Monday, February 24, 2014

On discomfort

At 3:30 last night, my husband nudged me.  "She's been crying for a while.  You probably need to go get her."

I stumbled out of bed, collected my 14 month old and bundled her back to my bed.  She tugged at my shirt, and I lifted it.

An hour later, she was still latched on and neither of us was more than half asleep. She paused for a second and looked me in the face.  I pulled my shirt down and tried to snuggle her close.

And then she started screaming in my face.


This morning at 7, my big girl started whining.  "I waaaaaant breakfast.   Moooooommmmmmy, can I please have cereal?  MOOOOMMMMMY?"

If I don't answer her within 5 seconds, she assumes I'm not listening and starts to get peevish.  (To be fair I know some grown ups who get like this too, cough DH cough.)

"Okay.  I'm getting it.  Wait.  Ask nicely.  For the love of God, be patient."

I pour the cereal.

And she sits down on the floor wailing, "CEREAL?! BUT I DON'T WANT CEREAL." And proceeds to cry for ten minutes.

I. can't.

Here's how my internal monologue runs when my kids cry.

Oh my God.  Stop.  They need to stop.  How can they do this to me?  I am trying so hard.  Don't I do enough?  After everything I did, they still cry?  Why can't I make them happy?  Why am I so bad at meeting their needs?  Why do I suck so much?  I can't even make my kids happy.  I can't believe they're doing this to me.


Here's the problem with pinning your worth, value, self image on the happiness, fulfillment, and success of the small people in your care.

Sometimes?  They're freaking cray cray.

I want my kids to be happy because I love them..  I want them to be successful.  I want them to make good choices, have good manners, be kind and respectful.  I want them to know what they are supposed to know.  I want to stop them from ever being uncomfortable, from ever struggling.

It's okay to want those things.  It's normal to want those things.  It's admirable to want those things.

But that's not my job.

This is the hardest thing for me.  Remembering that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I work, the feelings, fulfillment, and personhood of other humans is never in my control.  Even if those people are my spawn.


Sometimes my kids are going to be mad.  They are going to be disappointed.  They are going to experience discomfort.  It's not a reflection on me or how I am doing at parenting.  It's life.  

It's healthy.

But it sucks.


  1. Yes. The past few mornings have been epic meltdowns around here too. It's exhausting because you feel like you are not being heard or acknowledged or recognized. Sending you all my love. CEREAL IS PERFECTLY FINE FOR BREAKFAST, GIRLS. Ahem. We had the same argument this morning.

  2. Oh Story, they are Cray Cray sometimes. That is utterly absolutely certain. Free will is so so hard.

    Just last week, my sweet sweet adorable 2 yr old became demon possessed when I would not allow her to have a chocolate covered granola bar 15 minutes before dinner hit the table. Mid tantrum, she stopped, that eerie creepy calm, looked me dead in the eye and said, "if you don't give it to me then I will rip off my thumb". I took a deep breath, and calmly replied while trying not to laugh, "go ahead, by I am pretty sure you will regret that choice in 5 minutes when you wish to suck your thumb".

    6 year old cried in the corner today when baby girl refused to share her new marker set. Thank you school district for extending the school day and likely ruining every day for the rest of the year- she gets on the bus at 820 and gets home at 440 now. It is truly ridiculous.

    We can't force them to be reasonable or happy any more than we can force ourselves. Emotions are tough. We just have to keep doing our best, and muddling through.