I’ll never forget the time my mom asked me for a bite of my Mickey mouse ice cream on a stick and I refused. She took the ice cream right out of my hand, took a bite, and proceeded to eat the rest of it while I threw a mighty of all tantrums on the hard wood floor, pounding my fists in revolt and anger, yelling at the top of my lungs and crying out for mercy.
To this day, I have never forgotten to first offer my mom a bite of anything I am having as long as she is nearby. Ever. A little bit out of respect. A little bit out of fear.
And now as I am in a similar stage of motherhood, trying my hardest not to yell and scream and demand why my son has decided to poop in his pants when he knows very well how to make his way to the toilet, I wonder in retrospect, why I can’t seem to be a bit more calm. I wonder why I can’t remember I am damaging a bit of his self esteem with my over zealous yelling and I wonder why I can’t recall the calm composed nature I told myself I’d be when the day started.
I’ve never been an emotional crying type of mom. While other moms were basking in the cuteness of their firstborns, I was wondering when I would fall in love with this little wrinkly being that kept crying and pooping. Motherhood wasn’t natural to me, in fact it was overwhelming, uncomfortable, and suffocating at times. Instead of feeling sad when my kids cried themselves to sleep, I wondered how long it would take, only seeming to have a bit of compassion when my husband was nearby and even more strict than me. Instead of crying when my kids got their monthly shots, I logically tried to explain to them that the pain would go away shortly (my oldest never seemed to care, my youngest had his face turn beet red everytime).
And now that I’m almost three years into it with two kids, I seem to have softened and feel this thing called love a lot more consistently towards my own kids. But now, now I have to remind myself to be more patient. To be more loving. To be careful when I am teaching with a disapproving taint. It’s a hard balance between disciplining and loving, establishing rules and principles, enforcing them, and also being the loving mother that I want to be.
Nobody likes to fail. I sure don’t. I’m pretty sure my son doesn’t either. And yet as I think back to that moment tonight when I was just so angry, yelling, questioning him about why he had decided to poop a nasty diarrhea consistency blob of a poop in his undies (which also transferred to his pants and all over the bathroom floor as he made his way out of his clothes), all I can see is my anger and his sadness. I’ve read all the articles about how to control your anger with kids, how to commit beforehand not to get upset and plan for how you’ll react. But you know what? Easier said than done. Because in the moment as I was scrubbing away stinky poop and telling him he should not be doing this, I couldn’t for the life of me fathom how to lovingly help him and be more nurturing and positively reinforce his potty training abilities. All I could do was err in anger and apologize later, tell him I’m sorry and hope he’ll forgive me and not remember his mother as the scary demon who would put on her angel halo after all the steam had cleared. And the other part of me is wondering if I should have just stuck to my guns and been the mean mom to help him remember it more.
I’m not quite sure.
Motherhood is so incredibly hard sometimes. Tonight seems to be one of those nights. As soon as I cleaned the poop up… my other son peed all over the carpet for the millisecond he was naked between diapers, and then proceeded to poop right after (his third poop of the day). Someone please tell me, when is this poopy stage of motherhood over? And why does it all have to happen the one night my husband is working late?!