Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Thoughts from a mother who makes mistakes

This morning I woke up to find pee all over the couch because Dylan didn't remove his nighttime Pull Up diaper and decided he would just pee everywhere because he was still wearing a "diaper". So I scrubbed the couch to get the urine out. And Dylan announced that he had to pee again just as I sat down to relax. He's been going without incident these last two weeks, runs to the bathroom whenever he needs to go and doesn't ask for help. Well on his way to the bathroom I told him I'd pause his Mickey Mouse show so that he didn't miss it while going to the bathroom and he interpreted this as being in trouble. Mom's shutting off my show! So he flipped out en route to the toilet. Don't turn off my Mickey! He paused in his tracks. And then he peed all over the floor. But it got better than that. Not only did he pee in his shorts and down his leg and into a puddle in the den, but then he tried to make it to the bathroom WHILE PEEING. So there was pee everywhere. Little footsteps of pee and splashes of pee, EVERYWHERE. God forbid I paused Mickey Mouse, buddy.


I didn't know whether to be furious or an emotional wreck. You're not supposed to make kids feel badly for having an accident and normally I tell him that it's OKay to have accidents as long as he tried his best, but today I knew he didn't try his best, he was throwing a tantrum, and so I'm pretty sure he felt the steam coming out of my ears as I mopped up his large trail of urine with a harsh, "Get out of this room! Go watch your show!".

I sent Sean a picture of the house covered in urine with a nice Happy fucking Tuesday caption and then I sat in the kitchen to cool off.

You know, all of us mothers pretend like we have our shit together. That we can parent these little ones while riding a unicycle and cooking dinner and still keep a giant smile on our faces. We want others to call us "Mother of the Year!" and we want our children to behave perfectly as if these little toddlers are grown ups who should know better. When my small boy hit another child at Mother Goose hour last year I went home and cried my eyes out, feeling like the biggest failure because MY son had hurt another child. But when our children are the ones getting hit by their toddling friends we smile and say, "That's OKay" to reassure the parent that hitting is absolutely normal when our babies can't form a sentence to express their feelings. Parenting is a double standard which we inflict on ourselves.

I'm not June Cleaver. I'll be the first to admit it. I yell at my kids and act like a brat now and then. We watch so much TV some days that our brain cells explode. I don't always feed them vegetables or force them to wash their hands. I slip up and swear like a sailor when they're in earshot. I'm not proud.

So I pull Dylan aside and tell him that I am not mad at him. That he is doing so well on the big boy potty and it is OKay to have accidents as long as he is trying. He replies, "You are sweaty!" because my hands are hot as I hold him close, and kisses me on the cheek. He's not mad at me because I am his mama and he doesn't know how upset I was with him in my mind as I cleaned up his mile-long trail of urine.

The truth is, we moms are tired. Raising babies is hard. And we've all heard the cliche that parenting is the hardest job you'll ever have but it's also the most rewarding--the understatement of the year on both accords. We get no sleep, no personal space, no privacy. We give up our lives for our children and only feel like ourselves again in those few hours between when the kids go to sleep and when we do, staying up as late as possible to soak in those extra minutes of absolute silence.

Dylan didn't want to go to bed last night and he used every trick in the book to stay awake. I'm hungry! I have to pee! No, I have to pee downstairs! I'm thirsty! I have a boo boo on my head! I need medicine! Can you read another book?! Finally, after I tucked him in over and over again and said "goodnight" as I walked out the door, Dylan jumped out of bed and ran after me, yelling, "Mom. I'm angry!"

I scooped him up as he repeated it: "I'm angry, Mom!"

Even though I tried not to laugh, I couldn't hold it in as I spoke. "You're angry, baby? Are you angry because you have to go to bed?"

I commended him for using his words to express himself. I told him that it was OKay to be angry. And that if he wanted to get out his anger he could shout into his pillow--like this--to get out that bad energy. He rolled over and cuddled his Teddy bear, curling up in his sheets as if he had finally accepted that it was time for him to go to sleep.

As tired as I am raising these babies, moments like this are my reward. Moments like this prove to me that I'm doing something right. He isn't that little baby hitting his peer at library group because he can't express himself anymore, he is a bright young boy who is using his words.

...and using the big boy potty.

Maybe I was more upset this morning because I felt like a failure. He failed. Two accidents in one morning. I don't want to be a full-time mom when it means cleaning up pee all day. I want to go to work like my husband and talk to customers about something other than Mickey Mouse and going pee-pee. My husband must think the same about me. How he wants to be home relaxing on the couch instead of arguing with a vendor about part number 048110 being shipped incorrectly. He'd rather be home with our children, playing in the pool and swinging on swings, instead of dealing with a bunch of strangers all day.

Life is hard. Parenting is hard. Supporting a family financially is hard. But that's life.

I took a Wellbutrin. I took a few minutes to write it all down on this blog. I hugged my child and told him that he is doing a great job despite a few bumps in the road. The best therapy is realizing that I don't need to be perfect in order for my children to be great kids. Sometimes it is OKay to admit, "I am angry."