Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Good Mommy

There is a single question that plagues me about 75% of the time. Am I a good parent? A good mom? (Wait, that's two questions...my bad.) If I asked someone this question I know (or at least hope) they would automatically say "Of course you are." But let me tell you, this does not cure self doubt. Because when you are around others or out in public, you tend to be the best version of yourself as a parent. You're patient (or as patient as you can be with a 5 year old running around Target), you're understanding, you're making your kids laugh, you're attempting to get your child to behave without screaming; you're doing all these things knowing that there are people watching you. Judging you. Judging your child. Being a parent is hard.

By being a mother, I've learned exactly how short my temper can be. I DO NOT appreciate being splashed when my kids are in the bathtub. I don't want the bathroom floor covered in water and my clothes to be so wet I have to change when bathtime is over. I DO NOT like it when my children don't listen to me. You would think something as easy as, "Grace, we don't sit on the kitchen table, we sit in our chair," would be pretty easy to follow. However, my hard headed cutie pie believes everything should be done her way, how and when she wants it. So we quickly evolve into me giving my 1-2-3 warning, yanking her off the table, and sitting her little butt down in the chair. Then she begins crying because a) she didn't get her way, and b) mommy yelled at her. Which begins a meltdown, which means I've got to suffer through her crying (which can be exhausting) or I've got to pick her up and calm her down which will undo anything I may have just managed to drill into her little head about listening. With Gracie, I tend to pick her up and comfort her. With Logan, I'll let him cry for a while. I'm not sure if it's because he's older and I know he can handle a little crying, or if it's because he's a boy and I think he should "man up" as I like to say. Gracie's my baby girl, hearing her cry and seeing her puppy dog eyes breaks my heart. I'm going to go with I do it because he's older. Anyway, I DO NOT like it when my children get out of bed once I put them in it. We have a nighttime routine. Every other night they take a bath, and every night we read two or three stories on Logan's bed. Logan turns on the classical music CD he listens to, gets a drink of milk, kisses and hugs, and he's done. I take Grace to her room, we read or rock or sing sometimes, she drinks some milk, she lays down, kisses and hugs, and two kids down. Logan has gotten pretty good about staying in bed. Gracie...not so much. It's her age and I just have to deal with it, but it's aggravating. I sit down to write this blog, hear a noise behind me, and Gracie is on all fours crawling across the floor to me. Back to her bedroom we go, rock in the chair, down in the bed, kisses and hugs, and I'm done for the second time. Some nights are better than others, and it will pass, but it's still annoying.

But along with the things I don't like, comes the things I love. I LOVE when Gracie gives me a big squeeze around the neck for no reason. I LOVE when Logan tells me I'm his best mommy (the irony really gets me). I LOVE laughing with my kids. I LOVE watching them play together nicely. I LOVE when they're in their pajamas after a bath, cuddled next to me on Logan's bed, reading stories. I LOVE (even though I shouldn't) when they crawl in to bed with me to snuggle in the mornings. I LOVE when they tell me they love me. I LOVE them so much that I can't imagine my life without them.

Being a parent is hard. You love these children so much and never want to see them hurt, but in order for them to learn how to follow the rules and learn how the world works, you sometimes have to be someone you don't want to. You have to yell, and smack little hands, and force them to sit in time out. That part sucks. They're so sad and hurt that the person they (hopefully) love most in the world was mean to them. But they forget about and move on. Time outs over and they're into the next thing. One day I'll probably look back and reminisce about the days when all I had to do was put them in time out for 5 minutes and it was all over. One day, as I'm grounding them for sneaking out, I'll miss the days when all it took was a smack on the hand to correct bad behavior. But for now, I'll try to keep my temper in check and remember how lucky I am to have such awesome kids. And that I wouldn't trade them for anything.

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