Parenting is not an easy job. You all hear that from me a lot. And as mom and dads, we constantly wonder if we are “doing it right”. No matter how much we do, or how well we do something, we always doubt ourselves. Can we ever be totally content with the job we are doing as parents?
Probably not. I think it’s just human nature to doubt yourself when you are in a situation with a tiny human that has zero regard for societal norms.
Someone once told me that if I was worried that I was a good enough mom, that meant I was doing a good job. Then I looked at my kid sitting in the grass with a snotty nose gnawing on a rock and I was like, “You do see my kid right now, don’t you?” Maybe she didn’t have good peripheral vision.
Half of the time, I think I might actually be getting the hang of this whole parenting thing.
Like the other day, I realized that my three-year-old hated getting dressed every day because I wasn’t letting him pick out his own clothes. I was attempting to force him into what I thought was cute because what kid doesn’t want to wear gray skinny jeans?
He was rebelling in the worst way possible. Screaming, crying tantrums where my husband and I would eventually end up having to double team him to get him dressed for the day.
Then a light went off. Why don’t I just let him pick out his own clothes?
No freaking shit, Jamie. Why didn’t you do this months ago?
So dressing Henry each morning got MUCH easier. It went from a completely unbearable morning experience to something that was actually kind of enjoyable and fun for both of us.
This morning, he picked out a gray pair of sweatpants with black stripes down the sides. The shirt he picked out had blue and brown vertical stripes and was a tad on the small side so it could have been mistaken for a crop top if he raised his arms up. But he was so happy. And so proud of himself.
So I let go of my OCD that kids should wear clothes that actually match and let him rock his outfit. And I made sure to tell his preschool teacher, Gigi and babysitter that he picked his own outfit because I didn’t want people to think I put my kid in horizontal and vertical stripes in the same outfit.
Then things happen when I really doubt my ability to parent a preschooler. You know, the times when you want to hide from them because they are just being so bad?
Henry has a temper. And he is stubborn. So when he doesn’t get his way, he crosses his arms, expresses that he is “very angry” then stomps his feet, lays down on the floor and screams at an octave that makes the dog bark.
There is no talking him down – or I guess up since he is on the floor – from this situation. Try to talk to him and he screams louder. Try to stand him up and his legs collapse underneath him.
So I realized that the best thing to do is just let him stay on the floor sprawled out screaming while his face turns red. It will normally last about fifteen minutes or so until he has calmed himself down.
Sometimes I step over him when I need to move from room to room. It’s a freaking disaster.
It is that exact moment where I am stepping over my child that is acting like a tiny little devil that I doubt myself. This little human is half me. I created this. Where did I go wrong???
Then he calms down, gets up, comes over to me, and either does something sweet like give me a kiss or starts all over again. Kids are so unpredictable.
We talk about what happened and why he can’t do that when he doesn’t get what he wants, blah, blah, blah.
Then I normally go to the bathroom to escape him for a few moments and gather myself.
Parenting is just hard. That’s all there is to it. There is no right or wrong way to do it. You just do it. You try your hardest every day and continue showing up for your little humans.
Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it’s not so great. But it is what it is. And we have to realize that we aren’t the only parents that are slightly terrified of their preschooler when they launch into an epic tantrum. One day, according to every grandparent in the universe, we will miss this, right?
Until Next Time,