Monday, December 9, 2013

Letting Go of the Day

Sometimes parenting is so very hard.

Recently, we have been struggling with something with Lila in regards to her behavior, and today I'm just exhausted. Today I want the parenting fairy godmother to walk into my house, wave her magic wand, and give me a hug as she exits. Maybe a mani/pedi too if she's up for it.

I think the kind of love that comes with being a parent is so tricky. A good friend once told me that sometimes all you can do is "love them fiercely". That thought runs through my mind repeatedly these days.

I debated writing about this because it feels too personal, even for me. However, I have received some serious virtual support from other bloggers in the realm of parenting. Maybe I can at least provide a little relatable hand holding for someone else by sharing my struggles.

Lila has never done well when she's over tired. She hits this place of no return where you can't really get through to her. She's irrational and belligerent and it's like talking to a drunk person. Or a wall. Since beginning school full time this problem has intensified.

Here's my big beef with parenting. You start the maybe game first. Maybe she's still adjusting to the big change of being in school full time. Maybe she isn't getting enough sleep. Maybe you should ask her teacher not to let her nap during rest time (which is absurd). Maybe you made some insane parenting mistake in her four short years and now she's paying you back. Maybe school itself is stressing her out and you will never know for sure what it is. These are actual scenarios in my head.

Then you play the trial and error game. When she completely loses her mind and begins screaming at you because Evie has on the dress up outfit she wants maybe she needs a time out. Wait, time out has never worked for her. But talking it out isn't working either. So let's give time out a go. Still not working. Wait, she's getting a time out for having an emotionally charged screaming match with herself (essentially). That makes no sense. So maybe she needs to hug it out, or count, or take deep breaths, or sing. Sometimes those work. Often they don't. Maybe you create a "problem solving" contract with her. Or maybe you just maybe this to death and wait for this phase to pass.

Then you beat yourself up for doing it wrong or you pat yourself on the back for the time you think maybe you did something right ...even though it doesn't work the next time you do it.

This is crazy making, am I right?

The bonus is that Seth and I pretty much feel like we are either winning together or failing together. Neither really feels the other has a leg up on the whole parenting gig. We mostly feel like at least we have each other to celebrate the successes with and to eat ice cream with when the day has been messy and disheartening.

Yesterday was messy and I'm glad to leave it behind.

*NON-TRADITIONAL HOLLA SIDE NOTE - I am thankful for Dairy Queen. Yes. Yes I am.

I'm getting better at leaving bad days behind and focusing on how to problem solve differently in a new day. I used to be riddled with guilt or confusion or self doubt for days. Now I realize the bigger picture is that I have a chance to learn from this and try harder.

Last night Lila told me that she didn't want to listen to me anymore and that I was no longer the mama. She told me she was now the mama and that I was not allowed to do what I wanted to do for the rest of the night. I told her that being the parent was a much harder job than she could even imagine, and I gave her a hug. She fell asleep minutes later and I stared at her for a long time. This is an important step for all you newbies out there. The watching them sleep at the end of a hard day (or a good one!) is like recharging a battery. It reminds you that they are that same little baby you rocked and stared at not that long ago. Even though they feel big and hard to understand sometimes, they are still one hundred percent in need of all you have to give.

Here's to a better day today.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Jana. BTW- I always feel like you have it so together! I think you are a wonderful Mama. Hope you have a better day and week ahead. :)

    1. Thank you Christine! That's very sweet of you to say. I think most people look like they have it put together even when some of the days fall apart!


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