My daughter was two-year-old, and I’d made plans to meet my girlfriend, Melissa, for dinner. Within minutes of having drinks delivered to our table, my beautiful little girl spilled a full glass of coke and “something” all over my side of the table where the whole drink made its way to my pants and the seat I was in.
So what did I do?
I immediately grabbed a few napkins and moved my daughter out of range of the spill and began cleaning up. When I finished, we were both wet and sticky from my drink. Our excellent waiter immediately brought me a new glass along with crayons and a coloring book. While my daughter entertained herself with her new toy, Melissa and I chatted, laughed, and shared our frustrations of having our then Navy husbands gone.
Despite the earlier splash adventure, we managed to enjoy the time we had together.
The next day Melissa called me and said she was impressed with my calmness and patience when Paige spilled my drink. “I don’t know how you do it, and I would’ve gone crazy and want to leave,” Melissa voiced to me.
Looking back on that day, all I wanted to do was run away from the restaurant and hide in a corner to question why I didn’t bring toys, even if it was just a coloring book, for my child. A good mom would have done that.
Yes, I was seriously thinking this.
In my eyes, I had failed at keeping my child distracted so she wouldn’t spill my drink. I was anything but calm at the moment.
I know I can be calm in a situation. But I fail on many occasions.
Can you relate?
Winging it as a Mom
In those moments when calmness eludes me and panic sets in, all I want to do is call or text Jeff with my aggravation. ( mind you this happened 23 years ago, there was no texting or emojis) If something like that would’ve happened now, I would’ve expressed myself on the phone or texted him with those little emojis.
But aren’t we all like that? As a mom, I will get emotional, state my reason for getting upset and look for a solution anything from grounding to something that will bring unhappy consequences.
Even today, raising two adult girls and a teenager, I’m on a wing and a prayer when it comes to motherhood and life. My take-off and landing percentage is about 50% between smooth and rocky. But in my struggles and many seasons of motherhood, I’ve learned a few things about myself:
1. Take time for yourself. Do something every day for you. When my child spills a drink, or my teenager acts out, it’s then when I go hide in my bathroom or go outside, breathe, and remind myself that this too will pass.
2. Do your best. Try not to nag yourself with thoughts of “I messed up.” I’ll give all my best in this season of my life. I also look to others for help and support because I’ve learned my best isn’t necessarily a solo job.
3. Laugh. Laugh at those spills, those arguments. I’m not perfect, and I make mistakes. There are days where I want to cry and be mad. In the end, all that stuff eventually works its self out.
I’m glad I’ve learned these things about myself as I’m constantly putting them into action. Just last week, I got upset with my son, raised my voice and threw a shoe. Don’t worry I didn’t throw anything at my teenager, but oh boy, I wanted to! It was about respect, homework, and boundaries. All the big issues that are at the forefront of raising a teenager. I was anything but calm! ( Melissa are you reading this?)
When my rage passed, – a couple hours later- I used these things I learned of walking away, telling myself I’m not perfect in the way I reacted, and eventually laughed to calm myself down.
Packed with Expectations
Although there are days when I’m calm, whether it was sitting in that restaurant many years ago or today, I still struggle as a mom:
- The expectations I put on myself.
- The comparison game I play against other mothers.
- The guilt I carry in my less-than-calm reactions.
But to hear my friend say she didn’t see me freak-out or scream gives me hope and encouragement. That maybe, I’m not a bad mom after all.
So hang on to that. Whatever season you’re traveling in remember to carry with you a bag of grace, hope, love. You might even bring a shoe or two to throw at something, not a someone. LOL!
We all fly a plane packed with mom challenges. I’d love to know what your challenges are and if you’ve been encouraged by someone. Leave a comment and let’s start a mom conversation.
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Take-off and Landings, Always, Tiffany