Saturday, April 30, 2011

One night last week I found myself entirely unsettled.

After a day, or more like several days in a row, of time outs, and eye rolls and glares, and screaming, slammed doors, "your the worst mom ever"s, and lots of emotional bombs, I felt completely at a loss and filled with uncertainty and self doubt.

"What is going on?"
Things that usually worked were no longer working. Our resolve talks after timeouts which usually end with smiles and hugs were turning into war zones.

It seemed like every conversation or request became a battle field.
Instead of laughs there were massive tears. Instead of happy compliance there was utter defiance.

Why had all the fun been sucked from us?

And then the questions began...

Am I too hard on my kids?
Am I being walked on too much?
Should I ignore or distract bad behavior or promptly nip it in the bud?
Am I expecting too much out of my kids for how young they are?
Or will easing up leave room for the naughty's to slip right in for an extended stay?
How can I discipline in a way that leaves us feeling good?

until finally...
All of the questioning turned into a vicious analytical debate inside my brain of all my parenting actions and they're possible psychological and emotional ramifications.

BAH! You social science degree!

So I found myself on my knees, pouring my heart out to a Father who knows all about tantrums and children who don't listen, and just how much patience and wisdom sticking it out being a good parent takes.

Heavenly Father,

I just want them to know I love them.
I just want to laugh with them and make them smile.
I just want them to feel a comfort and connection when they think of me.
I want them to want to be in my arms.

I just want the patience and wisdom beyond my own it takes to make it through the tough side of parenting, the side where you know you're child's going to feel betrayed and angry. And feel like you've sucked the life right out of their fun and schemes. The part where they yell at you for teaching them things like manners, and hard work, and honesty, and kindness, and good attitudes. The part where they don't want to look at you or touch you because you've asked them to do something they don't want or think they need to do. The part where you feel your heart and patience and sane brain might burst.

Can I have that?
What can I do to have that?
How can I have that?

I left my knees with a few ideas to try, but still with that defeated feeling lingering.

Then morning came. And tantrums came. But this time something different happened. And I didn't notice it until after I handled a situation with surprising demeanor and wisdom. And then I felt it. This strength and lightness and patience that I hadn't felt in a while. And this happy air about me that took my interactions with my kids above myself.

I was so much more able to make it through the rough patches of the day without becoming so emotionally involved, and it did wonders for my kids too.
I let them have their emotions. I didn't make them mine.
I was more able to see what was important enough to address and what could be easily wiped away with some good humor and distraction.

But most of all I felt that connection with my girls that I'd been longing to feel.

We laughed together. I made them smile. I held their hands more and looked in their eyes when I told them I loved them.

I was able to feel the importance of the moments.

And I can't thank Him enough.

p.s. Thank you for everything Mom and Dad. Now I know....and now I can't thank you enough. I'll love you forever for all you have done for me. Thanks for sticking through the tough side of parenting. I am all I am because you loved me enough to let me grow...even when it hurt.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!


Melissa E Photography said...

a-MEN! I love what you said about their emotions not having to be your emotions.

After a month of parenting hell, I feel like we have done a complete 180. It has been amazing! I'm so glad you guys are doing better too. The constant fighting is so exhausting!

~Wyatt~Brittney~Brecken~ said...

You are the BEST!

Jen said...

I totally agree with Brittney. Thanks so much for this post!

Stephanie C. said...

Thank you for this! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks, "Am I supposed to discipline right now or ignore?" Thank you for reminding me where help and answers come from.

Judd said...

Pick your battles, right? Instead of saving for their college, I'm starting a fund to pay for their therapy sessions later in life.... ;)

proudmamablogga said...

That last comment was me, not Judd. oops.

vandi said...

Judd, nice to see you in the blogosphere: ) I kid. But such a good idea, pmb. ; )

kenna said...

wow, we have a couple friends in common! (melissa and taylor)

both of these ladies are amazing, and i'm sure you are too.

i love your blog, and i have no doubt in your mothering abilities. your daughters are beautiful.

Wayne and Valena Duvall said...

Vandi I loved your post. I have felt that way so many days and shed so many tears wondering how I would ever get through another day of tantrums and anger. I had a very similar experience with my kids but it took a lot longer for me to learn how to keep the Spirit with me even though my kids were being contentious. You are a wonderful mother and I think of you often as a reminder of what I can one day become. Keep up the good work!