My gas tank was running on fumes. With every day passing, I felt more defeated and deflated. I was feeling more helpless, frustrated, and admittedly resentful. I was desperate for change, and even just the slightest bit of improvement. I had been encountering several months of difficult behavior from my son and I finally felt like my broken spirit was going to crumble any day, but as every mom understands and passionately abides by, I was never going to give up.
I was reading so many blogs, internet articles, and books to hopefully find a “solution” and learn new parenting methods to help me with his behavior; however, what resulted was the exact opposite. Everything I was reading wasn’t helping me at all, it was only making me feel worse. Why? Because I wasn’t able to carry out the practices recommended in the readings. I wasn’t able to be the mom promoted in the books.
The more I tried and failed, the worse I felt about the whole situation, and this was not making anything better, and it surely wasn’t going to help me with the challenges presented to me. One day I was reflecting about who I was as a mom, and the words I had been reading, and just like that I had an epiphany. No, I wasn’t the mom in the book, and no I wasn’t able to follow the parenting prescription recommended in the blog. I was Melissa Butcher, the mom of two miracle babies that mean everything to me! I didn’t need to be a description of a mom from the book, I needed to be me, and I needed to be the mom my son needed. While I love reading, and absolutely advocate for the place of books in self-improvement, personal development, and other life happenings, I decided to stop reading articles, blogs, and books and started digging deeper within my soul.
I realized my mothering “novel” looks like this:
- I am going to lose my patience every now and again, and that’s okay, I am human. Instead of beating myself up about it, I will recognize how I could have handled the situation better, learn from it and apologize to my children for not being patient with them and explain the importance of patience.
- No matter how good or how bad the day has been, the night will always end cuddled up reading bed time stories, saying our prayers, giving big bear hugs and a few kisses and saying “I love you!”
- I will try and respond in the way that I feel is best for my children and the situation we’re encountering. Sometimes I choose a great approach, and other times I choose a lousy one. I will aim for consistency in my approaches, but just as toddlers change daily, my way of handling situations does too…sometimes it takes a game of trial of error to find out what approach is best (for that moment, haha!)
- I will always be there to hug my son and celebrate his greatness. I will also always be there to help my children be the best versions of themselves, while learning and exhibiting respect for all things, manners, and kindness.
- I will never miss an opportunity to tell my children that I love them. I will also never miss an opportunity to remind them to use kind words and actions.
- I will sometimes say things out of frustration to my husband or friends about my son’s behavior, but no amount of frustration can conquer the almighty love I have for him. A mother loves her children so much it hurts, but that doesn’t mean her mouth doesn’t sometimes talk faster than her heart.
- I will make sure to find a point in every day to laugh and play with my children, letting them know that they are the priority and that our time together is special.
- I will help my children sort out and better understand their emotions so that they can better help me understand how they are feeling.
- I will make mistakes; there is no doubt about that, but as long as I wake up everyday trying to do my best, that is all that matters.
- I can decide to change the tune of the day at anytime. If we’ve had a hard morning, that doesn’t mean the rest of the day has to be hard. I then challenge myself to find a way to bring back the joy in the day and prompt a smile from my miracle babies.
- I can be grumpy and exhausted, and I can also give myself permission to forget about the nightly chores so that I can get in bed earlier and get a few more hours of sleep that night, making for a better next day for everyone.
- I will do and handle things with my children differently than other moms and that is perfectly okay. All that matters is that what I am doing works and is best for my family.
- I will yell sometimes and as much as I dislike this trait about me, I strive to invest more attention into ensuring quality interactions with my children, instead of beating myself up for raising my voice. As long as there is ten times more laughing, playing, and being silly in my house than yelling, I feel like I am doing okay.
I have always believed in the Beatle’s theory of “All we Need is Love” and find this to be so true in motherhood as well. My children will always know love, even if they hear more yelling or frustration than I wish they did. They will know love that comes deeply from within the heart. Love that never stops or gives up. Love that is sometimes “tough love.” Love that is unconditional. Love that continues to grow everyday. Love that (eventually) overshadows the frustrations. Love that fills my children up with hope and drive to pursue their dreams. Love that is forever!
No matter how good or bad I perceive myself as a mom for the day, the foundation of my intentions is always grounded in love. The drill sergeant that I can be is done because I want to my children to learn boundaries and manners just as the silly, goofy, sing-along mom is done because I want my children to have fun. For right now, I have decided to take a respite on reading parenting books and focus more on my theory of loving them through every situation, even if that means tough love. No article, blog, or book can give me better parenting tips than just simply loving my children and following my heart and watching and listening to my children’s cues.