I had a whole different blog to write today.
It was kind of funny kind of cute and it had lots of fun pictures.
I was going to keep it light today.
I was going to post something entirely different.
And then we sat down to do homework.
Ben has never been one for coloring or writing or even drawing.
It is just not his thing.
I never really pushed it because it didn't seem necessary.
Judge me of you must, I am one who thinks that the more you force something on a kid, the less interest they are going to show.
He can write his name, has known his letters for as long as I can remember and he can count up to...well, he will count until you tell him to stop.
I'm not saying I have a gifted kid and am not going barf "oh my gosh my kid is the smartest kid on the planet" all over this blog.
I'm not saying he is behind or ahead or that he has hit every benchmark.
I'm saying that parenting scares the crap out of me.
He is in preschool 3 days a week and he does well.
I have the typical mom worries.
Is he playing with other kids, does he fit in, is he respectful, does he try, is he himself when we aren't around?
Does he have trouble focusing at school like he does from time to time here, is he always 5 steps ahead which makes it nearly impossible for him to concentrate on the step he is actually on while he is there?
I am lucky enough to have Fridays off of work so I get to stand outside of the window and watch him and how he acts and interacts while he is at school for a little portion of class one day a week.
He is just fine.
He doesn't throw around the attitude that he throws around at home, he doesn't cry out of frustration like he does when he works on homework with me.
He is just fine.
When we sat down to do homework tonight, he put his head dramatically on the table and told me that his homework was too hard tonight.
I can vouch for the fact that he has brought home MUCH more difficult homework and that this one should have taken about 60 seconds tops.
I don't know what it is about whining, but it works its way under my skin so fast that there is no longer any time between the whine and my reaction.
I used to be more calm.
Let me rephrase, I used to consistently talk to my kids more calmly.
I have never been calm and anxiety is a beast that I battle daily, but I used to be able to channel my inner (like way way inner) calm when I needed to reel him in.
The old me would have seen that head roll back and hear the whine that followed and I would get down on his level and talk.
The today me has a 70% chance of reacting in some sort of frustrated or yelling fashion and a 30% chance of just ignoring it and before you know it, I'm frustrated with him, I'm frustrated with me and I'm finding something frustrating about whatever it is that my 2 year old is doing that is most likely not even worth being frustrated over.
Just like that the moment is chaos, everyone is mad and there is a looming threat of me being in a terrible mood for the rest of the night.
The boys got over it.
They played toys, argued over garbage trucks, ate dinner, had a dance party while they brushed their teeth and went to bed.
I'm still not over it.
This is not the type of mom that I set out to be.
I have a fear of ruining my children.
It's sometimes irrational but it's mostly genuinely thought through.
I try to be conscious of how I speak to them, I try to apologize for my outbursts of yelling and I do my best to explain why stressful situations have escalated to that point instead of just barking orders.
I say please and thank you because I expect them to say please and thank you and I put the phone down when we are playing (unless I need to use it as a camera).
I am constantly aware of the fact that I need to be very careful of how critical I am of myself in front of them because of what that teaches them.
I can't expect to have confident children when I'm walking around pointing out my own flaws and insecurities.
I want them to strive to do their best but not assume that I need perfect.
If they always hear me being critical of myself, I fear that they will think I am that critical of them.
I'm afraid that they will be afraid to make mistakes.
I'm afraid of ruining them.
I heard myself yell tonight and I hated myself for it.
Not because it happened...but because it seems to be happening so much more lately.
I think part of my problem is how personally I take things.
I read parenting articles and quotes and I internalize them and compare myself to them and find the parts of them that I am not doing instead of looking at all that I am.
One of my favorite quotes by Peggy O'Mara goes like this:
"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice."
It's scary and beautiful and true.
It makes days that are good so much better and it makes nights like tonight so much harder.
I don't think any of us are the type of parent that we set out to be.
In some ways we are better.
We do more than we ever thought possible, we juggle schedules that we couldn't even fathom before we wore this title, we are more careful with choices than we ever were before and we don't do it because it is our job...we do it because it is just what we do.
We read books, we go on adventures, we make the goofiest faces to try and catch a smile on camera.
We save for vacations, we buy more toys than we ever thought we could afford and we would trade in any offer to socialize for a snuggle any day.
In some ways we are worse.
We yell more than we mean, we are busier than we set out to be and we don't always pay as much attention as we meant to.
We get frustrated over the mess, we end up with FAR more presents than we ever meant to buy and we look at the calendar and feel overwhelmed instead of grateful.
We criticize and we have high expectations and we don't relay those expectations very nicely.
We miss first steps, we roll our eyes when nap time is over and some nights the countdown until bedtime starts at 7:30 a.m.
I'm not the type of parent I set out to be.
Part of me is better and part of me is worse.
I pray with all of my might that I don't screw this up and I will undoubtedly internalize every flaw they have as one of my own until the day I die.
I know that nights like tonight will happen and I just need to remind myself that they hurt me far more than they hurt them and I need to grow from them.
Oh, and I need to look into hiring someone to sit and do homework with this kid because this just cannot happen every day.
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