As I've mentioned before, we're living at my parent's house right now. We're a month and a half in. There are many, many upsides - my mom is an amazing cook, my kids are getting so much quality time with their grandparents, my family of four is getting help in this time of transition - whether it be laundry, free babysitting on date night or a home-cooked meal after work - my mom is helping take some of the load off. My husband and I were even able to go on a walk the other night after the kids were asleep, which is something we've not done alone in over 3.5 years. I'm getting time with my parents that I wouldn't otherwise be getting. I love seeing them every day and it's really fun getting to watch my boys with them so much.
But at times it feels like we're living in a fishbowl, especially when it comes to my flaws as a parent. The task of raising children is not an easy one. Some days are hard. Some days I don't have as much patience as I'd like. Some days I say things I wish I could take back. Some days I look at my phone when I should be on the floor with my kids. Some days I am not my best self and don't treat my kids the way they deserve to be treated. And normally there is no one else to see this but me or my husband. Which is enough, because I'm acutely aware of my flaws as a parent and replay my actions (particularly the less than stellar ones) over and over in my head. I beat myself up when I raise my voice, knowing that my reaction is harsher than it should be. I try to remain calm and handle child tantrums in a loving way, but there is no reasoning with a 3.5 year old and it is hard to wait it out when you're running late for work and you just need everyone to get in the car already. I lose my cool and sometimes it's not pretty. Sometimes I say F*@K in front of my kids. Loudly. And then I leave the room to cry, feeling ashamed of my lack of composure and level-headedness.
This is all on display right now for my parents. I have an audience. But the hardest truth, is that I always have an audience: my two little boys. Which I should remember more than I do and work harder on staying zen in my parenting of them.
The past two mornings were particularly difficult. So last night when my mom said a seemingly innocuous comment concerning my yelling and Lukas being little and not understanding his actions, I lost it on her. I started sobbing and defending myself - didn't she know how hard it was for me right now; that I was doing the best I could; that I was tired from being up all night with a teething baby; that it was really difficult living out loud in front of them. She wasn't trying to illicit this response from me or make me feel bad. She apologized, but in hindsight, I needed to hear what she was saying. I have been raising my voice more than I should. Rather than allowing her words to be heard, I put up my defenses and attacked her instead. I didn't want her to tell me I was less than great. It was hard to hear someone else acknowledge that they saw what I already knew: I could be doing better. So I hid behind my tears and the conversation ended.
Later that night after the boys had been put to bed I heard a thump from their room. I went upstairs and realized that Lukas was still wide awake at 9:15, kicking the wall in his insomnia. Rather than peak my head in and tell him to "go to bed!", I brought him in my room for some TLC. We lay together on my bed. I scratched his back and rubbed his head. I gave him kisses and we cuddled. He said he wanted me to sleep in his bed, so we went and I laid with him until he fell asleep. I was the kind of parent I aspire to always be. I was the version of myself that I hope my children cling on to.
But the fact remains that I'm not always that version of myself. If my mom is seeing this, then my kids are seeing this. And I don't want that to be the mom they know and remember. I want to be a better mom for them.
So I'm going to consciously try to parent with loving kindness rather than reaction. I'm a work in progress. And while it was so hard to hear the
And so the rollercoaster of parenting goes.