When I was still fairly new to blogging, I got an email from a like minded Catholic mama who had found my blog and instantly knew we had a lot in common. I was pregnant with Lucia at the time and her daughter was about eight months if I remember correctly. Kaylene and I instantly struck up a friendship through emails back and forth and she has been such a strong support system for me. It's hard to believe that she has since had her second child and Lucia is now 16 months (when we first struck up our conversation, I was convinced I was having a boy!). I've never met her in person, but I dream of someday taking a weekend visit to see her and meet her wonderful family.
Anyway, enough gushy friend talk (I'm tearing up). Kaylene previously wrote guest posts for my On Marrying Young and Baby on a Budget series <<< definitely check those posts out, they are must reads and some of the most popular guest posts on my blog to date. Today she's sharing an important lesson about parenting and faith discovered within the difficult daily moments.
I have been promising Mandi a guest post for quite some time now, and I've started and stopped several posts. I used to write for the mom-o-sphere on my blog, Letters from Momma, but last Fall decided I really just needed to write for myself... so with such a big platform here at Messy Wife, Blessed Life, I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to share with you all.
Then the past two hours happened. And suddenly, I had something to share. A bit of a personal story, with some advice to young moms, new moms, moms of two, moms of more, there's something for all of you in this.
A bit of back ground--we started official potty training (no more diapers, at all, ever) this past Saturday. It's not going so hot. My daughter has learned to hold it, and she can hold it like a race car driver. She just can't let it go. She screams and cries and whines and stomps around. She hasn't figured out how to release the muscle, I guess. I'm not a doctor. Anyways, so she holds it and it hurts, and she complains that it's tight. I hug her, I distract her, I tell her it'll feel better when she goes, I try everything possible to get her to go... painting toe nails, playing with toys, looking at pictures, watching TV, eating, drinking, reading, telling stories, singing songs, bribing. Praying. The list goes on.
I also have a 3.5 month old. That's a really tough age, in my opinion. He's still new to the world, but so aware of it. He's learning new skills and fights sleep, but he still gets tired and fussy if he doesn't nap every 2 hours or so.
I have been a SAHM to two for months now, and in some ways it gets easier but in many other ways it seems to only get harder. There are many days I seem to loose my cool, at least internally. Things get to me, I get stressed out. It's hard. I thought being a SAHM to my daughter was hard--try adding another one! Don't get me wrong--I'm absolutely glad I get to stay home, and I love it. But let's get real. It's no walk in the park sometimes. Tough days at the office happen to everyone, even those of us whose office is the home.
Today was one of those days. I've got my daughter screaming because she can't get the pee out. My son screaming because he wants to nurse to sleep--something I'm really trying to avoid, so that he learns to sleep without being dependent on me. I have to go back and forth between soothing each of them. No body wins.
Yesterday was a very similar day. Yesterday, I lost my mind. I let it get to me. I wasn't nearly as patient as I needed to be. I went to bed determined to make today better. I refocused my energy into positivity. I prayed. A lot. I reminded myself how lucky I am.
I was calm and patient with my daughter's potty woes. I was relaxed and gentle with my son and his fussing. During one of my trips into my son's room to calm him down and reassure him that he could go to sleep, my daughter got quiet. Too quiet. Through my son's cries I heard that horrific sound every potty training mom knows....a drizzle on the carpet. I knew that the past hour that I had spent trying to help her go potty finally paid off, but I wasn't even there to witness it... I laid my son down and went to attend to my daughter, assuming she had peed outside his door waiting for me. Oh it was so much worse. It was in a line from his door to my bathroom in my room, where her potty was sitting. Empty. I wanted to scream. I mean, I'm glad she felt better, but man o man I was livid. I reminded myself that it wasn't her intention to make me mad, thanked God for my beautiful kids, and cleaned everything up. I got her down for a nap, nursed my son to sleep, and ate some yogurt. And a few jelly beans.
I learned a valuable lesson, yet again, from my kids. I really am not in control. I never will be in control. I can't force them to do anything. I can't make my son sleep any more than I can make my daughter use the potty. When they are older, I won't be able to make them go to church or make them eat their vegetables. They have to make decisions on their own, learn from their own mistakes, and just trust that God will help me through the even harder situations with them. As Christian moms, we know that God is in control of our life...but we have to step back and realize that we aren't in control of our kids' lives either. They were His first, and we've just been entrusted with their care.