Today I got in a screaming match with my almost 3 year old.
Legitimately argued back and forth with a child. A 3 year old child, no less. About the fact that he wanted to play with the toys that I just put away. (I know, typing it makes me see even more clearly how ridiculous it was.) It ended with him saying "mommy, *Ban is sad and *Ban is angry at you mommy." (*Ban is what my son Van calls himself because he's still working on those V's.)
And in that moment time froze and the tears started flowing uncontrollably because I had hit that mommy low point. You know the one, where you've let the lack of sleep and overdose of caffeine get you to the point of acting like, well, in my case; a 3 year old.
Through my tears I told him that he could play with whatever toys he wanted to and that I needed to go take a deep breath (that's what we say when we need to calm down). I went off into the kitchen and tried to cool down just to have him follow me in and say "mommy, sorry I yelled at you." Which, okay come on!? I'm already feeling at an all time low for being the meanest mom ever and now YOU'RE going to come in and apologize to me!? I was so proud and ashamed all at once. I hugged him so tight that he said "okay mom, no more huggin'. " I then proceeded to kiss him relentlessly all over his squishy cheeks, and asked him about 100 times if he knew that mama loves him. He nodded yes, wiped every kiss he could off his cheeks and went on his way. And just like that, we continued our day happy, and full of love and giggles. With that shadow of mom guilt hanging over my head all day.
Fast-forward to this evening...I'm scrolling through Instagram and come across the story of a young mom who has a young daughter battling a difficult fight with cancer. And I thought of how easily that could be me, with a sick child. And then of course my mind raced back to that argument with Van this morning. And I thought how if he were to get sick, I would look back and feel such tremendous guilt for wasting any precious moments angry or upset with him...and then those mom guilt tears came flowing again. I spent a good 20 minutes beating myself up over how I need to be a better mom, and how I don't deserve to have these two healthy and happy children if I can't even show enough gratitude to not lose my patience with them. And then I started comparing myself to my mom friends. My amazing, inspiring, loving, kind, and honest mom friends who I am SO thankful for.
Because, as soon as my mind headed down that road I remembered the recent morning walk I took with one of my mama bffs. We spent the entirety of the walk talking about how difficult momming is, our not so magical Christmas experiences, and all the ways we feel like we're not really hitting the mark. I remembered how good it felt to talk to someone who "got it" and got allllllll of it.
If there's one thing I've learned about motherhood it's this: It's brings out all of you. The good, the bad, the better, the best, the ugly, the sad, the inconsolably mad. And it does it to all of us: the mom down the street with the all organic home cooked meals, the one with the kid who has been on a schedule since birth, the mom with a nanny and a full time housekeeper, the ones who seems to have it all together; it happens to all of us. Even, the mom with the sick child.
And it's okay. I mean, it's not all good, but it's not all bad... so, it's just okay. The truth of it is, all the moments that bring out all of you are a necessary part of your motherhood journey. Whether we like it or not. (Isn't that true about life in general??) Because these imperfect "shameful" moments teach us just how much we actually love our children. Think about it, if we didn't, we wouldn't beat ourselves up over them the way that we do. And they teach us about ourselves. We learn where our breaking points are and how to better channel the emotions that lead us to that point. They're painful, but necessary. Painfully necessary.
So basically, the point I'm trying to make is: If you yelled at your kid today, it's okay. If you cried uncontrollably because you have made 3 different sandwich variations and all have been harshly rejected by your toddler, it's okay. If you locked your screaming kid out of the bathroom because you needed just one moment of sanity, it's okay. If you left a full cart of groceries in the store with a screaming child under your arms with tears in your eyes mumbling how much you hate being a mom under your breath, it's okay. (some of those may or may not be true stories...) It's okay because it's all a part of it. A part of motherhood, a part of your journey, a part of life. Let that mom guilt flow. Let it stretch you and inspire you to be a better mom. Because tomorrow is a new day. And no matter what your circumstance, there is always a chance to be better than you were the day before.
It's all okay. You got this mama!