I had a bunch of activities planned. Birthday waffles, a trip to their favorite playground, a new soccer class for Benjamin (almost 4), a playdate with our friends, and then a picnic lunch with birthday doughnuts.
I started the day optimistic and happy after a great 6am training session in my garage with some amazing women. I was ready to hit the day with the boys and enjoy the nice weather and the special occasion!
Here's how it went down...
- I set the boys up with a show so I could shower and dress like a normal human being (a delicacy in the life of a trainer) only to emerge from the bathroom to find Nate standing on my dresser and Ben climbing on my hamper reaching for a bottle of vitamins.
- I organized a "garage" of cars and trucks under the dining room table to entertain them as I packed for the morning, a task which ended up taking 5x as long since I had to stop every 30 seconds to break up the constant wrestling matches.
- Benjamin resisted joining in the soccer class, clinging to my shirt as if I were leaving him for a week
- Nate wanted to be on the field with the big kids, so I did my best bear hug restraint for about 30 minutes straight
- Both boys soaked themselves in a water fountain and we ended up leaving the event early as I had to follow through on my "last warning or else we have to leave!"
Driving home, I felt defeated, frustrated, exhausted and powerless. "How did this morning go down like this?" "How did I lose my cool?" "Am I even a good mom?" "Are my kids being judged?" "Am I being judged?" "Am I messing them up?". Let the hurricane-brain ensue.
Wasn't it just last week that my husband and I were sitting together drinking coffee, watching the kids play quietly and talking about how amazingly behaved they've been? That's the funny thing about parenting....you can't say out loud how wonderful things are going so as to stir up the universe. ;)
Parenting calls for us to be flexible, resilient and being prepared for the proverbial sh*t to hit the fan. Sometimes we navigate it with grace and precision, other times we fail HARD and feel powerless. I think the biggest mistake we make as parents is to let one tough day, one morning even, make us feel like we're failing. We let our mistakes, and short moments in time where we were anything but our best, take away our power as the amazing caregivers and women we really are, doing our best to give our kids the best.
I think it's only natural for us to project out and imagine that the kid that's throwing rocks at the playground may turn into a dangerous teen getting into fights outside school, or, that our shy child will become an outcast and have a hard time making connections in their life. We want so much for our children, more than what we had, and we can tend to exaggerate the small things. We are also bound to have moments where we feel anything but powerful.
Here's the thing, though, feeling powerful isn't a full-time job. We are going to have times where we feel that we've stepped OUT of our power and lost our resolve. In those times, after mornings like this morning, I try to remind myself of this...
"I don't aim to be perfect. I only aim to be fearless and resilient with myself" - Unknown
As fate would have it, in my first free moment to myself today I opened my email to find a note from our Doula wishing us a Happy Birthday, reminding me how strong and powerful I was on this day, two years ago as our Nathan Charlie came into this world. After a 15 hour labor and enduring what our midwife deemed a "gladiator birth", Nathan arrived via a natural VBAC. It was life-changing.
I remember how invincible and strong I felt that day. I had never felt more in my power. My body had been through the ringer and my mind had endured it's greatest challenge to date. It was excruciating, exhausting, beautiful and awe-inspiring.
Today, I remember that day, when I felt in the fullness of my power. And, I give myself permission to feel not so powerful in this moment. It's all good. I hope you give yourself that permission as well.