eat when your husband (finally) arrives home.

That was my Tuesday. And somewhere in the middle of it all I snapped at my kid. Like really snapped where I nearly shouted, "OMG. Evie! That is E-NOUGH! I don't know what your problem is but I am sick of hearing you fuss! Enough. Just hush!"

Her face immediately crumpled because normally mommy doesn't yell. Her lip poked out and she started to cry. I could tell I had upset her pretty badly and in the process hurt myself because nothing breaks your heart like making your kid cry. I looked at the clock and made the executive decision that even though it was 15 minutes early it was time for bath. A thirty minute bath sounded good to me. Those thirty minutes were the easiest of all day. Evie and I splashed and practiced saying "Uh-Oh!" as she repeatedly threw her green cup out of the tub.

She fussed again as soon as she was out, and we had to GOD FORBID get a diaper on and get dressed. Then we rocked and she drink her milk and we cuddled a little and it was time for bed. I kissed her forehead and put her down and crept out of the room.

Then I lost it. I started crying because I hurt my daughter's feelings because I couldn't handle that both of us were obviously having bad days. I just kept thinking I'm doing it all wrong. I am doing this whole thing wrong.

One piece of advice that Toddlerwise offers is to always respond to negative emotions of your child with patience and empathy, instead of mirroring their emotion. That just reinforces the negative. It's a simple concept but one that I really latched onto and the one that I have the most trouble following.

It isn't easy to always show patience when you're exhausted, grumpy and on the tail end of a really crappy day.

Then I took a moment to pray for patience and grace, to remember that my daughter is only one. She doesn't think rationally, all she knows is what she feels. She needs me to help her process it and the responsibility of all of this is a blessing even when it doesn't feel like it. She doesn't understand when I snap at her that I am tired and cranky too. She doesn't know how desperately I need a minute to myself. All she knows is that I am her mother and she loves me and I'm the one who makes it better. I said a prayer of thanks for my child whose very life is a miracle and asked God to watch over her in her sleep.

Then I quietly commanded myself to pull it together.

I cubed up some chicken, sauteed it and dumped in a package of frozen stir fry vegetables with a bit of chicken broth and went ahead and called dinner done.

{not delicious but healthy and hot}

Instead of folding the clothes in the dryer I just dumped the wet clothes in and re-ran it.

{working overtime}

Then it dawned on me that I'm not perfect and that while I will always have room to grow as a mother the fact that I took time to pray for my child and for myself as a mother means I am doing something right, even when I feel like I'm doing it all wrong.