If you follow my posts, you'll notice a bit of a common thread: I think I'm doing a real shit job most of the time. I deal with a lot of mom guilt, that's probably my go-to emotional state. I feel guilty about EVERYTHING. I don't forgive myself easily and I have a hard time getting over the "bad". If this were a movie, we would cut back to the scenes from two years ago where I was at my wits' end with my first son and throwing him into his bed 4-5 times a day because of his insane tantrums, and then crying for hours about it because I was sure I was doing psychological damage to him in the process (it was a nightmare I hope to forget one day, but probably never will. Let's see how he turns out weeee!!!!!)
Anyhoo, fast forward to now. Guess what? Son #2 is the same age now as the first was when he went through the "go f*#^ yourself ma" phase. And while my second born is naturally a pretty carefree, happy and easy-to-manage guy, well, you can't have all the wins can you. Jesus let's be real hear, momming is never really about wins is it? I think the word is wine? Just replace wins with wine? Or in my case, I'll take a freezing cold beer. It's summer guys.
Ladies and gents we had our first toddler-sized REAL tantrum last week and I'm still thinking about it. HOWEVER. Guess what? I'm not still feeling GUILTY about it (hooray!). I'm still doing the learning from it, but for the love of God, I guess the mom guilt eases up the more parenting experiences you have? I guess it's because maybe I am a little bit better at this game than I was when my first kid went through this phase that I feel significantly less guilty and shitty about the whole scenario than I did with my first.
This time around with this kid (because he is just in general a big boy and is super strong), I just can't give him ANY leeway during a tantrum. He's big, he's a biter, and a scratcher. He's not great with his words so when it's game over, it's game over. I have to hold him across the front of my body in a way that his little mouth can't gouge into an extremity, hold his arms down and hope to God no one sees.
Only during this lovely 45-minute go-round, I was in transit. So yep, EVERYONE saw. Started at my father-in-law's, there was no staying there during the craziness (I know that I need to be in my own environment to not lose it on everyone in the process of calming my guys down), and ended with wee man in his bed at home (with the windows open because it was 32 degrees), screaming at the top of his lungs. But I did it right this time. I held my ground even though it killed me to be so harsh. I put him in his room, told him to chill out, he can't have everything he wants, closed the door, and let him freak.
While I washed actual blood off my arms from his scratching, had a quick rinse because I was sweating from the wrangling, and wiped my tears while pouring a beer.
I felt awful about the whole thing, from having to really restrain him to having to raise my voice both in the privacy of our home AND in public, I felt bad on his behalf for having to keep saying no (he just really didn't want to leave grandpa's), And I also felt bad that all the neighbours around now know what my parenting my toddler in his worst (and my worst) moments looks like.
But you know what? I had plans to have a drink with a friend later on that evening. And yeah, I felt shitty and I was like "oh, here we go again, it's time for this phase again!" but I'm much more well-armed for this stuff now. I have people around me who can relate, a great support network and people to "wine" with, and I shut that crap down earlier now, so that it doesn't ruin whole days.
I felt bad for an entire 5 hours that we had our first real big blowout. That's way better than the days I used to spend thinking "did I do it right? man I suck why can't I get it right". No this time it was "sorry bud, no means no sometimes. I love you, but no".
This is what momming is sometimes - just getting through it. And the knowledge that I still really don't have all the answers and that's ok, is front and centre. It helps me to get over the humps to remember: being a mom is all about wiping off the blood, sweat and tears and moving on.