A couple years ago, Tawnya wrote a post that spawned a number of other bloggers, myself included, to share their confessions of an imperfect mom. That little series has been on my mind lately and I wanted to confess something that’s been weighing heavily on me the last couple weeks.
I’ve been faced with challenges throughout the past four years as a parent, but the last few months have been the toughest. I reached my lowest point where I was ready to wave the white flag.
The so-called terrible twos were minor in comparison to the [expletive] fours in my house. There was a week in late November where everything was met with a battle of epic proportions. Nothing I did would make Liam listen, no form of punishment seemed to get through to him, and it was spiraling out of control on both ends. Every day was met with me in tears, texting and calling friends and family frustrated and desperate for new discipline tactics to try.
I felt like I was failing as a parent. I had no idea what I was doing and I had no idea what to do to make things better. I feared I would never be able to properly discipline my own child and that if he can’t listen to me at this age, I’d have a nightmare on my hands in a few more years. I was losing it just as much as he was. I wanted to give up, to quit being a parent.
By December things were so bad that tantrums were met with hitting, kicking, slamming doors, screaming and throwing things. They would go from zero to 60 at the drop of a hat. I was experiencing anxiety that was through the roof and was hardly able to cope with the situation. At one point I resorted to physically restraining my son until he calmed down enough to stop slapping me, running away and throwing everything in his path because I couldn’t find any other way to get him to stop. I hated that I had to do that. I hated that I couldn’t find a better way to deal with these outbursts. I felt like pieces of both of us were breaking the further down this destructive path we went. That night I texted my day home provider desperate for advice. She raised six children of her own and has run an amazing day home for years, surely she knows a thing or two about how to deal with these situations. I needed whatever advice I could get.
She recommended a book to me, Kids Are Worth It! Raising Resilient, Responsible and Compassionate Kids by Barbara Coloroso. I hoped to hell that it would provide me with some sort of tool for not only getting my strong willed son to listen to me but to help me keep my cool in the midst of outbursts and meltdowns. For what it was worth, I was hoping for a miracle.
It’s not that my son is a bad kid. But there is no question that he is strong-willed (serves me right for naming him something that literally means ‘strong willed’) and I think I’m the lucky one who gets tested the most. This book has definitely taught me a lot about my parenting style and given me a lot to think about. Since finishing it a few days ago, I’ve been putting my learnings to work and have been having some major parenting wins. I’ve also been making a point to do a quick 15-minute yoga and meditation every night. I feel like I have control of this parenting thing again. My patience feels stronger, the anxiety isn’t creeping up and the fits aren’t lasting as long. Sure, there are still struggles and I am identifying a lot of things I can be doing differently but I’m still learning and I think I’m on a better path (for now, we all know how fast things can change).
I wanted to share this experience to let you know that you’re not alone if you’re struggling through your parenting journey right now. It’s ok to feel like you’re failing as a parent (you’re not), it’s ok to feel like things will never get better (they will), it’s ok to feel like you want to give up at times and it’s ok to reach out for help and advice. Remember that it takes a village. Take care of yourself. Do yoga, meditate, get a massage, take a bath, whatever it takes to help you get into a better headspace. Read books, talk to friends or relatives, neighbours or strangers about what you’re struggling with what’s worked for them. Try new things and when they don’t work, try something else.
Remember that you’re not alone, we’re all imperfect parents.
photo credits: tawnya nicole photography
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