You’re Not Your Worst Day
Today, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was ready to run away, abort mission, quit the game without hitting save. I felt like I was not cut out to be Henry’s mother, I felt unsuited, unsure about every decision I had made since he was born and like a total disappointment to him.
It started with the lack of sleep we had all been getting over the past few nights. We were quite confident he was dealing with erupting molars, constantly chewing his sleeves and salivating heavily. We had been giving him medication but trying to give him a few nights break in between. Obviously, we were regretting this at 1 am on Thursday morning. We were grumpy, and over it. It was not a great launch pad into the day.
I woke up on Thursday morning at around 8am. Josh had taken Henry for the morning, selflessly, as he was up longer than me. He knew I was battling an ongoing headache and still feeling the physical and hormonal aches and pains of my body transitioning from being pregnant to not pregnant. I got up, and Josh took Henry out to get a takeaway coffee and a hash brown, which I majorly appreciated. Henry toddled in with a grin holding the paper bag of hash browns and life was better again.
Nap time came around and I was still in no head space for a cot battle. A week ago, Henry had no issues putting himself to sleep with some gentle pats and did not fight going down at all. This week was a different story. I decided to put him to sleep on our bed where he may feel more cosy and where I could give him a cuddle to sleep. He drifted off quite easily, but I could tell he was still sore. I made lunch expecting a good hour at least from him. He woke half an hour later screaming and inconsolable, still looking tired and bothered. I tried The Wiggles, a popular commodity, and food, but he still was not convinced. He had calmed down slightly, so I took him out to pick out a few Mother’s Day gifts from the local shopping centre. We got home and went for a walk as a family where he was swinging between patting each dog that walked past and reaching out for us to carry him, complete with crying. We made the most of it and he ping ponged between enjoying piggybacks, walking hide-and-seek and hand holding swings across the cracks in the pavement.
We get home at 5 and it on – all out crying and just in a terrible mood. Josh is scrambling (with style) to get our dinner cooked and served so we could feed him, bath him and then get him straight to bed. We blew bubbles in the bath, but he hated getting his face washed. We found him a snuggly spot on the lounge so he could comfortably have his milk, but he cried because we did not bring it fast enough and then threw it at us when we did bring it to him.
It was safe to say the minute I walked out of his room after putting him down, (he didn’t put up a fight, thankfully!) I literally felt like two bricks were lifted from my shoulders. I was glad he was taken care of for at least a few hours. I was glad I could breathe, and it was the first time all day I had noticed my headache was gone. I felt relieved he was in a room that I was not in. I felt relieved that he was not looking at me with glassy eyes anymore, and that he was resting.
Those last two sentences were hard to type but the absolute truth in that moment. I felt terribly for even thinking it. I felt like the biggest let down. I felt like I was not strong enough for this, and why would God bless me with another child if I can’t even handle one? I felt unworthy, unfit and terrible at being a mother. As much as these thoughts felt very real to me in the moment, I had to make decision. It was an important choice, and the only person who could make it was me. I had to choose to shift my focus, and to turn my back on the lies I was just fed.
I was not a let down. Dealing with a sick or moody toddler is not an easy task, but we tried our hardest all day to make him happy. This was something to be proud of.
I was totally strong enough for this. I believe we were carefully chosen to parent Henry, and even though we were presented with a tough scenario, it does not mean that we weren’t strong enough. We were just being challenged, worked and stretched to build resilience and experience.
Bad days do not make us unworthy of anything. Bad days happen because we are human, and we are taking care of mini humans. Not everything will go to plan and everyday can be so different. Bad days have no bearing on our parenting or make ineligible for any future children.
I deserve to be proud, and I am doing my best. My identity is not my worst day as a mother. It is reflected in the qualities I have that make me the woman and mother I am, even in the midst of the hard.
Girls, these are truths. You are not your worst day. You are not your worst season. Even if the lie sounds more convincing than the truth, step away from the net. Come back to the shore. If you have felt like you are a royal screw up or a failure lately, do not trust that flaky feeling. You and your kiddo are both trying your hardest, and some days have a darker tone than others. It doesn’t change you as a person and it doesn’t make your little one the devil.
There are going to be more hard days, of course. We have four molars left. We are yet to toilet train. He has just learnt how to say no. All these things are coming but we also have some beautiful days coming. We will be allowed to go to parks again soon. He is starting to enjoy colouring. He is becoming more and more affectionate with each day that passes, and I can just imagine the type of man we are raising. These things are where the beauty is going to happen, and I refuse to miss it.