I admit it: sometimes, I have a short fuse.
When I've worked a long week, and I'm feeling drained, and all I want to do is put the kids to bed so I can have a couple of hours of kid-free time, I get frustrated when my kids don't cooperate with my plan. It seems they didn't get the memo.
A typical night in our house goes something like this.
- My three-year-old doesn't want to use THAT bathroom but only the OTHER bathroom downstairs, even though we've all just gone upstairs to get ready for bed. Okay, whatever.
- I ask my five-year-old to please put on her pyjamas.
- My three-year-old wants to pick out her OWN pull-up and put on her OWN pyjamas, but NOT the ones I've picked out for her in an attempt to expedite the getting-ready-for-bed process.
- I check on my five-year-old. She's playing with her My Little Ponies. I ask her again to please put on her pyjamas now.
- My three-year-old wants to brush her OWN teeth and proceeds to freak out when I try to brush the teeth she's missed during her own attempts (which is to say, most of them).
- I check on my five-year-old. She's still fully dressed, looking at the pictures in a book. I tell her to PUT ON HER PYJAMAS RIGHT NOW, AND I DON'T WANT TO ASK AGAIN!!!
And so it goes.
Eventually, at a tortuously slow pace, all of the bedtime tasks are finally accomplished, and both kids are in bed. But, by the end of it all, I'm often feeling kind of pissed off. And then I feel guilty about feeling pissed off. It's a vicious cycle.
But what I need to remember is, all of those mundane frustrations and irritations are really just a drop in the bucket.
When you're a parent, it's difficult to get perspective on your own life. You tend to get mired in your own daily dramas and forget they're really quite trivial.
Appreciating what you have can be hard, and it's human nature to want more. But the fact is, I have two beautiful girls, and they're happy and
healthy, smart and thriving. Sure, they push my buttons—a LOT—but they're
good kids. Most of the time, anyway.
And the tradeoff for those times when I just want to hand them off is the times when I just don't want to let them go. Like when I'm cuddling next to them in bed, and the house is quiet. When I can feel the warmth of their skin as they lean into me and surrender to sleep, trusting me completely to love them and keep them safe.
The truth is, I'm so very lucky. And I sometimes forget that. But I promise to try harder to remember.
At least, most of the time.