Almost an hour had passed and I managed three bites of food out of my son. I tried everything. Toys. Distractions. Puffs. Oh the puffs! Nothing was getting him to eat what I had prepared for him.
He was fussy.
I was fussy.
The day needed to end.
It was 7:30 in the morning.
My thoughts as the breakfast battle raged on,
Can we just go back to bed and try again tomorrow?
Is it too early for wine?
Oh my gosh, it’s just eggs.
EAT THE EGGS.
There’s still more hours in the day after this?!
Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man.
FOR PETE’S SAKE EAT THE EGGS.
Another morning. Another defeat.
Lunch and dinner didn’t fare much better. Another battle lost. I gave up and sluggishly moved on to our bedtime routine; bath, story time and bottle. He fell asleep in my arms while his room darkened as early evening turned into night. I sat there, rocking away, singing to him softly… tears in my eyes.
The tears surprised me. I remember thinking,
Are you crying? There’s no crying! There’s no crying in Baseball!! – Thanks, Tom Hanks for helping me find humor in this moment – No, but really, get your sh*t together!
I was done. I desperately needed some time to myself and I was finally getting it, and I just stared at him, reluctant to put him down, feeling guilty that I “needed time to myself.”
My brain decides to get all dramatic and ponder life…
Someday you’re gonna miss this.
Soon he’ll be a teenager and I’m pretty sure he won’t let you cuddle him.
Think about all the women who can’t have children, Karen. They wouldn’t dare take this time for granted.
Remember that story you just read on Facebook of the mom who lost her baby in that tragic accident? …Just reminding you…
How much do you think she’d like to cuddle her baby right now?
Being a mom is a privilege, Karen. You should cherish this. But you go ahead and have that glass of wine now. You deserve it!
Oh, also a reminder that you didn’t cook any dinner so you should feel guilty about being a bad wife too.
Thank you, brain. You know just what to say.
I went to bed feeling defeated. It was a crappy day. Some days, you just can’t win.
Your child really can make or break your day. If they’re not happy, you’re not happy. If they’re sad, you’re sad. If they’re fussy, you’re fussy. Depending on how good or bad their day is can determine whether you feel like you failed as a parent. Intellectually, we know that’s not true, but we feel that way nonetheless.
It’s what guilt is made of. Woven together so intricately and meticulously that you can’t help but be entranced by it.
You know what I’ve learned, though? Guilt is okay. I wouldn’t become friends with it, but I can live with it. Guilt can paralyze you, so understanding your heart behind it is crucial. And you know what my heart was saying in between those guilt-laden thoughts?
He is so darn cute.
This is all I need.
I love him so much.
These are tears of thankfulness.
I will cherish this forever.
Gosh, he smells good.
I don’t wanna put him down.
I have to put him down.
I need to like eat and take care of myself and stuff.
Okay, I’ll put him down.
Ugh. I miss him already.
Guilt helps me see how much I really care. It’s not fun, but it does give a glimpse into where my heart’s at.
So what did I do that night?
I went to bed.
Because sleep RULES.
And I woke up the next day and we did it all over again.
The day was good. Brooks still fussed at his meals but we got through it. He was happy.
This time, I went to bed feeling victorious.
Brooks is gonna have good days and bad days, regardless of what I do or how I “parent.” He’s a human. A new and tiny one. But still human. Just like us, for no reason, he’s going to have bad days. He’s going to “win some” and “lose some.” He just cries more about it.
Winning is not the reason you play the game.
Just kidding, I’m so competitive, winning is everything… I’m a work in progress.
BUT. You have to learn to be okay with the losing part, because as much as we’d like to “win ‘em all,” we won’t. That’s life. Good days and bad days. Sad days and happy days. Scary days and exciting days. Crazy days and mundane days. Life is a compilation of winning and losing.
And the way we treat losing can really determine how we win, too.
I’m not saying you have to love losing. It’s okay not to. We’re not going to cherish every moment. We’re just not. Yes, it will go too fast and yes, we’ll look back and say we wish we cherished it all, but your memory will have cushioned and blurred some of the bad stuff.
I’m not going to feel guilty about not cherishing every moment.
I’m not going to feel guilty about not feeling guilty.
I love my life. That doesn’t mean I love every moment.
Life is tough.
Being a mom is tough.
But I’m okay.
Whether I win or lose these small battles we call days, I know that I go out there everyday and give it my all.
Sometimes my all isn’t enough.
And when I feel guilty, which I inevitably do, I’ll still be sad and defeated and anxiety-ridden.
I’ll probably cry.
But then I’ll remember what my heart said through the guilt.