Struggles in Parenthood

You know the days when you feel like you really suck at parenting? Even though you know you’re a good mom or dad, you just feel like (today) you should not be a parent. Today was one of those days for me.

I knew today would have its challenges. Every third Thursday I attend a San Diego leadership seminar – which I LOVE – but it’s always a long day. I spent an hour driving from my house to the California/Mexico border for our law and society seminar, and then spent an hour driving home in the late afternoon. So naturally, I was exhausted when I made it home at 6 p.m. I had no clue what we were eating for dinner, and every creature in the house wanted my attention.

While I love every creature in the house, after 12 hours of sitting and intense learning, I kinda just wanted to be alone.  That, plus the anticipation of having to work all day Saturday coordinating an event for a job I’m no longer doing (long story; don’t ask!), is producing a bit of anxiety and short-temperedness in me these days.

By the time dinner was ready, it was nearly Sophie’s bedtime. But Bryan and I were starving and had to eat. So I couldn’t help being annoyed and at my wit’s end when Sophie’s in the bathroom making a mess with sink water, even after I’ve told her three times to stop. Then I hear my candle holder drop to the floor. I rest my head in my hands, shake my head, and try to breath.

Bryan didn’t understand why I was so annoyed with Young Sophie. This behavior is expected at her age, he said. And yes, I know she’s only 3-years-old. And her behaviors are absolutely in line with a child of that age. But I was tired, hungry, my head ached. So was it too much to ask for Sophie to listen the first time I tell her not to do something?!

As I expected, bedtime wasn’t a piece of cake either. Sophie’s goofing around and kept getting out of bed. I didn’t yell at her; but I annoyed and wasn’t very nice either. She replied to me in a sarcastic tone, SORRY! I left her room feeling frustrated, guilty, angry, and sad. I just didn’t want things to be a struggle. I guess tonight, I just couldn’t be a parent.

After I had some time to myself, I realized I didn’t want either Sophie or I to go to bed annoyed with each other. I went back into her room (I know I was taking a risk) to tell her I love her and give her a hug. She gave me a hug too, and then told me that three big girls at school didn’t want to play with her today, which made her sad. Why didn’t they want to play with me? she asked. It made me so sad. Maybe she had a tough day too. I hugged her again; things were calmer between us and she’s now sleeping soundly.

Now the house is quiet. I’m ready to rest up for another day that will surely bring its challenges and frustrations. But hopefully I’ll be ready to embrace it and be a parent once again.

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