My three year old is dancing around me as I ask her for what feels like the 10th time, to sit down so I can comb her hair. She is chattering away or singing, or saying mommy? mommy? and trying to point to something she wants me to get for her…she is so engrossed in her own behavior that she isn’t hearing me. I start out patient every time, but the lack of attention/focus and my repeating instructions has me annoyed to my limit. Meanwhile, her six month old sister is starting to fuss and the cat is climbing on my lap. Finally irritated, I raise my voice and in a harsher- than-I-would-like tone and say “Can you please come sit down? This is the eighth time I have asked you! We don’t have to go to x,y,z, if you are not ready to listen”. I say this as I am scowling, rolling my eyes, and giving an exasperated sigh.
Instantly I feel like I have crashed her little spirit and my tone has been mean. Sometimes I even dig in a little and say, “why don’t you listen?” or some other unproductive comment that makes me feel like an asshole parent. I rationalize that I am human and only have so much patience in a day, but the truth is that some days I am maxed out and this is the best i’ve got. Frankly, this depresses me.
On good days I don’t indulge in mom-guilt. I have visions of fun crafty things we can do-together and strive to be engaged and patient. On the bad days, I lose the battle. I am hoping that I am not alone in the struggle to be a better parent. Maybe I am too nice? Maybe this is just what 3 and 4 year olds behave like? Maybe I just suck?
How do you cope on your worst mom/dad days?