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.
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.
But it sucks.