All she wanted to do was help with the dishes. She pulled the stool to the counter with enthusiasm. She climbed up and started pointing out all of the dirty dishes. She counted all the plastic cups. She counted all the glasses, then the plates and the bowls too. She organized how they were placed on the towel to air dry for a moment. She picked out her just the right towel to dry with.
All she said was she was scared of the dark. Her fear was obvious and her need to be protected was genuine. All she said was “I’m scared mommy”. All she needed was a little help walking down the dark hallway to the potty. All she needed was someone to turn on the lights in her bedroom so she could pick her jammies. All she needed was a nightlight to make her feel safe in her bedroom.
All she wanted to do was pick her outfit. A specific dress, with certain leggings and those princess shoes. She was simply asking for her independence to decide for herself. She was seeking a creative outlet and all she needed was for me to say ok.
She is awesome. Sweet and generous. Kind and loving. Wild and crazy in a beautiful way. She has made it through the majority of the tantrum phase with ease. A tantrum here, a whiny moment there. I know her, she only cries and whines and throws tantrums for three reasons; 1. she is hungry, 2. she is tired or 3. she doesn’t feel heard or seen. And now we’ve entered the independence, approval and sometimes fear phase. The phase where, as a mommy, I need to slow down, breathe and identify what she is feeling right then and there.
Last night she was amazing, helping in every single way she could. And I was awful. Correcting every effort she made to help me with the dishes, cooking dinner, cleaning up the house. I was so overwhelmed with pent up feelings, stress at work, anxiety over our house hunt, frustration about cleaning. It was abundantly clear to me that I was a full-time working mommy, wife and house manager and that everything needed my attention yesterday. After a completely full day of work I headed home to messes everywhere. Sheets that needed to be washed, a sink full of dishes that had been ignored for far too long, trash that was stinky and needed to go out…
My poor sweet soul, she was simply doing her best and the exact time that I was at my worst. The result… Too many small comments that tore her down versus built her up. Too many corrections versus cheering. Too many “stop that’s” and “don’t do that’s” and not enough “I love you’s” and “thank you’s”.
Thank heavens this mothering thing is a one-day-at-a-time lesson. As we snuggled in for the night her armor was in tact. She knew I loved her. I explained my frustrations and hugged her through her disappointment in me. I made it abundantly clear that she was incredible and her help was amazing. We cuddled and held hands and drifted to sleep snuggled into one another. Today is a new day. A new day to build my beautiful one up. Today, I am thankful for the daily lessons in parenting and a heart so open I can feel when it is time to adjust.
Here’s to a new day.