Last night I sat at the dinner table worn, exhausted, contemplating my effectiveness as a mom.
An hour earlier I had been kneeling in the rain on the edge of a busy sidewalk as dozens of people walked by. I was clinging to my four year old and using every tool in both my mom and counselor arsenals to get him to calm down and talk to me about what he was feeling rather than screaming. He was not a good listener in his occupational therapy appointment and did not receive the prized lollipop from the therapist – the lollipop that he had been talking about since before we got there. He ran out of the appointment and down the busy sidewalk, angry and stubborn as only an extremely strong-willed 4 year old can be. I was the crazy woman running down the sidewalk after him, frustrated and in love with this wild child, afraid for his safety, and embarrassed by his actions.
And now here we were on the sidewalk, rain pouring down. Here I was trying to rationalize with a child who at this point was definitely not in a rational state of mind. I pulled out my cell phone to call my husband to pick us up. There was no way a taxi was going to pick up this soaking wet pair of mom and screaming child.
He ran again, down the sidewalk and around the corner. A stranger blocked his way to allow the frantic, running mom shouting “stop” to catch up. The rain came harder. I held him in my arms. I told him I loved him, but we had to find another way to handle this.
We hunched under the awning next to a hairdresser’s shop. Little by little he started to calm down, all while still begging for his lollipop. He rationally understood why he did not earn it, but oh how he wanted it. The rain poured harder. A kind mother inside the shop knocked on the window and told us to come inside. We called Dad again to tell him we were okay. After all, I frantically hung up on him the last time we both went running. He talked to his dad and gradually calmed down some more.
Eventually we climbed into our taxi and made our way home. He fell asleep in my lap in the car, sweet and peaceful; a totally different child than he had been 30 minutes earlier.
And now here I was at the dinner table sitting next to my 6 year old.
“Mommy why do you look so sad?”
“Your brother made some bad choice tonight and wasn’t a good listener. Sometimes when he behaves that way I feel like I am not doing a good job as mom.”
“When we misbehave and don’t listen you feel like a bad mom?”
He contemplated this deep within his 6 year old self and patted my arm in reassurance.
After the boys were in bed I hunched over the toilet getting rid of most of the dinner I had eaten. Apparently my third child, still in the womb, needed to get in on the evening’s action.
I laid in bed and I prayed. I prayed that I would learn how to parent each of my children individually and love them well. I prayed for stamina, wisdom and strength. I snuck in a few prayers that this third baby would be more relaxed and a little less strong-willed than my second child.
This is my life. This is motherhood – the highs and the lows and all the in between days. It’s not for the weak.