I was angrily folding up the stroller and tossing it in the back of the car when I heard a baby start crying.
He finally realized he didn’t have his airplane in his hands and it was a total catastrophe.
But it wasn’t his little meltdown that had me on edge.
It was my daughter and her seeming lack of any gratitude for basically anything.
I had recently done research on kids and gratitude. I knew that at her age, concepts like gratitude and being thankful just don’t quite sink the way they will when she gets a little older.
Still, I wondered whether I was raising a spoiled brat who didn’t appreciate a damn thing her dad and I have done for her.
The truth about my daughter is that yeah she is a little spoiled sometimes, but she’s also incredibly loving and sweet. She helps with her little brothers way more than necessary for a kid her age (5).
She is the kid who helped me pick out a gift for a charity Christmas tree for another little girl and also felt the need to draw like 100 pictures to include for the little girl to make her feel extra special.
Every little kid has their bratty moments, and my daughter certainly has hers, but I don’t think she’s actually any worse than most kids out there.
But tonight, it was just one of those nights that made me question my entire momlife and whether I was doing this job well or not.
After hanging at home in the morning, I took the kids to a local museum for kids that my daughter calls the “fun” museum. Then we hopped back in the car for a short drive down the road to a Christmas light show at the zoo.
The kids had lots of yummy snacks including ice cream, fries, rice crispy treats. They played, saw a show, and had by all accounts a magical night.
Except for one thing.
My daughter wanted one of those glowing, light-up toys. You know, one of those overpriced ones that spin or blinks that they sell at every kid’s event that happens at night or the dark.
The problem isn’t that I just needed to buy one for her, but my twins are old enough that if she got one, you can be damn sure they would have had a fit until they got one each too.
So I didn’t need to just get one, but three.
This is one of the hardest things about adding kids to the family. A lot of things that were no big deal when it’s just one kid are suddenly a much bigger deal.
Besides the fact that my daughter had some of these toys at home already and didn’t need one, the buying in triplicate thing just wasn’t in my budget on top of the $100 I spent that day already between gas, food, and tickets.
You’d think that after this awesome fun-filled day, my daughter would be thankful AF to her loving mother. But nope.
When I asked her if she had fun, all she could say was that she thought I wasn’t being nice to her because I said no to the light-up toy.
If I’m being honest, I’m still deep in my feelings right now on this.
I don’t blame my daughter for her feelings. That’s how kids are! Sometimes they get their little minds stuck on one thing and they just can’t quite get past it. No amount of reasoning with them really works.
But it just hit home on this feeling that no matter what I did… it wasn’t enough.
Do you ever have that feeling? Like no matter what you do it isn’t good enough? You just can’t win?
That’s how I felt. Here I had done what I thought would be a nice thing for my kids and this stupid little toy thwarted my efforts to make it a perfect day.
It was like how I spent the whole damn year planning a trip to Disney and then my daughter spent half the time complaining about walking so much. (Again I don’t blame her… she was 4 and it was a lot of walking in 90+ degree heat.)
Nothing ever quite turns out how you expect.
I’m going to nurse my wounds on this and not bypass my own feelings on it, but I’m going to make sure this doesn’t *actually* break me as a mom.
This is life.
It’s a reminder to stop expecting perfection and to just be grateful for what is.
The truth is that here I am mentally chiding my daughter because I don’t think she’s grateful enough, and did *I* take a second to feel grateful for the day?
Nope. I didn’t.
All I did was pick apart how my daughter and I both have some flaws and weren’t the best we could be.
Funny how that works.
A lot of times the lesson you feel your kids need is really the lesson YOU need the most.
So maybe this day DID break me a little, but in retrospect, it was a good break. Like how sometimes you have re-break an arm that set improperly so that it will heal in the best way possible.
Who knows. Motherhood is an art, not a science, and some works do art are a bit ugly.
The best thing to do is just keep going. Keep trying, and when in doubt just choose to love, ask for forgiveness when you screw up, and be grateful you got to be their mom for another day.
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