Mom guilt. I heard this term a few times but never quite understood it.
I know most of my posts are of the joys of motherhood, and how precious it is. Which, it truly is, and I am so fortunate I love everything about motherhood...even the hard lessons. The reason I can say that, is because I expected the hard work, sleepless nights, tantrums and tiredness. I anticipated it, and I was ready.
However, I am human. Humans have their patience tested. To be exact, humans with toddlers that are trying to stake their independence and babies that won't sleep, have their patience tested.
That's me. For the first time, in my parenting journey, I have moments where I ask my kids to "just go to sleep" or "please just listen or you are getting a timeout" or "don't do that" like a million times a day. I am doing it so much that I can feel my patience veering off in the distance, laughing while it's packing its bags and going on vacay (maybe for a few years). I can feel myself tugging at its leg, begging for it to stay...then it happens...I lose my patience.
I yell or I send a tearful tantrum-mode 3 year old to a timeout or I just walk away myself because I am, at that moment, not equipped to handle it all.
It doesn't last long, the standoff, but as soon as this moment happens, it's not long until the "mom guilt" kicks in.
That is the worst. I hate it every time and I swear I won't do it tomorrow, but I do...and mom guilt kicks my butt...again.
This has been on repeat for about a week now, as soon as Caiden turned 3. To no fault of his really, he is being a 3 year old, tough, testing his boundaries, suddenly not listening, and out of no where repeating things back, "no mommy, you eat your cereal!" "No mommy, I don't want to brush you go brush!" Now normally, past defiances, I have just been able to calmly say to go to his room and when he is ready to come back out...but now, this is a showdown and if I don't carry him into the room, chances are he will not go in there.
So yes, this phase has knocked me down and defeated me. I admit it. I was not prepared to be defeated. After the third one in the same morning, I crack. I fall and I feel bad.
However, I write here...and as I write I think "I must not be the only mom to have gone through this and I surely can find a better solution." I do not want to yell or get upset, I want to continue to not give into everything and I must continue with teaching what I need to teach. I also want to make sure I'm not just yelling out of tiredness and frustration in general and taking everything as a misbehavior.
I think the solution is...say goodbye to mom guilt and embrace the toddler terrible 3s and tell myself, "I got this." I need to empower myself, so I don't feel defeated and continue the cycle of: misbehaving/not listening, just saying no, yelling, tantrum/crying, timeout, more crying, repeat.
To do this, here is a list of things I must do:
1. Try my best to not yell back or yell at all. If I feel like patience is leaving the building, take 5 seconds and just breathe or sit down. This is super important.
2. Get close to him and talk eye to eye and ask him to tell you what he wants. I read that tantrums are often just frustration because they feel you are not understanding them. So it isn't just one way, they need to know you hear them too.
3. Stick to timeouts for punishments but make sure it's for actual punishable things, like throwing a toy or hitting his sister, not because he didn't want to eat his yogurt. Be reasonable and not just insist on being listened to.
4. When all else fails...hug.
5. Lastly, remember that even in the moments of craziness, those are just small moments, and majority of the time, he does have great moments of listening and cuddling and being fricking cute. So I am not in need to sulk and have terrible mom guilt, he is a good kid and I am still a good mom.
Do you suffer from mom guilt? If so, I am a list believer, and think reminders via lists go a long way.
I am letting go of the weeks battles and starting fresh. I regretted not handling this new phase better myself, but hey I am human...I live, learn and move on.
Bye mom guilt...hello patience, I missed you.