Little by little, I am bringing myself back to where I want to be. How I want to parent. Who I want to be, as a person, as a wife, as a mother.
The road of change is difficult. It can require strength that is buried deep, days that seem never ending because of exhaustion. I often find myself thinking that I can’t succeed. It is my own self loathing talking. Pitying myself. This is so hard, this day is so hard, these kids are so MUCH.
I’ve been making changes, slowly. I’ve been observing and listening and feeling and breathing and thinking. I’ve been changing things I see need changing.
I’ve been longing for connection and for love. For understanding. For support. For comfort. I’ve been hoping for things to get easier. I’ve been telling myself awful things. I have no faith in myself.
I’m tired of being negative. Negativity is bringing me down.
I’ve been making changes. Things won’t get easier without the work to make them that way.
We live in a world of outside influences. We see things on Facebook or Instagram (or whatever other methods of social media used that I’m too uncool to know about). We see, hear, or read news stories. We have conversations with neighbors, friends, strangers. We hear information and have to process what we are hearing.
Much of this is negative. There aren’t many news articles that are full of light and happiness. I’m inundated with memes about hating Monday’s, weekends being the true days of enjoyment, kids being stupid and annoying. There are endless articles about what is right and wrong to do in life, how to be minimalistic in one and how to buy the most while saving a ton in the next. There are articles about why sleep training is the only way for kids to ever sleep through the night. There are articles about why sex every day is the only way to a happy marriage. There are articles about the right way to organize shelves. If there is an article about one way to do things there is probably another with advice stating the opposite.
There is so much out there, so much to read, to listen to, to see, to be influenced by.
I let it consume me.
I am done letting it consume me. When I was having a hard moment I would text my husband or message a friend and complain. “You won’t even believe what I’m dealing with today,” kind of messages. Sometimes this would happen more than once a day. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Talk about how “bad” our kids are and how hard it is being a mom and a wife and all of the other hats we have to wear?
I’m finding enjoyment where it was before, but lost, and it feels amazing. I’m loving my kids like I knew I could. I’m back to my mindset of before, that their behavior is a reflection of their needs. If they are acting in a manner that is not typical, something else is bothering them. There are no bad kids. Kids do not manipulate. They use their behavior to communicate things they don’t yet have the vocabulary for.
I am done with letting the world dictate how I should be. I know how I can be. How I can be and how I want to be are more important that all the blogs in the world telling us to put our kids in time out when they really just need connection. To separate them at night, to their own rooms, to sleep alone. To make them obey otherwise they will be unruly and run crazy, lighting things on fire and getting into fights.
I’m okay with having a bad day and having a bad moment and having to feel feelings. I’m not okay with letting them move me to be a bully. To push my kids away, to push my husband away. To change the dynamic of our household.
It all starts with finding connection throughout the day. Sitting on the floor and reading a book, building with blocks, being present, being engaged. Running and laughing alongside my children instead of reading posts about other people and their children.
I have been avoiding life, willing the days to pass, looking at the clock to count the hours until Paul returns home. I haven’t been enjoying much of anything. It’s almost been six years since I first found out I would be a mother. Six years that have flown by. Half of those years I have been lost, looking for a way out of my misery.
Baby steps and small changes each day are getting me there.