When I had Andrew, something happened.
I was tired, I was lonely, I was stressed, and I was overwhelmed. Ben was working, attending school, studying for the MCAT, and trying his best to be there for me and the kids.
My little boy was fussy, very fussy. He cried and cried, I cried and cried, Emily cried and cried. I pushed joy away so I could have room for misery.
Emily was growing, maturing, turning into a toddler. I wasn’t ready. I wanted her to help me, but I didn’t want her to be adventurous or seek autonomy. I wanted–I needed–her to sit down next to me, playing quietly. Not running from mess to mess, taking advantage of me nursing to get into everything.
I was unrealistic.
I found myself turning into an awful mother. I went from using calm tones to relying on harsh tones; being happy and engaging to being angry and distant; patient to impatient.
My husband’s busyness and my loneliness excused me from improving my behaviors.
Until one day I really looked at my daughter. What I saw was not a little monster trying to ruin my life, but a little girl, a toddler, who was discovering her little world, begging for me to help her.
How I viewed motherhood changed.
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, the leaders of my church remind mothers (and fathers) that we are to nurture our children.
Nurture: to feed and protect; to support and encourage, as during a period of training or development. (Source: Dictionary.com.)
I do feed and protect my children every day, but do I support and encourage? More importantly, do I support and encourage my toddler as she discovers her world?
I am not ignorant.
I knew what I could do to temper her melt downs or aide in her autonomy seeking behavior. That is what my degree is in. Yet I was neglectful and I took the easy way out.
I have had several impressions reminding me to use my education to help me parent. I ignored them. Silly, really, considering I am often moaning to Ben that I can’t use my degree.
I am thankful that God is patient with me.
I can change and I will change. These changes will not happen immediately, it will take time for me adjust my behaviors.
I feel powerful, I know that I can do this.
How have you grown/changed as a parent?
This post is (now) part of “I’m Finding the Bigger Picture” event. Click on over to see more events!