Jan 20, 2014

Prayer for Patience.

This morning was a rough one for Avery and I.  The past week has been a horrible display of 2 year old attitude, temper tantrums and pushing every boundary she could.  It's been an amazing test of my patience and my limit as a mother.

This morning, though, it all came to a head.

Avery woke up early and, as a result, fell back asleep before I was ready to dress her and get her ready for school.  When I went to wake her, it was obvious that she was not waking up in a good mood.  It was a barrage of screamed "NO!"s, "I want my daddy!!!"s and "YEAVE ME A-YONE!"s.  Normally, I can calm her down.  I can talk to her in a soothing voice and help her realize that she's not being a good girl.  She has her few minutes of crying and then she's calm.  Not this morning.

This morning, I could do no right.

She didn't want to take her pajamas off and wear real clothes.  She wanted to wear her Dora slippers to school.  She didn't want me to dress her--she only wanted her daddy.  She didn't want me to fix her hair, put her scarf on, help her with her jacket.  She didn't want me to get her Minnie out of bed or touch her new baby doll.  She didn't want me to carry her to the car.

This morning was HORRIBLE.

Normally, on the way to school, Avery and I talk the whole way.  We sing along with Dora.  I laugh when she declares that the "baby sun is too bwight" for her eyes and very diva-ishly puts on her pink Dora sunglasses.  We talk about school and who she's going to see.  She asks me about the cars and buildings we pass by and I listen in wonder when she tells me "Dat's a bank.  Dat's where dey keep all tha monies."

This morning, we sat in silence.

In the silence of my car, I fought with myself.  Is this worth it?  Is it worth getting on her when she acts like this?  Is it worth listening to the screams and fighting with her because I just want her to be well-behaved and polite?

I'm tired.  I'm so tired of being the disciplinarian.  For once, I'd like to be the one that steps back and doesn't have to do the ugly job of disciplining.  I'm tired of fighting with my two year old.

I second-guess myself.  Am I doing the right thing?  Am I getting on to her too much?  Should I just be letting all of this go and not worry about if she wants to wear the same Dora shirt for the 4th day in a row?  Or am I not getting on her enough and that's why she's acting out like this?

This morning, I felt like a total and complete failure as a mother.

I see friends on Facebook talk about their polite, well-behaved children.  Don't get me wrong, my child is polite.  When she does something wrong (most of the time), she knows it and she apologizes on her own.  She says please and thank you without me reminding her.  She's mostly well-behaved.  She's great in town and on shopping trips and people tell me all the time what a good girl she is.  But lately, there have been more and more instances when she's been sullen to family members.  Growling at them whenever they say hello.  Refusing to go talk to people.  Grunting when people attempt to talk to her.  And these are the situations in which I wonder if I'm doing the right thing.

This morning, I felt defeated.

Motherhood is the hardest job I have EVER held, by far.  And this morning, I was waving the white flag. Tears ran down her face and I fought back my own.  I hate fighting with her.  Yes, she's the daughter and I'm the mom and being my child's best friend is not my number one priority in life.  But that doesn't mean that I enjoy disciplining her.  I hate it, in fact.  I hate putting my child in the corner.  I hate making her apologize to someone when she's in the wrong.  I hate making her pick up her toys, while she fights me with every step.  I hate, hate, hate when she looks up at me, eyes full of tears, like I've completely broken her heart.  I don't want to be the bad guy.  I would love to be Fun Mommy, 24/7.  I would love to play with her and let her make messes and never clean them up.  I would love it if I never had to get on her for the rest of our days.  But I know that if I want to be a good mom and raise a well-behaved child, that's completely unrealistic.

I'm like any other mother out there with a toddler.  Trying hard and constantly feeling like I'm coming up short.  If I have another morning (or afternoon, or night) like this one....and I'm sure there will be many more to come....I'll recite this prayer instead.

And this isn't just for me.  This is for you, too.  You, mother of two, with a quick swipe of eyeliner applied in a hurry in an attempt to look even halfway presentable in public.  You, mother of a daughter that is the spitting image of yourself, crying for those pink sparkle shoes in Walmart, when you really just want to get your jug of milk and loaf of bread and leave. You, mother with Cheerios in your hair, rewinding that same episode of Paw Patrol for the 5th time that day, because it'll buy you another 30 minutes of peace.  You're just like me.  You're trying hard.  You're burning dinner and forgetting that load of laundry that's been in the washing machine for 48 hours.  You're stepping on building blocks in the dark and picking up bath toys every morning so you can take a shower.  I feel for you.  I'm here.  I understand.  And we can say this prayer together.

Lord, I love my child with all my heart, 
but she's testing my patience today. 
Her shoes aren't right, her pants aren't pink,
she's screaming just to get her way.
Moments like this, I want to quit,
I think I'm failing at every attempt.
At 9 months pregnant, I thought I'd be perfect, 
Motherhood is not all that I had dreamt. 
I thought it'd be easy, I'd have all the answers,
I'd know exactly what to do. 
Instead, I stumble, I fall short daily, 
which is why I'm calling out toYou.  
Help me to remember that I have a Father
in whose footsteps I should walk. 
Give me Your heart, for patience, 
in my actions and how I should talk. 
I need a reminder in times like these
to think and act patiently.
Help me love her, despite the flaws,
just like You do with me.


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