When you hear the word Joy one often associates feelings of: happiness, delight, pride, bliss, and/or cheer. As a mother, my daughter makes me feel all of those things and more on a daily basis. However, that joyful picture I can paint for you of our life together can be far from perfect at times and if I’m honest with you, it can look less then joyful. This is true especially because my daughter currently is a whining, defiant, sassy, lil’ miss- independent, selective-hearing, “I do what I want”, 4 year old! She is creeping farther and farther away from that innocent, sweet, good natured little baby we brought home from the hospital. As her mother, I am starting to lose my mind and let her bad behavior get the best of me. Oh the joys of
Regardless of how much I love my daughter and never want to take her for granted, I am still human and I am still a parent. It’s a hard role to fill! Even though it can be difficult, it is also truly rewarding despite the hardships. However, I can’t always have rose colored glasses for you to peer into my life with, rather I want to give you the honest truth of what it feels like to be a mother and a parent. We all know parenthood doesn’t come with a handbook and clearly it hasn’t been all that horrible for us or anything my husband and I can’t handle because we obviously were crazy enough to want to have another and go to great lengths to make that happen! For those of you who so desperately want a baby, just prepare yourselves and know that it’s not all roses and sunshine–especially when your children get older. Sometimes, it’s strait up hurricane Matthew!
For example, let me go into detail with you about the morning we had at our household with E-Monster (E-Monster is a 4 year old little girl who can be sweet as can be one minute and make you want to pull your hair out of your head the next minute). Since E has started school and we now have a much earlier morning routine and one that comes with limited time, the E-Monster has come out. It’s gotten so bad that I actually feel a bit of anxiety myself knowing that after my shower, I have to whip into my Mama Bear attire and get this little girl ready for school.
My husband so graciously wakes up E after he is done getting ready in the morning. I typically can hear E monster screaming at him on the monitor in our bedroom saying things such as, “Just one more minute”, “I’m too tired”, “Leave me alone Daddy”, “Daddy I don’t like you”, etc. After getting hit, clawed at, and kicked at he somehow manages to scoop her out of bed where she becomes this defiant little person. Usually by the time I am done getting ready, my husband has gotten E to the table and has asked her about 5 times at this point what she wants for breakfast. This typically is a 10 minute long question for E Monster to answer. This morning she wanted chocolate chip pancakes with maple syrup. So, we got her breakfast ready and put it in front of her at the kitchen table where she was whining and crying saying, “I’m too tired to eat”, “I don’t want pancakes”, “My feet are cold”, “I want apple juice”, “Where is Lamberz?”. Anything to divert the idea of eating.
This is where Mama Bear comes in. I typically make my breakfast and then sit down by her and try to encourage her to eat her breakfast. It starts off with me being calm and collective, but I can usually start to feel my blood boil and the stress of the morning start. I’m usually half way done eating my breakfast before E Monster has even taken a bite of food and now the Mama Bear threats come in. Threats such as, “E, if you don’t start eating your food you will miss the bus and won’t be able to go to school with your friends”, “E, if you don’t eat right this second there will be no Ipad today”, “E, if you don’t take a bite of pancake, then I will not let you play with your friends today after school”. This results in her usually telling me to “Stop it”, and then this little 4 year old starts threatening this Mama Bear saying, “If you keep being mean to me then I won’t play with you at all today”, or “If you make me eat my pancake I’m never-ever going to sit next to you at breakfast again.” It’s insane how quickly she picks up on the if-then statements and turns them around on me-clearly that tactic doesn’t work…and on to the next.
Next, Daddy Bear steps in and says “Fine E, get down from the table and go get dressed. You can go to school hungry”. This leads E-Monster into a fit of rage where she starts whining and crying that she’s so hungry and wants to eat. However, when Daddy Bear puts the plate down she’s closed mouthed and clearly played us and still isn’t going to eat. At this point we’ve been battling with her for 30 freaking minutes!!!! I look at my husband as I’m about to lose my sh** and tell him my heart is going to beat out of my chest and this child is going to make me go into labor if she doesn’t stop whining and start listening! This is where my husband looks at me and says, “I know-I know the feeling, I’m here too and see what is happening”. I finally tell my husband to just go to work as I’ve found that sometimes it’s just easier to deal with E myself without both of us on her case. This is where sweet E comes out and she starts laughing and joking with her Daddy before he has to leave. Have I mentioned I just hate mornings-they really have just taken their toll on by my husband and I! I dislike him leaving for work when we’ve had mornings like these because not only are we frustrated with E-monster, that frustration leads us to be frustrated at each other. It’s all just a very bad cycle.
