A few weeks ago I had a day for the books. Like, two crazy toddlers testing me. The one and a half year old and 3 year old were handfuls; constant bickering, relentlessly challenging me, and all around general fussiness. Nothing went as planned. Do you ever have days where you are just sick to death of the sound of your own voice? Yeah. That was me. I was hanging on by a mere thread.
Then out of the blue my mom called and asked if she could come up that evening to visit with the girls and allow my husband and me to sneak out for an impromptu, midweek date night. Praise Jesus.
Bobby and I drove to dinner in silence that night. It wasn’t that we didn’t have a lot to catch up about, but I was completely and utterly tapped out. He knew that. We drove 10 minutes to a favorite local spot, not speaking, just sitting silently holding hands. It was comforting to decompress in the presence of someone who understood, required nothing of me, and encouraged me to do so. I remember looking out the car window with eyes welled up. Tears were just sitting in my lower lids waiting to be blinked down my cheeks but didn’t fall. The exhaustion of the day was enough to stir up tears in me, but I was too pooped to cry them.
We went to a dark quiet pub. We sat on the same side of the booth, drank IPAs and shared an order of French fries cooked in duck fat and maple syrup (I could literally write a whole blog post on the amazingness that are these fries. I digress). Over deep fried goodness I shared my exhaustion over the day with him.
“I hate days like today. It was rough. Not just for me though. I know their days weren’t exactly great either. I yelled a lot. There were time-outs and there were tears from everyone. I just feel like it was really lousy momming on my part today.”
“Honey, great momming still happens on the tough days. Disciplining doesn’t mean you’re doing a lousy job of momming, that’s part of good mothering.”
My eyes immediately welled up again. This time, the big fat tears fell.
I know discipline and correcting behavior doesn’t make me a bad mother, but man, it took someone else reminding me of that to see it. Sometimes in the roughest of days; amidst all the yelling, time outs, corner sits, apologies, forced apologies (because, toddlers) cleaning up, cleaning up, and more cleaning up, tears, cold coffee, and pouting you can actually forget that this is motherhood. THIS is the job. It’s not always playdates and baby giggles. Great mothering happens when things don’t go according to plans.
So, momma, if you are out there and you are in the thick of it, like IN IT today: please just remember, you are doing an awesome job. Great stuff is happening on the tough days too, momma.