|I just really like this photo. And this post needs some levity.|
I feel like whenever I draft a post detailing the woes of the trenches, I clearly see that I do not have the knack that bloggers like Grace and Ana do - to be able to narrate from the trenches while sounding hilarious, perfectly self-deprecating, ever the loving mother and someone you want to be your friend. When I read the drafts I write, I either have to wake myself up from the deep sleep I put myself into or I give myself a little side eye because dang, I sound like a beach (read that last word with what you imagine my mom's Filipino accent to be).
But really, I've been struggling. When I sit down with Chris at the end of the day, I look at him and tell him all about the cute moments of the day deserving of story telling and all the moments that are not really deserving of story telling but, hey, I birthed the lead characters. To be fair, I also tell him all the times I felt like I was drowning throughout the day.
My children are the apples of my eye, but they also make a mean humble pie.
I'm not drowning because I hate this. No, I love it. But loving something doesn't make it invincible against moments of wide-eyed or tearily thinking, "What the ..." I'm just two years old in mom years. I can bounce a babe, make a mediocre dinner one-handed, nurse a baby while administering a spoonful of cod liver oil, but tantrums wreak havoc on this household, and quite a few of them are mine. I feel like I've been floating down the lazy river just going with the flow, and now, all of a sudden, I'm grasping for some semblance of control, and when something doesn't go my albeit poorly planned way, boom. T-A-N-T-R-U-M. It may seem impossible since I talk and talk and talk to Chris, but some feelings do end up getting bottled up, and when that bottle bursts, yikes. YIKES. I'm a dramatic mess living in a sometimes blessed mess ... and I'm so dramatic that I'm writing a blog post about it.
I think me going through this terrible two stage myself can help me be more compassionate with Ryan. Of course, he, himself, is in the throes of the terrible twos. He throws tantrums further than patience can stretch thin and farther than the ear can hear. As convenient as it is, this seems to shine most when around people with zero kids or perfect kids. He would win gold at the tantrum throw in a hypothetical Toddler Olympics. I'm not just being a proud mom.
As most moms (okay, at least I hope I'm not the only one) are susceptible to thinking (as laughable as it is), I would occasionally think, "Oh, maybe Ryan will skip the terrible twos. He's always been stubborn, but look at him, he says, 'Kank you' or, "No skanks,' " Ha. I also clung to his electrocuted Einstein hair for months too long. Mom vision is very generous.
I sympathize with his crazy tantrums because I probably threw the ceremonial first tantrum of this parenting season. Heck, I threw a tantrum in the middle of writing this!
So here we are, a duo in the dire and daunting dos (Chris is pretty even-keeled). Ryan's post-napocalyptic reaction is scary enough, but my temper tantrum when there is no nap or when a nap is threatened ... well, a fly on the wall would fall off the wall from being scared bodily-waste-less. And then I feel low. Really low. I hate losing it, let alone on an innocent and frustrated sweet boy no matter how many tantrums he has stored away. But, Ryan is swift to forgive. Quick to wrap his stubby arms around my chicken legs and say, "LoveyouMom," as one word. We say that we want childlike faith, but I want childlike forgiveness.
I should forgive myself for being a mom at two years. Well, for being the mom that I am at two years. Even when Chris kindly reminds me that it's okay to struggle with the plate I've gladly and willingly accepted, I'm quick to mention all the other moms that have more kids with less spacing or moms who work outside the home or moms who at least sweep up eleven of the cheerios out of the hundred on the ground. They do it better, I say! They don't struggle like I do, I say! I don't have the wisdom to not compare myself yet! After all, I probably top the jealousy charts. I know that I shouldn't, but I am so far from being able to not compare.
I adored this piece by Simcha Fisher when I read it for the first time last year, but I am not at that point yet. I can squint my eyes and see a tiny bit of my hopefully virtuoso future self since it already seems at least a tiny bit easier with Conor, but I can't gain the broken in feeling of mother to many over night. My babies perfectly fit in the crook in my arm just so, they perfectly perch on my hip just so, but I'm still learning how to stretch my patience so its thinnest is still thick.
I've tried to scrap this post a bunch of times because I don't feel like I'm describing all of my self-doubts well. It's just a post saying that among the sunshine and roses, I struggle at times, but I know this is a just a phase as two separate strangers told me yesterday after two separate tantrums at two separate stores. I remind myself that it's not like Gandalf will be standing tall at the end shouting, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS," to this phase nor any of the others.
Or at least I pray that he isn't.