Today has been one of those exceptionally hard parenting days. Nothing terrible happened, but it feels like some normal parenting troubles got a little too heavy today.
My 3-year-old is finally potty-training, but having trouble with actually pooping on the potty. She's so anxious about it that she has made herself constipated and now walks around the house whining that her tummy hurts while also saying that it's all my fault for "giving her too much sweets." (We went to an Easter party today.) She is going back to the bathroom every few minutes saying "The poop is coming out!" yet nothing actually does come and she yells at me to get it out of her. Pleasant, right?
After a busy morning of errands and Easter parties, I felt like the girls and I needed to have some downtime this afternoon. I turned on an episode of Reading Rainbow and when that went off, I was tempted to let them watch an episode of Jeff Corwin's animal show, but the thought of that made them fall on the floor crying and whining because it wasn't their choice. So, I turned it off and went into the kitchen to start fixing a batch of chili.
This pushed my 3-year-old over the edge. She came into the kitchen and started yelling things at me like, "You're a bad mom!" and "I don't like you anymore!" Then, both of my girls saw that I was fixing chili and started crying louder, saying that they don't want chili for dinner. As if that weren't enough, my 3-year-old then came over to me when I bent down to talk to her and started hitting me. Then, she ran back to her room crying hysterically.
I don't know why exactly this bothered me so much, but I just sat down and started crying.
I know she's three years old. I know her behavior is normal (not acceptable, but certainly normal for a 3-year-old) and she still loves me, yada yada yada.... But it hurt today. It hurt because while I know that all these long days of teaching and leading will hopefully pay off as great years for my children down the road, the truth is, they are REALLY LONG DAYS.
Being a parent is hard as hell and no matter what kind of job I do, I don't get a promotion. I don't get a bonus or a pay increase. I don't get a plaque on the wall or an "Employee of the Month" certificate. I don't get much recognition at all.
What I do get are complaints about fixing more vegetables for dinner. Blame when my kids have bad behavior in public. Hitting and yelling when I turn off the magical box in the living room. Whining when someone wants anything. And lots and lots of crying when something is not right with the world - ya know... like... when a princess crown is missing or the blue sock was put on the right foot instead of the left.
So again, I say, parenting is hard.
And I had myself a little cry on the floor in the kitchen.
But even still, there is something about my two little life-suckers that keeps me getting up each day. Like my 5-year-old saying nothing, but getting me a tissue, sitting beside me, and placing a hand on my shoulder when she saw me crying. Or my 3-year-old tearing up and apologizing when I told her that she'd hurt my feelings, and then giving me a huge kiss and hug. Little moments like those assure me that though I might be in the trenches... my cause is still moving forward.