After my husband leaves, I finally get E to eat ALL of her pancakes-by spoon feeding her like a baby people! I know this is not a good habit but I’d rather at this point spoon feed her like a baby if it means she has a full belly for school, then send her to school hungry. There we have it, our first phase of the morning is complete and this Mama bear is exhausted and actually counting down the minutes until I can send that little girl to school. Yes I said it, I actually am feeling relieved to send her to school! However, I don’t think it’s fair because I don’t think she’s this way for her teachers, only her parents. Why do we, as parents, get that short end of the stick?!
Next, is the getting dressed phase of our morning. This part goes a bit smoother, but has a few bumps a long the way. I’ve learned that it’s easier picking her clothing out the night before so it’s just grab and go without my little diva throwing a tantrum about wanting to wear something in particular. My biggest frustration is that she is 4 and although she can get dressed herself, she morphs into this baby personality who all of a sudden can’t speak real words and points and mumbles and expects me to help her with the entire process of getting dressed. This morning she apparently forgot how to put on her shirt and pants and because I wouldn’t help her and wanted her to do it herself she though it would be ok to spit at me and hit me. Then because I told her that was not acceptable and she now earned herself a consequence, she decided to tell me that I was the “meanest mommy ever and she was never going to love me ever never again.” This resulted in her running around the house like a nature girl-completely naked and taunting me saying “you can’t get me, ahahahaha.” I just stood there, not saying a word feeling like I wanted to explode of anger. Then she stubbed her toe, and that was that. After a nice waterworks show on her part, she was finally dressed. AMEN!
Yet another battle, after getting dressed for E-monster, is brushing teeth. She used to be very good about getting her toothbrush out, putting toothpaste on it, and brushing her own teeth but all of a sudden cards of changed and she refuses to do any of it herself. This results in her dad or I brushing her teeth for her. Even though we succumb to her dependency on us for this task, she still chooses to be a stinker and often times turns her head so we cant get in her mouth or she simply chooses to just not open her mouth. I can’t tell you how frustrating the simple task of getting her teeth brushed is. I for one do not enjoy these battles with her and I am starting to have no patience for them (have I mentioned I’m an exhausted 34 week pregnant lady on top of this nonsense?!).
Once her teeth are brushed, it’s time to do her hair. E knows that after we brush her teeth she is to go sit on the ottoman where I do her hair every morning. This task is relatively easy as it’s the point in the morning where I turn on the TV and let her watch PBS kids until she has to get on the bus. About the only issue I have at this point is getting her to go sit on the ottoman. She usually gets distracted and has to find a toy, or she tells me to wait a minute because she has to do something, or asks why I can’t do her hair standing up because this morning she just didn’t feel like sitting to get her hair done. This is where I grab her and plunk her booty on the ottoman and feel my heart start to settle just a little bit. This morning she wanted her hair up and that is just what we did. After her hair she typically only has about 10 minutes before the school bus comes.
Once we get her jacket on and her backpack on we go and wait for the bus and at this point it’s like she’s a completely different child. We usually have a nice conversation and she’s typically in a very happy mood at this point. She willingly gives me big hugs and kisses and says I love you. This morning she said, “Mommy, you’re the best mommy ever” and she even hugged my belly to tell her sister she loved her before school. Sweet right?! Of course I hugged her tight and kept hold until she decided it was time to let go. I kissed her sweet little cheeks and told her I loved her and to have a good day at school. I watched my little Miss get on the school bus and sighed a sigh of relief as the bus drove away. I now have until 11:30 to calm my nerves and compose myself for when she gets back!
Even though we have these types of mornings, I still can’t help but admit I am so happy when she does get back from school. I know fully well with good comes bad, and with bad comes good. Nothing is perfect, not even your journey in parenthood. When I see that little girl happily get off the bus and run to me, hug me, tells me she missed me, and tells me all about her day at school-I know the horrible mornings are left in the past and these moments are the true joys of motherhood. I’m grateful she made it home safely and is back in my Mama Bear arms. These are the moments I live for. Although my sweet little E can turn into an E monster at the drop of a hat and act like a turd…she’s my E-monster and my turd and I couldn’t love her anymore! I can only hope and pray for a much smoother and better morning for us all tomorrow!