Sunday, 7 August 2016

Tonight I Got Mad at My Daughter

Tonight I got frustrated with my daughter. Yes, it is possible to get angry with a three month old baby. I had just gotten her to sleep, set her carefully in her swing and then sat down to actually watch a movie that I had been wanting to see for months. 

As usual, it was short lived. 

About half an hour into the movie, I looked over and saw big blue OPEN eyes staring back at me. I began to shush. I began to pray that she might just lull herself back to sleep. I even thought if I just avoided eye contact she might get bored and think that sleeping might be the best way to spend her time (I mean, if you were bored this is what you would do, right?). 

No. Just no. 

For any moms out there you know what is coming next. She began to fuss, then grumble a bit and in true Kenzie fashion she took off from zero to 100 in an all out wail. 

I knew she wanted to sleep but I also knew she wanted me to assist her in the process. Brandon had gone to bed after getting up in the wee hours of the morning and driving all day home from New York and so I was the only bouncing option. 

But right then? I didn't want to hold her. I didn't want to bounce and shush. I wanted to continue to sit, eat chips and enjoy my movie. 

Of course I didn't do this. I picked her up. I bounced. I moved. I stuck a soother in her mouth to try to get her little body to relax all while trying to strain to hear the movie and keep up with where the story was going. 

And then? I got mad. I mean, I didn't do anything differently. I kept rocking and walking. I kept swaying and shushing. But inside I was frustrated, angry even that I couldn't even have a couple hours to myself to relax and do whatever I wanted to do. 

After about 10 minutes she fell asleep. A deep, mouth hanging open, rhythmic breathing sort of sleep. I could feel her little body snuggled against me, safe and secure. 

And in that moment I realized that she truly and deeply needed me. I realized that I was in the wrong, that she was not trying to interrupt my movie or bother me. She wasn't awake on purpose. She was simply looking for her mama to comfort her. 

I also realized that as her mom I am only human. I am going to feel angry, frustrated and annoyed. I am also going to feel joy, love and pride. Really, I am going to feel A LOT of different things - and that's okay! Often, too often, we can beat ourselves up for our emotions. We can feel guilty for how we feel (mom guilt is SO real). Nothing can really prepare you for the sacrifice that comes with being a mom. There are times when you desperately want a break, to only focus on yourself and there are times when you really need to take that break! There are times when you feel annoyed. It is all there, and it's all real. And honestly? It is all okay. 

It is not the feeling that determines what we do. The feeling is just that, a feeling. It is what we choose to do with the feeling that really matters. And when we make bad choices? Then it is about how we recover, how we apologize and how we humble ourselves that really count. 

So yes, I felt frustrated with my little girl tonight. But I kept loving her, I kept bouncing her, I kept doing exactly what she hoped and expected me to do at the expense of everything else. I chose her even when I didn't want to. And when she fell so soundly asleep? It was one of those moments I will treasure and hold onto. In that moment I felt joy, contentment and gratitude. 

We are allowed to feel, even as moms. And when we give ourselves the grace and space to do that you might just notice that eventually the feelings change, they move, and they adjust. 

Sometimes I need the reminder that a day will come too quickly when she's a little more independent, a little more capable and a little more willing to do things on her own. And on those nights when I'm sitting and watching a movie uninterrupted? Those are the times I might just wish I could rock my baby girl to sleep and hold her up against my chest. But even when I think about this, I can't feel guilt, I can only recognize that I have choices that I can make next time - because there will definitely be a next time (probably tonight!). 

The sacrifice is great but the love is greater. Motherhood is an adventure, one the is experienced, tested and learned. Just as I anticipated, she is turning out to be my greatest teacher - and we are really just beginning. 

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