Note: Of course, shortly after I wrote this post Annie proved how sweet and funny and loving she is...how happy she is...how delighted she can be just to hang out with her Mommy and Daddy. But I still wanted to document this moment of discomfort - as a reminder when another one comes that it is short-lived, it is temporary, and much bigger and more important things are what really matters in motherhood.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
We’ve entered them. A couple of months early, but we’ve definitely entered them. The terrible two’s. And you know what, they are not for the faint of heart, these days of temper tantrums and misplaced exertions of independence. I don’t know if admitting this makes me look weak or sad or just normal, but this morning, before we drove to school, Annie and I both sat in my car and cried a little. Both of us pushed a tad beyond our limits by frustration. Hers because she can’t make all of her own decisions, can’t spend 25 minutes walking from the front door to the car in the morning and play with dirt and sticks and leaves along the way, can’t close herself into the tiny space between the front door and the screen door (that one actually happened yesterday), basically can’t run the show all by herself. My frustration comes from not being able to reason with her yet, not being able to convince her that I really do know a little more than she does about most things. But mostly my frustration comes from that recurring problem of not being given a manual when she was born that would tell me how to do this right and not screw up.
I recognize that I don’t do myself any favors. I overanalyze and think too much. I worry needlessly (at least, I hope it’s needless) about being a good mom. I fear that if I give in just this once to her little 21- month old whim it will start us down a road we don’t want to go down of her thinking she can talk me into something by crying or screaming or throwing herself dramatically on the floor. But I also fear that being inflexible and rigid is making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill and setting a bad example that stifles her independence. See, I told you I think too much.
Mostly, our moments of frustration make me sad. Sad that I don’t handle everything the way I think I should. Sad that our days aren’t filled with a constant flow of hearts and rainbows and warm fuzzies. Sad that our short time together during weekdays is taken up with moments of tension or frustration or tears (yeah, working mom guilt...fun). Sad, I guess, that parenting is hard sometimes. And that in my figuring out how to parent her, Annie sees my ineptitude, hears my voice get a little sharper, sees my eyes roll and hears that sharp release of breath in a sigh that reveals I’m having a hard time.
I know it’s all normal. And I know this too shall pass. And I know that I better just grow up, put my big girl pants on, and get ready because parenting will always present challenges. I know these things, really I do. But sometimes it just helps to admit struggle…sort of embrace my own imperfection. So I guess that’s what this blog post is doing.
And besides, when she isn’t going all stiff-bodied or limp (both are equally effective) making it impossible for me to move her or isn’t dramatically lying down on a sidewalk somewhere, our little girl gives me lots of smiles like this…