I put my all three of my kids to bed an hour before their scheduled bedtime tonight. It was one of “those days” where nothing seemed to go the way it was supposed to go and all of my children were out to not only get each other, but take me down in the process, too. By the time dinner was over, I was officially over all the arguing, the whining, and the crying, so I just decided to get all three ready for bed and asleep. Magically, each of them was out like a light within 15 minutes flat, which basically never happens.
We don’t have these days often, but when we do, they beat me down. As I sit here writing now, I’m in my living room with a glass of wine beside me, listening to the sound of my son’s sound machine humming upstairs. I don’t want to hear anything other than the thoughts in my own head. And at this point, I’d tune those out too, if I could.
Today was one of those days that I questioned whether or not I could keep it together. We leave for a month-long vacation this Friday, so my stress level is already pretty high trying to prep for that. Without trying to stress the kids out too, I tried my best to turn my laundry list of errands into tiny little “adventures” for them. But, surprise: it backfired. Big time. With every new store that I walked into, at least one or more of my children threw a tantrum. We left the restaurant we ate lunch in after breaking one bowl and spilling water everywhere. But the worst scene of all happened on our way out — when my youngest threw a particularly epic fit, forcing me drop all our bags of leftovers on the ground, just so I could scoop him up and carry him to the car.
I feel the need to add a disclaimer here that my kids are generally well-behaved. Today just wasn’t their day. And in return, it wasn’t mine.
The whole thing left me feeling stressed out, angry, and honestly, fed-up. That’s not the parent that I like to be when they go to bed, but that was me today. I hate to say it, but I couldn’t wait to get them into their rooms just so that I could just sit in silence. Beautiful, glorious, silence. Part of me wanted to go and cry in a corner, and the other part of me just wanted nothing to do with anyone or anything.
The ugly days of parenting seem to drag on forever and leave me feeling inadequate. No matter how hard I try to get through — to pull it together, to make things run smoothly — all of my tactics seem to be of no use. Today, my kids were on a mission to break me down, and they succeeded.
And it wasn’t pretty.
But the thing about these days, is that whenever one of them rises up out of nowhere, like a tidal wave of chaos and emotion, I know that with time, it will pass — I just need to ride it through. So I go to bed tonight telling myself that tomorrow is a new day; tomorrow will be better. What happened today won’t happen again tomorrow, and it’s that thought that gives me the motivation to get up the next morning with renewed excitement to see all three of their little faces, and hug them close.
The ugly days of parenting are there to test us. They’re the ones no one truly warns you about beforehand; the moments that try to break you down. And sometimes, they’ll succeed. But it’s the beautiful days that far outweigh the ugly. And it’s those we have to use to build us back up again and remind us of the depths of our love — for those strong-willed, free-spirited, and yes, sometimes crazed little humans of ours.