Ever have those moments when all of your children need you at the same time and you just want to cower in the corner because it would be easier than facing the task ahead of you? I do. A lot.
For me it starts out with both babies playing on the floor until they suddenly decide they are discontent. I’m almost positive they give each other a wink and a fist bump before they begin their first whimpers.
I come over and smile at them, coo at them, and try to see if their toys hold any more interest. They take the toys and I get up thinking it has passed. Wrong.
One starts crying. I just know they have exchanged another fist bump behind my retreating back.
I come back and pick up the one who is crying, but as I begin patting his back, his brother starts crying in protest that I didn’t pick him up as well. I’m calm. I’m cool. This isn’t my first rodeo.
One baby in arms, I squat down to the baby crying on the floor. A toy. I need another toy. I grab a nearby stray sock, because those are randomly everywhere, yet nowhere when I need them. “Look, Jack, a sock! Isn’t it such a bright yellow color? Would you like to play with it?!” He takes it and his crying has temporarily subsided. I must capitalize on the moment.
The baby I’m holding is steadily rising in fussiness. A binky. Where’s a binky? I begin to search the apartment. There’s one. I see it just under the dust ruffle of my bed. It fell there this morning and landed just far enough under to get a big clump of dust on it. Of course it did.
I quickly swipe my tongue over my thumb and pointer finger and proceed to wipe off the binky. I pop it in and he takes it. I did it. Wrong again!
Crying then starts up from the living room. He’s tired of his bright yellow sock.
Just then my toddler comes up and asks me for some apple juice. He even said please. Stay positive. “Just a minute Sweet Boy, I need to find another binky first.”
The crying in the living room is growing louder. My eyes narrow on the baby swing. Sometimes they love it, sometimes they hate it. It’s a gamble that I’m willing to take. I softly sway and ever so carefully ease the baby I’m holding into the swing. He doesn’t protest. Success.
I race to the living room and pick up my other crying baby and start comforting him while I search for another binky.
“Mommyyyyy…please can I have some apple juice now?” He is trying to be ever so sweet. “I haven’t found the binky just yet, but when I do I can come get you some apple juice. Do you think you can find the binky with me?” He starts searching.
The baby in the swing starts crying again. Why am I surprised? Desperation is nipping at my nerves. I don’t see a binky so I grab another toy I see in the hallway that hasn’t been played with all day. The baby in my arms seems semi-interested, so I lay him in his crib to play with it while I get his crying brother from the swing.
His crying turns to whimpers again as I bounce with him.
“Mommmmyyyyyy! Can I please have some apple juice nowwww….????”
Whining. Oh please not the whining. More and more of my nerves are being exposed and my heart beat is getting faster.
“Mommyyyyyyy! ROARRR!!!!” He has resorted to roaring at me now. He’s in his dinosaur phase.
I need another strategy. A parenting technique I read about comes to mind. “Cameron, you can either keep asking and not have any apple juice, or you can help me search for a binky and have some juice after we find it. It’s your choice, Bub.”
Just then the baby I’m holding spits up. I’m not talking about a burp with some white dribble on his lips either. I mean smelly, thick, half digested milk has just gushed onto my arm and just-vacuumed floor. Nice.
The baby in the crib starts crying. From the kitchen I hear, “ROOOAAARRRRR!!!!!!! Apple juuuuuuice!!!!!”
Something. in me. snaps.
And it only took fifteen minutes to happen!
Anybody out there nodding your head in familiarity? Has anyone abandoned all reason and gone to lay in the fetal position on the floor of your closet wide-eyed and mumbling, “They eat, they sleep, they cry. They eat, they sleep, they cry.”
Let’s all take a deep breath.
A lot of people would say differently, but surely Thomas Paine was actually talking about moments like this when he penned the words, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Right? I’m sure of it.
And try, and try, and try you again they will. It’s okay to admit to yourself that you are flat out ugly frustrated and mad sometimes. And by sometimes I mean on a daily basis, because in some phases of your kiddo’s lives that’s just the way it is. Don’t feel like a bad parent because your kids don’t bring you joy every moment of your life. Millions of parents out there know the feeling.
Remember that these are just moments. Everyone knows life is full of those. Lucky for kids (and us), they have some pretty rockin’ moments too.
Think about how bright their eyes get when they laugh at you. How mushy their cheeks are when you nuzzle into them to give them a raspberry on their neck.
Think about how funny it is to watch the confusion on their face as they look at their hands like they are an obscure, foreign object. Or how sweet it is to cradle them in your arms and have them stare up at you with those big wide eyes.
How incredibly soft their skin is. How their laughter instantly brings a smile to your face. The feel of their warm, chubby hands as they playfully pat your face. That big dopey smile they get after they’ve downed a bunch of milk.
What are the moments that melt your heart, make you laugh, or bring you joy? Hold onto those. Trust me, I know the hard moments can be so amazingly draining. Just remember that your kids are worth it.
Okay, Mamas and Papas. It’s game time. Grab yourself a Snickers and give yourself a good chest thump! You face your challenge, you warriors of parents! You Titans over toddlers! Pat yourselves on the back and go ahead and let out a loud dinosaur roar. (Being careful not to wake any napping children, of course.) Fight through those tough moments and you will come out conqueror.
It’s a new year and a new day. Roar on, Mom.