Rain. Wind. Gloom.
It has been a rough couple of weeks. The boys, cooped up all day in the house, have gone stir crazy and I’ve come right along with them.
I’ve yelled. I’ve shouted. I’ve cried tears of frustration.
Then, I remembered that MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) was on Friday morning. A break! A 1 hour and 45 minute break. I could drink coffee and commiserate with other moms while the boys played with other little people their own age.
Real conversation. Real play.
At first, I didn’t want to talk to anyone about all of the screaming going on in my house. I didn’t want anyone to judge me. I didn’t want to feel worse from the looks of shock I thought other moms would give me for losing my cool so often.
But I decided to put myself out there. Take a risk. I posted this note on our group page on Thursday.
“I’m so happy MOPS is tomorrow! It’s been a rough week. Everyday I wake up and say to myself, “I will not yell, I will not shout, I will be calm.” It hasn’t worked. At all. Hopefully, with tomorrow’s break, I won’t end up breaking down in tears at naptime!”
The responses were immediate and comforting. I don’t usually feel comforted by the misery of others, but somehow knowing that I wasn’t the only mom going through this yelling/screaming/shouting insanity made me feel better. I knew I was not alone.
Then, the discussion topic and video for the week was “The Courage to be Significant”. So timely given the week (and weeks) all of us had gone through.
After the video, we talked about how so many moms, when asked what they do or who they are, say, “I’m just a Mom”.
I don’t think I’ve ever said that I’m just a mom. I think I’ve done an ok job of keeping the “me” and also being a mom. But sometimes I forget amidst the craziness that there is also a “me”.
A mom is what I am.
A wife is what I am.
A daughter, sister, cousin, niece, friend…are all what I am.
I love these roles. Each and every one of them. They are all a part of who I am.
But the person inside is formed also by my experiences, by what I know, how I feel and what I learn. Who I am changes…not drastically and all at once, but slowly and over time.
We also talked about the preconceived notions we had about what motherhood would be like, and how our experiences differed (wildly) from those expectations.
Expectation #1: I’m never going to be the mom who yells at their kids in the grocery store.
I’ve yelled at my boys in the store receiving dirty looks from patrons and cashiers alike. Sometimes I’m embarrassed and sometimes I just want to make it out to the car before the atomic meltdown starts.
Expectation #2: My kids will always be dressed in perfectly clean clothes…that match.
I’ve dressed my boys in clean clothes only to have them spill breakfast, snack or get marker or paint all over it. I used to change them every time this happened. Then I found that it created too much stress, not to mention laundry, to constantly be changing them. In my book, as long as it isn’t poop or vomit…they are good to go.
Expectation #3: I am going to stick to a schedule with my kids. Breakfast at 9am. Lunch at 12pm. Dinner at 5pm…and so on.
It was a good try. Kids do need structure. But the schedule I created was too stressful…for all of us. I freaked out if we didn’t eat at noon. If we slept past 8am, I rushed around trying to get breakfast on the table so that we could do our morning art project by 9.
At the end, we talked about how hard being a mom is. It’s true…being a mom is hard. It’s harder than any job I’ve ever had.
And, while a ton of great advice comes from family and friends who are already in the trenches, it doesn’t come with a training manual and their experiences are not, nor will they be, your experiences.
It’s hard. Truly it is. But it is also rewarding, and there are tiny moments in my world where I am reminded just how important, how significant my job is.