Being a mom has its ups and its downs. It has its ins and outs and sideways turns. There are moments when I am proud of my parenting and there are times when I shake my head after handling a mommy dilemma less than ideally. On those days, I can only hope that when my children look back, they will remember the good mom of their childhoods, a.k.a. the fair mom, the mom who didn't lose her cool, the mom who always remembered EVERYTHING, the mom who wasn't irritated with Daddy, the mom who realized that most "problems" are not worth getting upset over, and the mom who always acted out of love.
Let's face it; our kids know how to push buttons. In fact, it can seem like it's their specialty at times (like when its 9:30 p.m. and your 4-year-old refuses to go to sleep). I like to think that I react appropriately to my children's antics most of the time, but there are some days when I wish that I could take something back that I said or did to one of my kids. I wish that I could have a do-over because well, I was too hard on her or it was not a big deal or she can't help it. She's only 2, and who cares if we are late and just let her jump on the bed. Why did I overreact? Why did I have to say NO? Would it have been the end of the world to let her have one more snack before dinner? These kind of thoughts have crossed my mind pretty regularly over the past four years.
This parenting stuff, I am learning, is tricky business. It can be tough to figure out when to be stern and hold your ground as a mom to help mold your children into better people, and when to just throw in the towel and let kids be kids. You want to be a parent who actually parents and doesn't let the kids run the show but you don't want to be reprimanding and nagging at your children over every little thing. You want them to have fun because childhood should be the happiest and most carefree time of our lives.
Unfortunately, there are days when I honestly feel like I have been at my kids all day long. I'm talking about days when it seems like I am scolding, shouting or cleaning up messes for every waking minute and it is these days when I struggle to find my patience and end up acting on impulse. I finish picking up the toys and somebody spills their milk. I clean up the milk and my daughter has decided to play in the dog's water bowl. I dry up the floor and the baby spit up. I change the baby's shirt and the toys are back out, but this time there are MORE of them and the dog drooled all over the couch. It is these days that I hope will not stick out in my children's minds when they think back to how it was growing up in our house, because this really is a great time despite the challenges, despite the long hours, and despite the less-than-perfect parenting.
A message to my three sweet babies who are growing by the minute, bringing joy to every day and driving me bonkers sometimes:
When you grow up, please remember this, not that.
Remember how much I love you and not the times when I lost my cool.
Remember the nights that we snuggled up and read extra stories and forget the tears that came when I wouldn't let you have your way.
Remember the silly smiles and telling jokes, but tuck away the time-outs and the tantrums.
Remember playing games and laughing together, but try to forget how dad and I got mad when you wouldn't pick up your toys.
Remember singing loudly in the car and forget how annoyed I was that we were running late AGAIN.
Remember how often I made your favorite foods, and forget how I rushed around like a wild woman trying to get dinner on the table after a long day at work.
Remember how much I have always loved your dad and not how many times we may have argued or respectfully disagreed in front of you.
Remember how proud I was that you learned something new, forget how disappointed I seemed when you did not use good manners.
Remember that I was always doing what I thought was best for you.
Remember the good mom. Pretty please.