I have always wanted to be a mom. Always. So, when I found out I was pregnant with William, I thought that all my dreams were going to come true. I had grand ideas of baking cookies with happy children by my side. They would be dressed adorably, well-mannered and happy. I would be patient, kind and my kids would be geniuses because of my dedication to their education. But news flash: parenting is really hard. Gasp.
Here's the thing - as much as I love my children and as much as I love being a mom, I don't think I'm very good at it. I am not asking for compliments by putting that out there. I just want to type up my feelings and, in the process, hope to make sense of this crazy experience called parenthood.
Since we moved into my parents' house there has been an inevitable adjustment to our day-to-day life. David is working crazy long days, William thinks we're on vacation and my awesome-sleeper baby hasn't slept through the night since we arrived (and we aren't even close to unpacked). The other day, William was having a meltdown about eating a cookie before dinner. I explained that he couldn't have a cookie before dinner and he continued to cry and whine about it with such determination for what seemed like hours that I thought my head would explode. I asked my mom, "Did you have any kids that were this determined?" She smiled and nodded. I asked who was this way and she said, "All of you!" (Keep in mind she birthed and raised 11 children!) Haha! Just like with every other skill in life, I really think this is going to take a lot of practice. Yes, I have a lot of good instincts as a mother but there's also some skill that has to be learned with parenting and there are several things that I can do to improve my skills (cause, you know, you gotta have great skills):
Ways I Can Improve:
1. Consistent Discipline - especially with all the craziness of the last few months, I have given in to William's demands because I am tired of hearing him complain and because I "just have to finish this" or whatever. Consistency is key with discipline and I know that, but dang, it's hard! I know I'm not doing anyone any favors but neglecting discipline in my parenting. I want to raise children who understand choices and consequences and I think discipline helps with that.
2. Eliminate the Negativity - I can't count how many times both my boys have been crying and I have made an exclamation of "you guys are driving me crazy!" or talked about their negative behavior to someone else. I don't like my issues and shortcomings gossiped about so why would my children?
3. Listen - one of the biggest snafus that I face with William is miscommunication but it's not always because he's a three-year-old and has a limited vocabulary. Often it's because I'm not listening to him. I need to be better at stopping whatever I'm doing, getting down to his level and truly listening to what he's asking for. A lot of times we can come to a compromise that we're both happy with but not unless I'm hearing what he has to say.
Most days I have moments where I pat myself on the back and think I'm doing an okay job. It's usually when I sit down and read another book with my boys or when I keep my cool during a temper tantrum when internally I want to scream and cry right along with my three-year-old. I don't think I'm a bad mom - just not a great one. I look at my mother and her amazing example and have to remember that someday, I'll get there. I think the important thing is that I'm trying every day. My children know I love them and when I smile and kiss their cheeks for the millionth time, that's a great place to start.