Monday, November 25, 2013

A Hundred Years War

 
I feel like motherhood is like a war set against the backdrop of a hundred years.  As in, it's a never ending battle to do right, be right, make the right decisions.  And for the better part of these six years since becoming a mother I feel like I'm doing it right.  That I stay just ahead of the game, my head finally just above water.  Most days the battles are small, the tears are few, I'm no longer in danger of losing my voice from yelling.  Most days.  But not every day.
 
Saturday started out as a great day.  A day date for the Hubbs and I, a neighborhood get together for the families in the evening.  As we wrapped a great day, the exhaustion set in.  I was tired, the Hubbs was tired, the kids burnt out and strung out on ice cream and cake.  Not unusual for a Saturday night around here.  We are those parents with a lose interpretation of the words "bedtime" and "dinner".  We live in and out of boundaries that we set and never follow.  It's fine, usually.
 
Usually.  But this Saturday night was different.  It capped off a week of tears and fierce battles between me and my oldest.  My oldest who has never once picked the road most traveled, always the one least.  My oldest who has never once been content with the easy way, the compromise, the amicable disagreement.  My oldest who has set and strategized the battlefield since she took her first breath that late June afternoon.
 
And I know this about her.  Now, I know this about her.  Back then, six years ago, not so much.  So much of my confidence in motherhood was wrapped up in my failures and shortcoming with this child.  She knows nothing of those.  But she now knows my anger, my short fuse, my combustible and combative temper.  That the little things can set me off, can start an uncontrollable wild fire.  Together we are a Molotov cocktail.
 
Saturday night capped off a very tough week.  We hadn't had a week like this in years.  Uncontrollable tears about everything, anything, nothing.  Fights and arguments about hair styles, shoes, breakfast choices.  And with every battle, a little more gasoline on that fire, my patience a little more cracked.  Until, Saturday night, when my oldest went into a crying tirade about a diamond rhinestone something or another, and I absolutely lost myself.  Again.
 
It wasn't pretty.  I was awful.  I threw a fit that would put any toddler to shame.  I threw things (not at her).  I screamed (in general to no one and everyone at the same time).  I was so angry.  And she knew.  And she told Daddy that she was sorry she made me mad.  And that killed me so much, but I was still so angry I couldn't even cry about it or see it as I can see it now.  I am so flawed in this life as a mother.  Like I've said so many times, I wasn't built for motherhood, it has built me, over the years, and still I'm not even half way there.
 
I write this not because I want to expose how terrible or horrible a mother I am.  I write this because I'm hoping that I'm not alone.  That I'm not the only one who looks in the mirror some days and know I could have done better.  That I can be better.  I write this because I need you to know that my life isn't a life of filtered Instagram pictures.  That my life is chaotic and sometimes ugly.  That my smile isn't always bright, and that sometimes I make it harder than it has to be.
 
Saturday night was a reminder that motherhood is still building me.  I'm still under construction.  It was a reminder that with my oldest, every tear, every tirade takes me back to those dark and foggy days six years ago, when my smile and my facade was cracked.  When my world was happening around me and I was too scared to admit that I was drowning.  I worry that I will never shake that feeling with my oldest.  That every year the hugs aren't as comforting, that our connection isn't as solid.  That every battle that takes place over the hundred years of motherhood will drive us further and further from mother and child.  I fear that one day, neither of us will recognize the other.
 
I love her, you know.  With everything.  My heart aches in the aftermath of our latest battle.  The guilt stifling.  But like everything in motherhood, Sunday was a new day.  Sunday was another fresh start that I was blessed with.  I'm not above apologizing to my child for my horrendous behavior.  I'm not above admitting that I can do better.  I can tell her a thousand times I love her, but I also have to show her I love her.  I have to show her that my love is unconditional.  And that is where I feel that sometimes I fail.
 
I'm trying.  I'm learning from past mistakes.  I'll keep charging ahead with a new strategy.  In my mind, motherhood is still a hundred years war, because the biggest battles are always for love.
 
 

7 comments:

  1. You're not alone. You and I seem a lot alike and so do our big girls. I struggle with this all the time. I'm not the mother I always thought I would be, the mother that I want to be. I can definitely be better.. I'm glad I'm not alone.

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  2. Ok...so tears are flowing. I get you completely. I am a yeller....its what I grew up with and now it seems to be my knee jerk reaction. I hate this about me but I will admit it. It's something I struggle with and am always working on. I know my kids love me and know that I lovw them but I am afraid they will look back and only remember the bad....

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    1. I totally agree. Like 110%. I just have the instinct to yell. Thanks for your comment. We are not alone.

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  3. It was a reminder that with my oldest, every tear, every tirade takes me back to those dark and foggy days six years ago, when my smile and my facade was cracked. When my world was happening around me and I was too scared to admit that I was drowning. I worry that I will never shake that feeling with my oldest. That every year the hugs aren't as comforting, that our connection isn't as solid. That every battle that takes place over the hundred years of motherhood will drive us further and further from mother and child. I fear that one day, neither of us will recognize the other.

    This, all of this, you took straight from my soul. The tears are now flowing. Mia and I are one in the same personality wise and it causes so much conflict between us. It kills me, and sometimes I worry our bond isn't as strong as my bond with the boys is, our early days were much harder, I was sick after she was born, I didn't get to enjoy those early days. Now I'm rambling. I don't know what else to say. But know I am there with you, I just never seem to have the words to share it the way you do. You are a much stronger, braver, more eloquent person than I am. Hugs mama.

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  4. "There will be so many times you feel like you have failed, but in the eyes, heart and mind of your child, you are supermom." -- Stephanie Precourt

    Girl, I am so beyond with you that it's not even funny. I can't tell many times I have stared at my sleeping boys after a long hard day and let tears fall and thought, "I didn't have to yell. I didn't have to let my temper get the best of me. I have to work on that. I have to do better. I feel like a failure." I always knew I wanted to be a mother and some parts of motherhood came natural to me, but others didn't and it's those "others" that totally make me feel like I'm a horrible mom and I know I'm not, I know my boys don't think that either, but after a long exhausting day of tears, tantrums and yelling - I feel like I'm doing something wrong.

    We have to stick together in motherhood. We have to share the ups and downs and know that we are not alone in any of it and you aren't along Megan. I'm right here with you, walking this wonderful, amazing, sweet, hard, crazy and tearful journey. Love you to pieces girl!

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  5. You are not alone! I seriously lost my temper when my DD1 couldn't get her backpack out of the car in the rush of early morning drop off. Seriously. Seriously? Parenting FAIL.

    We have to do the best that we can in the circumstances that we find ourselves in. Do your best, throw yourself into making yourself better, but that is all you can do. If we were perfect, there would be world peace. Clearly that's not the case!

    *hug*

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