As parents I feel we all have days where we just want to throw in the towel and say “I’m done!”.
We do so much during the early years to teach our children manners, how to be nice, how to be helpful, and become good people in the world. We know all our hard work is paying off when we are fortunate enough to hear another adult, who is not a family member, compliment on their behavior. It is like a much-needed ego boost for us. Or when you go to your child’s very first parent-teacher conference and you are told all the wonderful behaviors your child displays in school. Isn’t this the point of all our hard work?
Then they are home with us, where they feel safe, they become the polar opposites. Yes this is a good thing. They save up for us. They feel safe enough to let their frustrations out on us. It shows us they care the most about us~well according to a lot of professionals anyway. But I know I not only speak for myself, but for a lot of parents out there, we want that great behavior we taught them to be used at home too!
I am going to be honest~ real honest~ the past few months (maybe even longer) I have been feeling like throwing in the towel more times than I care to admit or ways I care to admit. I can see how some parents just give up for a lack of better words. When most of the days are spent redirecting then yelling at your children to do simple tasks that you know they are very much capable of doing and actually used to do when they were younger, you start to doubt your ability of being a good parent.
I hit rock bottom this past weekend. After weeks of my children being down right bratty and slobs on top of it, I was ready to throw in the towel in more ways than one. After one of my not so proud mommy moments of yelling at them, I finally stopped. I sat on the arm of the couch looking at their little faces and started to cry. I simply said, calmly, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” They just looked at me. I started to cry even harder. I pointed out to them how the simple task of throwing out a napkin or a juice box straw wrapper has seemed to be impossible for them to manage. Or the simple task of flushing the toilet (yes flushing the toilet) seems to be a concept they never heard before. I pointed out how I am unable to shower without someone running into my bathroom crying or coming out to screaming, barking, or finding food in places it shouldn’t be. I told them how they have no idea how hard it is for me anymore to get out of bed every morning. I told them I am beyond done. I said I could no longer live like this because I made it a mission to make their lives as happy as they possibly can despite everything. I told them I fear they will now grow up and all they will remember is this~ yelling, crying, and just miserable moments in their childhood. They just looked at me.
I went up to my bedroom and sobbed….hard. Every ounce of me hurt. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt (I still do) feel like I am failing at this parenting thing. I just didn’t want to deal with any of it. The fighting, the yelling, the messes everywhere, just all of it…just done with it. I kept thinking and even saying it out loud:
“How am I going to keep doing this?”
“I can’t do it anymore!”
“I am done.”
I know how all of this is age appropriate. I know that everyone deals with it. I know it will pass. I know I am a good parent. I know my kids are good kids. I know. I know. I know. But sometimes knowing it and dealing with it doesn’t help. I was (still am) beat down. I am exhausted with this parenting thing. I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to fail them. I want a happy home. I want happy memories. I want to do this. But when you struggle on a daily basis with your own battles, some days it is just hard to be the best you can be or need to be. Some days, I want to just sleep. I don’t want to be happy and smiley. I don’t want to get out of the bed and feed the kids or get them to where they need to be. But I do it. I will continue to do it. But throwing in the towel some days, just looks like the best answer.
So after 20 minutes of sobbing, I came down. They looked at me. They knew I was broken. And for the moment, they tried. They know they need to step up. Will it happen overnight? I so desperately wish it would but I know it will be a continuous battle. But it is a battle I am not going to lose or surrender to. Although I wish I didn’t hit rock bottom in front of them, I am glad it happened because it probably needed to in order for some progress to be made.
Am I ready for another battle? No. But I will show up. I am a fighter. I will not throw in the towel and I will teach them to be their best with me not just with others.