There are nights when you have the perfect harmonious evening with your child in which dinner, bath time and bedtime are a breeze. Your little one laughs, plays and responds eager to please when you tell them it’s time to wash up or get in bed for a story. You then nuzzle up and enjoy each other’s company before sending them off to Sleepytown. Thankfully, this is how most nights go.
But then there are nights that make you question your abilities as a mother.
The nights when your sweet little gift from God does the complete opposite of what you ask them to do. Nights that you have to hold them hostage in the bathroom while they scream bloody murder because you won’t let them out until all the bath toys are put up. Nights when your precious angel is throwing a fit in your arms, smacks you in the face and you have to put her down, leave the room, and pray to resist every natural urge to smack her back.
And then come the waterworks.
I’m crying because I only get a couple hours with her in the evenings after work and I don’t want to spend it like this. Because I’ve tried different approaches and none give me a different result. Because if this is what she dishes out at almost three years old, I’m in deep crap when it comes to the teen years. And because, regardless of this “terrible twos” phase, I still feel like its somehow my fault and I’m failing her.
And she’s crying. Crying because she doesn’t want to take a bath, read a book, brush her teeth or go to bed. Crying because she knows I’m angry with her. Crying because she’s exhausted and because she wants more of my attention in the evenings than time will allow.
This, of course, is where the working mom guilt hits me where it hurts.
Which means more tears.
And smeared mascara.
Because I haven’t had a chance to wash my face yet, what with the Battle of Wills and all.
It’s so hard to stand your ground when it would be easier to give in and make her happy. I mean, after all, it’s not like I couldn’t pick up her toys for her or let her read 15 books before bed.
But she’d never learn that I mean what I say. And she’d never learn that blatant defiance or throwing a hissy fit to get what you want isn’t going to work.
So, in the words of my mother,
“I love you enough not to let you act like that. And I love you enough to let you hate me for it.”
(I was really hoping she’d be 12 before having to use this particular mom-ism)
Tomorrow’s a new day. Hopefully without the Kleenex.