“It’s been a challenging day,” I step into my husband’s arms for a comforting hug, my words both an explanation and a warning.
It’s been a challenging day has become our code for the periods when Big Dude is feeling big feelings, all our requests are met with an argument, every slight is magnified, and every thought is shared out loud for everyone to hear. It’s been a challenging day is our code for we both have to be on our parenting game, that we need to give each other regular breaks, and that we need to be extra mindful in every interaction.
It’s when I pull out every tool in my parenting tool box and still feel like I end up yelling too often. It’s when I crawl into bed as soon as I finish their stories and songs because I am beyond exhausted and I have to be ready to do it all over again tomorrow. It’s when I watch the same movie four times in a week because I can’t possibly handle anything new.
It’s when I feel like a failure. When self-doubt creeps into my mind and I wonder if I’m doing it right and worry about what it means for Big Dude if I’m just messing it all up. I worry and wonder and second-guess because there is no instruction manual and what worked yesterday is a disaster today.
It’s when I’m thankful, oh so thankful, that I have a village. My compassionate, loving and empathic village that holds me steady during these challenging days. They don’t tell me lies but they make me see the truth – I’m doing the best I can do and no one loves him more. That has to be enough and they make sure that I believe it.
So if you overhear Big Dude being rude to me and I just let it go, it’s been a challenging day. If my voice is sharp and you think I am overreacting, it’s been a challenging day. If I cancel on our plans but then post about taking the boys to a movie, it’s been a challenging day. And when I look exhausted, I am exhausted because it’s been a challenging day.
And if you are having a challenging day, just know I’m out here having one too. And maybe, tomorrow will be better but if not we can look at each other, smile and say, “It’s been a challenging day.”
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