this past week i had a couple of really hard mothering days. i would even go so far as to say they were some of my hardest mothering days to date. it's not like anything major happened to make them so hard, it was more the constant whining, disrespect and disobedience coming from logan. i'm not sure what was triggering his behavior, but maybe it's the fact that since daylight savings, he and emma have been up by 6:30 am every morning (instead of their usual 7:00-7:30 am) and he has been fighting his naps more. sleep (or the lack thereof) makes a huge difference in logan's behavior. whatever the cause, i wasn't handling his less than stellar behavior very well. i was less patient than usual and i was getting more and more irritated by the moment. and then i would yell. and then i would feel bad for yelling. it's not how i want to treat my child and i hate the way yelling makes me feel. so in a nutshell, things were not going so well. on thursday, after a morning full of whining, i decided we needed to get out of the house to get some donuts. not because they deserved them, but because i did! here's what i posted on instagram:
whiny kids + morning at home necessitated an outing. it seemed like the perfect day to try dunkin donuts (i needed a pick me up). but with how whiny logan has been today, i just might need to move into the donut shop to cope. aahh!
on friday i was ready for a new day. logan didn't have school like he usually does and it quickly became apparent that the attitude was going to continue. then this happened (here's the instagram i posted):
logan was supposed to be napping. turns out he was coloring his whole arm with a black sharpie marker. it's his black ninja arm he informed me. he's about to send me over the edge today (well yesterday and today combined).
it actually did send me over the edge. for the second day in a row i called dave crying. i felt so discouraged. and i kept asking myself why i was letting a four year old totally unhinge me! my friend responded to my instagram with, "oh no! kids. making us normally stable people go insane!" it's totally how i felt. and i couldn't help but wondering, is he acting this way because of how i am treating him? i posted on facebook, "here is my current 'chicken or the egg' scenario (of what came first): are my children being so whiny because i am so impatient or i am so impatient because my children are whiny? (i'm sure it's a little of both)."
luckily that night the kids were in bed by 6:30 (because of course none of them decided to nap), dave sent me to take a bubble bath while he went and picked up dinner for us. while i was in the bath i was reading from this amazing book and i read this, "when the going gets tough, love harder." the woman writing the chapter i was reading shared this experience, "a few summers ago, i was at the end of my rope. i was venting to a friend about how lost i felt and how worried i was that i was destroying my daughter and our relationship by my inability to react the right way. she said something i hope i never forget. she told me there had been many times when she had felt at her wits end with one of her children, and her answer was always to just love them more. instead of strategizing about ways to help them behave, implementing new discipline techniques, or finding new ways to react to tense situations, she focused solely on dishing them out an extra serving of love. she told me this strategy has never failed." reading that was an answer to my prayers. the next morning, logan and i (and connor) went on a much needed date. we did what he wanted to do and i just loved him extra hard. and it was such a better day.
of course things weren't perfect. and even the day after (yesterday) i had to really work hard not to react in my natural way to some of his behavior. i had to remind myself to love him harder, which really isn't an easy thing when you are feeling something other than love for your child. but last night as i was washing the dishes i had a really special experience. i was listening to the hymn, "i know that my redeemer lives" and as i listened to words:
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
i just cried. the spirit confirmed to me so strongly that these words were true. i really felt it in my heart. that jesus christ is my redeemer and that he will do all those things for me. and that he is here to help me through this journey of motherhood. and that the enabling power of the atonement is real and that it applies to these hard days when i feel so discouraged and when i feel like i'm a horrible mother. he can make what i have to give enough. and when i mess up, he's there for me too. and then i was reminded, this is what i have dreamed about my whole life: being a mother. and even on it's really, really hard days, it's still what i want to be doing. it's still my dream and i'm so grateful i get to be a mother to my 3 kids. and luckily the sweet moments and good days outweigh the ones like i had last week. and in those hard moments and days, it's a good thing little kids are cute. it's what saves them ;) i'm sure heavenly father did that on purpose!