Updated: Mar 15, 2021
There I was, sitting next to his bed while struggling to sing his lullaby. Tears running down my face, I couldn’t help it. This was the 3rd time today that I break down in front of him and the guilt was eating me. As a parent, I had decided since day 1 to follow the positive discipline approach, be a better listener, be patient, realize that my toddler’s behaviors are not personal and nothing against me, that his tantrums are his way of communicating that something is wrong, something is bothering him. Deep inside I knew all that, and oh how many times today did I stop and breathe walking myself through all those principles and holding on to them tightly. How many times did I stop to stay it’s okay if he’s not listening now, it’s only a couple of days ago that you were there proud of him and yourself for being such a great team, he’s only having a bad day. But I failed, I cracked, I lost patience, I didn’t let go and I broke down. Yes, there he was on my lap, picking up my tears with a napkin, my 20 months old boy.
“Bracing a child’s tears and accepting temporary bad guy status is the path to a loving relationship, trust and respect” – Janet Lansburry, No Bad Kids.
I am sorry mama you felt such a big responsibility at such a young age. If only you knew that every time you saw me smiling and fighting, it was because of you. Even in my darkest times, your love heals me. But I got weak today, and found no strength within me anymore to fight, no matter the little kicks of your little brother growing inside of me. The weight on my shoulders was too big and there was no one I could share it with. Every person around me is struggling. Every person in the world is. If I share, I’ll be considered selfish “Come on, your worries are nothing compared to others”, as if I really needed to compare now. I can be grateful at 8 am and still feel exhausted an hour later. This doesn’t mean that I don’t realize all the privileges that I have, but I’m also taking in all the hits that life is throwing at me and there’s only enough positivity in me in the midst of all this chaos. I was drowning in my own thoughts, while trying hard to entertain you and make you feel loved at the same time. Because it is only you and me, and I cannot take a break. If circumstances were different, I would have taken a drive with loud music, or danced my pain away, or just sat there hugging your dad and crying on his shoulder. But it was only you and me, and today I needed your hug more than you did. I tried so hard I swear, but you refused to cooperate, challenging me at every step of the day. I tried to make it fun, to give you control, but you were frustrated as well. “No no no” was all you were saying. While I dragged myself to the kitchen to cook you your favorite meal, then couldn’t help but be disappointed when you refused to even taste it. But if you’re bothered, can I blame you? I didn’t feel like eating as well. You might be so small but I know you’re struggling with your own changes and emotions learning to navigate through them, waiting for me to guide you. I hope you know that I’m doing my best and that I love you more than anything in the world. As I sat quietly in your room, waiting for you to fall asleep, listening to the rhythm of your breath, staring at every detail of you and how blessed I am to have you, it hit me. “Baba” was the only word you were repeating endlessly since yesterday, holding on tight to every picture you see of your dad, every item he used to wear. Of course, you miss him. No matter how many facetime calls you have, or recorded notes I make you listen to, you just miss him. How can I explain to you that I didn’t take you away, that he didn’t willingly leave, that life’s circumstances are forcing us to be oceans away at this moment, trying to build a better future for you and your coming brother? Even if I could explain all this, you wouldn’t care. You need your dad, and it’s your most basic right. If only you knew how much I needed him as well by my side, and how much it hurts. Of course, it hurts you more, and I am sorry you’re going through this. I am sorry I was so consumed by my own anxiety that I failed to guide you through your emotions today. May today show you that it’s okay to fail sometimes, it’s okay to have feelings and it’s okay not to always feel in control. I am not as perfect as you see me, but I always thrive to be as perfect as possible for you. Tomorrow is another day, and I promise you I’ll do better. And to you little miracle, I know you might not feel it now as we’re overwhelmed with life and toddlerhood, but we prayed for you so long and can’t wait to have you in our arms really soon. I promise to be more than ready to welcome you with all the love and warmth that you deserve.
“Our kids are regularly going to resist our agendas, explode and meltdown on us. That is the freedom they need most. So, our job is to be a solid leader who can remain calm and empathetic in the face of our child’s storms and not waver, get angry or pitying or take his or her feelings personally.” – Janet Lansburry, No Bad Kids.
A thought goes to every mom fighting her anxiety in silence, you are not alone, your fears matter, and even though it’s eating you away now, you are in control.
To every mom feeling helpless, know that you didn’t fail. It’s only a bad day.
To every mom struggling through long distance relationship, it’s definitely not easy but together you will make it through. Just remember that you have each other.
To every single mom, or grieving mom, even when it seems impossible, trust yourself and your children.
As our babies are born, a great strength is given to us mothers. We just need to look deep enough and find it within us. Once we do, we become unstoppable and capable of moving mountains. We just need to have faith and believe.
-The Caterpillar Mom