Have you ever felt like that you are only surviving instead of thriving? You go through the motions of waking up, making and eating breakfast, providing an activity, managing a tantrum, and cleaning up spilled milk. You know the kids need a bath. A diaper just got ripped off of one of your littles and you find yourself wondering if that is poop on your floor. You hear yourself putting kids in time out, doling out hugs and kisses, and supplying bandaids where you don’t see any cuts. You hear crying and a little more crying. Some of those cries might even be coming from you as you try to be diplomatic: “Please share that toy.” Then, not so diplomatic: “I said to share that toy!” The list goes on and on. I have felt this way more days than not lately and frankly, it’s a little overwhelming.
What do you see when you look at your day?
When I look at my day, I see wonderful fleeting moments. Then I begin to think. “Wow, that was one tiny moment out of hours spent with my children.” I think about all the failures of the day instead of the tiny success. I think about the hours spent preparing those adorable crafts and activities for our week and how so often they are not “Pinterest perfect.” I think about the trips to the store where you leave your cart right where it is because suddenly all three kiddos are in tears and you just need an escape route. Those, and the many other moments make me feel like all we did for the day was survive the day. But here’s the thing: I want to thrive!
As mothers, we are often hard on ourselves and I mean really hard on ourselves. We judge ourselves so much that we get bogged down in the negative instead of celebrating in the positive. But, I recently learned that what I often see as failure can be the most exciting part of my little’s day.
What do they see when they look at their day?
It has become a tradition of ours at dinner to ask our oldest daughter about her favorite part of the day. She often surprises me with picking out the moments that I tend to think of as the messiest most stressful parts of my day. A recent example of this kind of “beautiful chaos” in her tiny mind would be when we were reading her favorite book, “Thelma the Unicorn.” We were sitting on the floor with her one-year-old twin siblings reading when the phone rang. I paused to answer it and, before I knew it, the twins were ripping pages from her precious book and my daughter was hysterical.
It was mass chaos and one of those survival moments. Quickly, I retrieved the book, gave my twins something less destructible to play with, scooped up my teary eyed three year old, and began taping together the pieces of her book. What a mess! This was a mom-fail moment, for sure.
At dinner, I asked E. what her favorite part of her day was. She said, “Mama, you are a good fixer. My love you.” I said, “What do you mean?” She then proceeded to tell me, “You fix my favorite book today and not let babies take it.” Suddenly I realized that she didn’t see her book as being a total loss. My sweet girl viewed what I thought was a moment of failure as me being her HERO! When I thought I had let her down by allowing her siblings to rip apart her prized possession, she actually saw me rescuing her.
Give yourself a break
The moral of my story is that what we as mothers often see as insanity, chaos, and tears, is seen as heroism, love, and compassion by our kids. Our “failure” moments may lead to great mama moments through the eyes of our children. So, give yourself a break, look for the small joys, and talk to your kiddos about their day. It might just surprise you what they find to be really great and how AMAZING you really are!