Being a mom has changed my life in so many ways. I often talk about how awesome it is here on the blog, and more often than not, leave out some of the not so awesome stuff. Like incessant whining from a 2 year old and the daily dinner battle that brings both Shaun and I to our wit's end.
I had a revelation last week when Penelope and I both totally lost it over a shirt. Yes over a shirt. It caused tears and anger. Looking back, it is completely ridiculous. But as I got Penelope ready for daycare while quietly raging, it made me realize that being a mother makes me both the best and worst versions of myself.
There are so many ways in which being a Mom makes me the best person I can be. Before I was a Mom, I never knew that I could be so fun. I'm surprisingly less uptight as a Mom (though maybe Shaun won't agree with that :)). I find more joy in very small things. I've learned to love so strong that I hardly know how to handle it. My life is nothing without my child. I'm patient as a mother. I'm openly loving and affectionate - something that I've always struggled with. I'm happy to make a fool of myself. Tasks that in a previous life would have been unthinkable I now wear like a badge of honor. I feel empathy for others like never before, especially other parents, other children. All of these qualities in myself have been enhanced. Being a mother has moved me more toward the person I want to be and those are the times when I'm being my best version. Happy, fun, smiling, caring, empathetic, patient, and someone I'm honestly quite proud of.
Let's be real. Being a mom isn't always fun and smiles and patience and dancing in the kitchen to Motown. In fact, sometimes it makes me feel downright inadequate and unhappy with myself and like I just can't handle it.
Last week, we had a snow day. I got to work from home and spend the day with Penelope. I was pretty excited. I set up an arts and crafts station for her with snacks and water. We worked side by side all morning. Penelope fought me on lunch - she only wants snacks. She fought me on nap time - she wanted to watch more Sofia the First. It ended with her screaming and me wishing a casual noon glass of wine would be socially acceptable.
On Friday, it was Dr. Seuss day at school. I didn't have a shirt for her (poor planning by this Mama) but when I awoke I realized that I could actually make her a really cute little shirt that would be even better than a store bought version. I DIY'd this sweet Thing 1 shirt with a little adhesive felt I had on hand and a sharpie. Done.
But when I showed P the shirt, she had a total meltdown. When I told her it was a special shirt and let's just try it on because Mommy made it for her, there was more screaming and tears. I got the shirt on her, if only for a photo, and Penelope sobbed uncontrollably in the shirt. So of course I wasn't going to make her wear it. I took it off and threw it more forcefully than I care to admit into the hamper.
I felt indignant, upset that my efforts went unappreciated (yes I realize she's only 2, but I wasn't being rational), disappointed that I wouldn't get my Friday photo of her in the shirt that I lovingly and creatively crafted. I felt angry. I packed her up and we left for school in a huff. She knew I was upset. As we walked down to the parking garage to the car, she grabbed for my hand. And I felt sad. I felt sad that I had let something very silly make me a terrible version of myself, and a Mom that I'm not proud of.
When we arrived at school, she still gave me a kiss and a hug, though I probably didn't deserve it. And I spent the rest of the day feeling terribly about myself and counting down the minutes until I could get home to her and ensure that she wasn't upset with me. My sweet little nugget ran to me as soon as I opened the front door, yelling 'Mama! Mama!'
So, in the end, it's all ok. I look back on that morning and hate everything about it. This wasn't the first time I've hated my worst version, and it won't be the last. We still have so many teenage years ahead of us and fighting over clothes probably won't ever go away. All I can do is focus on trying to be the best me and not letting the little things get the best of me (though it's easier said than done!).
And there's always a glass of wine at the end of the day, right?
So have you guys ever felt like this? Like your very best and very worst? Come and share some stories with me, and pretend we're chatting over a glass of Malbec :)