Mothering During the Little Kid Years

This boy and I, we sure can butt heads.

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I get onto him about whining, about asking for TV constantly, about not listening, picking on his sister, needing to do things more independently. I push him to be more grown up than his four years. I loose my cool and yell at my sweet boy when I boil over past my patience limit.

I am human. I am not a perfect mom. I feel guilty for snapping at my Truman when he unknowingly (or sometimes knowingly) pushes my buttons.

But my goodness, how I love him with a fierceness that overwhelms me sometimes. His sweet dimple, his innocent eyes, his hugs and kisses for no good reason. His, 'Did I do a good job, mommy? Do you like what I made for you? I love you mommy, you are my best friend.' My big boy is such a blessing in my life and I'm grateful that the challenging moments are not the norm. They are a chance for growth and an opportunity for me to stretch myself a little bit more as I journey through this motherhood thing. Truman is my first born, the one who has taught me to parent and the one who will provide me with numerous opportunities for growth.

I just glanced at the date today: 3/14. Truman's original due date. I will never forget it!

(He grabbed this and stated, "This is Crest Pro Health." (??!!) )
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This girl and I, we sure can butt heads.

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I get frustrated when she won't hold still for a diaper change, an outfit change, or teeth brushing. She gets frustrated when I try to help her do something she can quite certainly do alone (according to her 21 month old mind). She throws a tantrum when I can't interpret her needs from constant screams. She does and doesn't want to be held, does and doesn't want assistance with everyday tasks, and does and doesn't like me to ask her questions.

She's a hot mess and the most beautiful little creature I could imagine.

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And I love her with a fierceness that overwhelms me sometimes. Her pats on my back, kisses unprompted, 'Hi, Mommy! Love you!', and her angelic smiles all melt me. She is my spitfire who challenges me and entertains me regularly. I could watch her play with her toys all day long. I could watch her run to her daddy after a long day apart over and over again. I could watch her imitate her brother for years and never tire of my Cecelia.

Molding little lives is the hardest and the best. The most exhilarating and the most exhausting. Sometimes I feel like a horrible mom for yelling, snapping, lacking patience. Other times I want to cry out of sheer gratitude for these precious little lives. Occasionally I feel like I rock it as a mom and occasionally I feel like I'm just surviving. Most of the time I'm just soaking it in because I'm told it goes so fast....and it does.

But life with littles is nowhere near perfect. It's messy, frustrating, guilt-inducing, and challenging. It's the best and I would never trade it for any other phase in my life. But it is not perfect.

Some weeks, like this one, are all out of sorts. Sickness, missed work and routines, puke buckets, wiping away bodily fluids, digging deep for energy that just isn't there--those aren't the things you imagine in your pre-mommy days. But those things are a part of motherhood, just the same.

I took the kids to Target once we finally started to pull out of our sickness haze. We just needed a few items and I found some (secret) gems in the Dollar Spot for Easter baskets. The kids never ask for toys or treats when we are shopping and I never splurge on them 'just because'. Don't want to spoil them or make them bratty little entitled monsters or anything, right?

But this day? I told Truman he could pick out a small toy and his excitement nearly bowled me over. He picked a small $5 train and then we found a $5 'princess' nail polish set for Cecelia to keep it even. Their smiles made this treat more than worth it. Truman's constant, 'Thank you for my train, mommy! You are the best' made my day. Sometimes it's okay to say 'Yes' even when they aren't asking for anything. It's okay to be spontaneous and fun and spoil them a bit, if for no other reason but because I'm so proud of them.

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Room sharing like pros, handling sickness and a grumpy mommy, a lack of routine and the longest winter in the history of ever---Yes. They deserve a fun surprise 'just because.' Not because I feel guilty or am trying to make myself feel better for being a little less than a fantastic mom this week. Not because I'm trying to make it up to them somehow. Obviously they will still love me even when I'm at my worst and hopefully I won't scar them for life in the process. I'm their mom, the good parts and the bad parts of me. That's the wonderful thing about family: we love each other in spite of our flaws. Unconditionally. Whole heartedly. And thank goodness for that, because don't we all need a little grace sometimes?

This is real life, kids and it's not always pretty. But it's still awesome and always worth the ugliness.

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I'm happy to be their mom, imperfections and all.

5 comments:

  1. new follower / found you from Sara's guest post. this is such a sweet yet real post. I appreciate your honesty! I also LOVE that princess nail polish set! My daughter is 22mo old and just getting into princesses :)

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  2. Gosh, this is just the best!

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  3. Such a great post Julia, had me tearing me. Every time I get frustrated I keep trying to remind myself, these will be the best days of my life. The days I've longed for, for as long as I can remember, and the ones I hope to never forget!

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  4. Sweet post. :) Laughed out loud when you called Cece a 'hot mess' and then saw the pic that followed. That girl. That boy of yours, too. Love them. And love this parenting thing, even during weeks like this. ;)

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  5. Great post! :) Always good to know that other moms have the same challenges.

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