“Patience, young grasshopper.”

Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Take a deep breath. Take a deep breath…

eastereggs

The past few weeks at home have been challenging to say the least. My daughter’s voice is getting bigger, and she now knows how to open her bedroom door. My son’s desire for independence is pushing buttons and boundaries here and there and everywhere, and he now knows that he is much stronger than he used to be. My daughter’s tantrums are like nothing I have ever experienced before. My son’s need to question every order I give is exhausting and frustrating. I don’t understand how my daughter can be perfectly happy one minute and completely inconsolable the next. I don’t understand why my son whines and cries over the smallest of obstacles he encounters. I don’t understand, so I try to explain. I get frustrated, so I yell. I get angry, and then I feel awful.

My children are beautiful, inside and out. My children have big hearts and kind souls. My children are intelligent, and I admire their curious minds. I am so proud of them and my love for them is infinite, perhaps that is why it is so difficult for me to see them struggle and make mistakes. They know I love them to the High Bridge, then to their cousin’s house, then to the moon, then to Mercury, then to my heart and back, so why do they question my orders and requests? Why do they question my warnings? Why do they choose to do the exact opposite of what they know they should do? These past two weeks have been trying to say the least. My children are so beautiful –inside and out– but it has been difficult to focus on all of their beautiful qualities because I have been so focused on trying to find the causes of their insolence and disobedience.

I am frustrated. I am angry. I have yelled a lot. I mean, I have yelled so much that when I go to bed at night, I feel even more angry and frustrated for not handling these conflicts better. I am angry at myself for being a poor role model during the meltdowns and tantrums. I am angry at myself for being angry at my kids. I am frustrated for allowing my mind and heart to be full of so much anger these past couple of weeks. Every night before I go to bed, I sneak into my kids’ rooms and kiss them on the forehead. I whisper and say that I will be a better mommy in the morning after a good night’s rest. I whisper and say that I love them more and more each day. Then I crawl into bed and feel guilty for not making these promises earlier in the day, and then I feel even more guilty for not keeping my promises the next day.

dye

Patience has never been one of my better qualities, and I prefer to shy away from conflict whenever possible. I want people to get along and to be happy and to be able to put their differences aside. I want to solve problems now so I can focus on better things. I can’t stand dawdling when there are places to go and people to see. I like order and for everything to stay in order. And I like peace and control. But I am not a very practical person, you see. Every day, motherhood slaps me in the face and says, “Wake up sweetheart, today is going to be unlike any other!”

Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for a meltdown, sometimes there are no easy solutions when siblings are fighting in the car, and holy shiznet is there ever a lot of dawdling that goes on in my house. Some days I sound like a broken record, some days nothing I say or do will comfort my children or encourage them to listen to me, and some days I feel like I am going to explode –and I do.

Why are my explanations for the requests I make not enough for my kids? Why must I even explain why it is necessary to go to the bathroom before leaving the house? Why don’t my children see the love in my eyes when I warn them about the many dangers in the world? Why do they continue to jump on the furniture when they have been hurt from doing that very same thing? Why do they cry, whine and scream even after I offer help? Why do my children hurt each other when they know it is not right? Why?

These past couple of weeks have been exhausting. I am tired of repeating myself. I am tired of holding my anger in. I am tired of yelling. I am tired of chasing. I am tired of taking things away. I am tired of acting like I am a happy mommy when I feel like I have nothing under control. I am tired of listening to my daughter cry over the slightest inconveniences. I am tired of hearing my son’s countless excuses for why he shouldn’t have to do something that I ask him to do. I am tired of feeling like I should be handling this phase –please Lord, let this be a phase– better. I am tired of allowing myself to get so worked up about all of this. Fortunately, one of my Facebook friends recently shared this wonderful post for exhausted moms, which allowed my guilt about not being a better mom these past two weeks to subside a bit. I needed this read.

eggs

Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Take a deep breath. Take a deep breath…

After doing some reflecting on that lovely post, my immature behavior and my kids’ less than delightful actions, I decided that I should listen to Elsa and just let it go. It’s so simple, yet so difficult. Just let it go. Let go of the frustration I feel over not having everything go my way. Let go of the anger that builds up when my son and daughter push my buttons. Let go of the guilt I feel for not being as patient as I should be at times. Let go of the desire to control. Let go of the desire for order. Let go of the desire for perfection. Let it go. Let it all go.

I don’t want to be a controlling parent; I want to be a mentor. I don’t want to create a hostile environment by yelling; I want to create a hospitable environment by showing patience and understanding. My kids want to see what they can do on their own. Their actions may not always make sense to me, but as long as no one is in danger, why wouldn’t I want them to explore and learn more about their abilities? My kids want to solve their own problems. It may not make sense to me, but maybe that means they need to cry it out for a while before they realize that taking action may be more helpful than convulsing on the floor. My kids want to be independent. Perhaps it is time that I loosen the reigns and give them more opportunities to make their own decisions and to lead. I know they will make mistakes, but mistakes also help us to grow and learn. Most importantly, my son and daughter want to know that they are loved. I love them with all of my heart, and they know this because I tell them every day. But perhaps they are not hearing and seeing this enough during their most challenging moments. Perhaps I could substitute some of my words with more hugs. Perhaps I could skip some of the lectures during tantrums and simply say, “I love you.” I know I’d rather hear that when I am having a bad day.

In time, my children will mature. In time, they will begin to think more before they act. In time, they will realize that they are not the only beings in this world who have needs. I can try to explain my decisions, requests and rules all I want, but my children will not understand everything I say until they learn many of these things on their own. They are children. They are both under the age of five. The way they see the world is different from how I see it. They are learning. They are growing. They need love. They need consistency. They need to be understood.

Why do my children push my buttons? Why do they hurt each other when they know it is wrong? Why do they get so upset over issues that seem so small? Why have the past two weeks been extra challenging?

Let it go. It doesn’t have to be so challenging.

I may need and desire order, control and peace, but my children’s needs are much simpler: My children need love. They need love when they are happy. They need love when they are sad. They need love when they are angry. My children’s needs can be so simple in the midst of all of this chaos. Why do I forget this at times?

***

Yesterday afternoon while running to the car in the rain, my son expressed some frustration over the poor weather conditions. He told me that he was upset that it was raining because he was getting cold and wet. To my surprise, though, he quickly got over his frustration and said, “Well, it’s okay mom. The plants need the rain to grow.” Yes, my dear boy, the plants sure do need the rain to grow.

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One thought on ““Patience, young grasshopper.”

  1. there is so much goodness in this post, i really liked this piece ” They know I love them to the High Bridge, then to their cousin’s house, then to the moon, then to Mercury, then to my heart and back, so why do they question my orders and requests?” and was thinking how wonderful it will be for your children to read that when they grow older – to read about how much you loved them, about you wanted to be a mentor, and how you tried, best you could, to make the right decisions. the sweet story at the end makes me think you’re definitely doing a great job 🙂

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