At the end of the day

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So done.  I am almost ready to read a parenting book.  I have nothing left.  My children are behaving like they are on a sitcom.  Walk-ons in a sitcom where naughty children who are too bad to find endearing bring a rain of destructiveness and meanness down on the maligned main character.  Somebody please take over.

Loving them when I can’t like them

I have been trying for the past three days to dig out from the laundry and destruction they have created, and if anyone so much as breathes a sigh that sounds like “make them help you clean it up” I will Chuck Norris roundhouse you through this computer screen.  When the only good part of your day was Facebook, you know it was a complete waste.  And that’s even with my “super-homeschool mom” trip to a country park to walk the trails to find different kinds of leaves for our leaf book.  J and L wouldn’t hear of it and said “I’ll just see them on the ground.”  I don’t even have a picture to show you because it was so obnoxious that even the dog ran away.  (She did come back, covered in rank duckweed and slime.)

The coup de gras (which as a Spanish student, loosely translates to me as “top of fat”) was the complete sham of a bedtime routine we just pulled together that spanned the ranks from JR putting his pull-up on upside down in bed with his feet banging the wall during prayers to Lumpy having a complete fit about using the potty.  It was a battle I wasn’t about to lose, after spending each morning clogging up the washer for the first three loads of the day with tinkle duty since Friday.  Growth spurts hit this family hard.  As I was reduced to yelling at Lumpy to get her pull-up on, I realized that there was no parenting happening.  Just a full-on fight.  Parents versus kids.  Her only need was to say no to me.  My only need was to get her to comply.

You’re expecting me to say something like “and that’s when I took a deep breath and realized…”  But no.  Heck-freakin’ no.  All day long that little girl pushed me and disobeyed me and taunted me.  This garbage has to end.  I gave her space.  I let her twist her actions into compromises.  I was firm.  I put her in time out.  But at the end of the day, there was nothing left to teach.  Unlike JR, she never tantrumed and raged uncontrollably.  She fought tenaciously.  I got the pull-up on her, but I can’t say that I won.  I set her, screaming, in the bed and walked away, disgusted with it all.

Fine, laugh at me, but I really am trying my best, and don’t know why my kids don’t appreciate it.  But, I’m not supposed to say that, because that’s the kind of weakness older people see as an excuse to make a condescending comment about.  And I would tell someone this: Kids aren’t ever going to appreciate anything, because they are inherently selfish, as they were made to be.  Yes, I know that.  But what it feels like is that I must have done something wrong.  I must have ruined the day and spoiled my kids.

But in the middle of this lump of poop day, JR wrote down his own song today called “I love God.”  Cal pushed Hoss on the swing while I took Lumpy to the Port-a-Potty.  And Lumpy stopped pulling Hoss’ arm out of the socket when he screamed and bent down really low and asked “Hey, Hoss, do you want to be the princess now?”  And, I got Lumpy back and sweet again in time for a good night kiss.

At the end of the day, when all of my efforts were for nothing, sometimes all I get is a small reminder that I can try again tomorrow.

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14 thoughts on “At the end of the day

  1. I needed to read this. I did not like being a mother today. I’m feeling pretty sick of how demanding it is. But, if, like you, I try to find some sweet moments in my day, I can. Luke crawled over to Todd just to give him a kiss, completely randomly. And when Luke dropped his cookie after dinner, Todd actually picked it up with a “here you go, Lukey” and gave it back instead of stuffing his face like usual. :) Sweet moments indeed. But they don’t balance the rotten ones. I’m going to bed. For a few hours.

    • Amy, it’s a good thing we don’t live close together. Our husbands would need to have an intervention over how much time we would spend together commiserating and encouraging each other. And I definitely wouldn’t be off coffee right now. Oh Lukey…

  2. love, love, love the raw honesty. Thanks for being real when we so often read lots of glitter and perfection in the world of moms:) You have encouraged many!

    • Thanks for reading, K, and yes, we like our vegetables cooked and our honesty raw. Except JR, who doesn’t believe in vegetables any more. So glad this spoke to your heart–what a sweet reward for a day gone horrible!

  3. Ugh, this week has been a bit of a test on my patience & endurance scale too. Sometimes even finding one positive thing that happened can be a lifesaver to our sanity as moms, lol! Then we can say that at least the whole day isn’t in the dumps.
    Amen to the hope of another day to try again! :)

      • Mine’s not even cleaned off. . . . so we’ll move teaching to the couch or living rm. rug today, lol! Hey, I can be flexible too. ;)

  4. You know, after all we went through to get Kate, I feel so guilty when I have these days. I feel so guilty when I just want THREE FREAKING MINUTES TO PEE, and so I often don’t say anything, because I feel like I’m not appreciating the amazing gift God has given me in Kate. She is an amazing gift. And sometimes, that amazing gift is a royal pain in the butt. Thank you for making me feel like it’s ok to feel that way sometimes. I like the picture quote: loving them when I can’t like them. Yes!

    • You remind me of Minnie Driver’s character in Return to Me–she had a heart transplant, so she said she didn’t feel like she should get “days.” You’re a real mom and a real person, and you get days! Just because you had to work harder to get her here doesn’t mean that you aren’t immune to the heartaches and stress of motherhood–you have nothing to prove to yourself or anyone. We love our kids, but it doesn’t mean we have to like every day. It’s a tough thing to love someone who drives you nuts!

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