I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
I have spent the majority of my evening scouring Pinterest for articles related to “parenting a strong-willed child”, “potty training a strong-willed child” or “staying sane with a strong-willed child”. I’ve read thousands of words, searching for the golden ticket that will make parenting my 3 year old easier. And when the reading becomes too much, I resort to watching YouTube videos of baby animals because, well, baby animals.
I am in a place I thought I’d never be in because I know how to discipline!!! I had top-notch classroom management as a teacher. TOP NOTCH, people. I had students moved into my classroom because “I could handle them”. And my first child? A Bahamian breeze on a hot as hell Texas day. Potty trained in no time, sat at the dinner table the entire time at three years of age. All I had to do was threaten time-out and he turned into an angel. It looked like my husband and I were the best parents ever. We had it all figured out! We’d cracked the parenting code!
And then came Thing 2.
As soon as that precious babe entered the world all my credibility as a disciplinarian shot out the window and left cracked glass everywhere in its wake along with a little note that read, “Good luck. I’m out.” Parenting my second son has been like having a first child all over again, but with whiskey instead of wine and less breakable things sitting about. He has made me question my sanity, my ability to parent and my very existence on this earth. I’m doing my best, but 99% of the time I feel like it’s not making a lick of difference.
And potty training? Let’s not even go there. Let’s just not. I’ve already met my quota for Halloween candy binge-eating today.
Listen, I love my son. I love him to the absolute fullest extent to which a human can love another being. There is no limit to it, no conditions. There are little moments I crave and grasp onto desperately: the concentration he gets when he is trying figure out the right words to say, his tiny toddler voice, the fierce passion he has, his insane cuteness. I love him, but I don’t always love this stage, and that’s not the same thing. Am I thankful for it? Absolutely. Would I have it any other way? Not if this is the way it is going to be.
But that doesn’t mean that I have to like every moment of being a parent. It doesn’t mean that I have to enjoy the stress that comes with epic tantrums in public, nor does it mean that I have to pretend that life is full of unicorns pooping rainbows 24/7. I’m all about being transparent and honest, especially about motherhood, because there is incredible power in sharing. I am a firm believer that the judgmental chasm that occurs between mothers today can be sealed through the sharing of experiences and a lot of laughter. As a teacher I was always trying to get ideas from my peers and share my own. The best PD I ever had was being given the time by my admin to observe other teachers. Educators are brilliant people and have so much to offer each other. And so do mothers. None of our shoes are the same. We have so much to learn from each other and so much to give. Remaining quiet during times of inevitable hardship and struggle does nothing but add fuel to the fire (and some fires rage more than others, let’s be honest). Putting our struggles out there into the world lets other mothers know that they are a part of our village and that we are there to help pull them out of the trenches. It makes exhausted and discouraged moms everywhere be like: