The day began with an ache in my head – the slight edge of an aura that promised a migraine would follow – and a carton of empty strawberries eaten by our sons before we’d even climbed out of bed.
A disagreement over a toy. A lukewarm cup of coffee. Books on the floor. Shoes everywhere. Papers and scissors strewn across the table.
By the time we reached for the last of the Matchbox Cars under the sofa, I was already tired and struggling. As the boys bantered over whether or not a frozen yogurt tube or popcorn was on the menu for snack, I chased away the bulk of the headache with a dose of meds and a glass of water.
It might surprise you to hear that I’m no rookie – I have 6 years of experience under my ever-increasing parenting belt. But, reality check and heads up, my friends: if I’ve learned one thing in the last 6 years, it’s this. This isn’t easy. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. On the parenting road, expect to be rewarded with another challenge, take it in stride, and pick up where you’ve left off. Parenting with purpose is a tough, tough journey, but one that matters.
And also, be human, and allow humanity. Sometimes we have an off day. Sometimes our kids have an off day. AND THEY ARE ALLOWED. We’re all human.
Mama, there will be a day when, on your evening walk, your 3 year old will say something that causes your jaw to just drop. Something about a baby. To the baby’s parents. And you’ll think: Seriously, whose child are you?
But at the end of the day, when you’re talking it out with that 3 year old, you might realize that he missed you while you were in your migraine fog. That he just feels lonely. That he didn’t mean a word of it but was instead asking you for love.
Then, maybe then you’ll take a deep breath and remind him of all of the same things you’d remind yourself if the situation were reversed. In a kind, calm voice, you’ll remind them why we choose empathy and kindness. You’ll hold that boy close as his breathing grows longer and more steady, as his joints go limp, and as he falls into the deepest slumber, and you’ll think that perhaps tomorrow will be a nice chance to start anew.
And the day will end with an ache in your heart – an ache that tells you how much everything you say and do matters.