The past two months have been tough for me as a mom. I have been ridiculously stressed and short on patience. I think my feelings have definitely rubbed off on Laila, in addition to the fact that her molars are coming in, making for an extra cranky little girl.
One day we were having a really tough nap time. I had things to do and I just wanted Laila to go to sleep. Every time I thought I had her asleep and was clear to sneak out of the room, she would wake up crying and the process would begin again. Finally I lost it and stormed out of the room in frustration.
My husband was home that afternoon, so he took over nap time.
Once Laila was happily asleep in his arms I began ranting to him about how tired and frustrated I was.
I kept telling him over and over that I was just exhausted! I complained that something was constantly making Laila angry, there was a tantrum nearly every hour, that it had been that way for weeks! I started crying and telling him that I missed the old Laila, I missed the days when I loved being a mom and that I was so aggravated that I didn’t even want to be around Laila anymore.
I immediately regretted that last sentence. I felt like such a heartless mom, I may not have wanted to have been with Laila that afternoon, but she desperately wanted to be with me. She’s so little, her mommy is her whole world.
Then I realized that Laila wasn’t the problem at all, no matter how cranky she’d been over the past few weeks. I was the problem, my attitude towards her was the problem. I was so focused on getting things done, that I had disconnected myself from her and her needs. Instead of being empathetic and looking for a relationship from her, I was looking for convenience from her.
Children aren’t about convenience. Children have needs, constant needs. Parenting is 24/7 work. It’s about consistently putting some one else’s needs ahead of your own. I read an article entitled tough love the other day that really sums up the self sacrifice and compassion that parenting requires.
Sometimes it’s really, really hard to be patient, to look at things from a child’s point of view and empathize with them. It’s really easy to expect children to behave like adults, to be annoyed when their needs have to be met before your own.
I once read a quote that said children are like mirrors. What you pour into a child is what comes back out. That really couldn’t be more true. This week I’ve really dedicated myself to putting Laila first. I’ve worked extra hard at being patient, at getting up and dedicating time to playing with her even when I’m tired. The more love I pour into her, the more love I see her returning to me. All relationships are two way streets, we can’t be impatient, quick to anger, and demanding with our children and expect them to in turn be patient, slow to anger and easy going.
Now that Laila is nearing her second birthday I remind myself every day how fast the time has gone by, and to enjoy every minute with her that I can, because I will never have this time again. I know that this is the time of life that I will always look back on and smile.