Thursday, February 13, 2014

Welcome to Groundhog Day

When my first was born, one of my closest friends, who had a head start on parenthood by about 4 years, came to my house to visit me. First thing she did was to swoop Mr. T out of my arms and give me a needed moment to breathe. Immediately T started crying, and exhausted, I slowly started to get up and grab him from her, but she put up her hand and told me to sit. She then expertly, shushed and patted him within an inch of his life until he quieted from her dance-like of moves. I fell back into the couch, she looked at me and said,

"So, welcome to Groundhog Day!"

As I was a new mom, I couldn't begin to understand what that meant. I mean, to me, it was a new moment every freakin' minute, and I had no idea what to do with any of it. All he had to do was to breathe the wrong way, and I would dive into the all-knowing baby books while my mind set to spiraling down the rabbit hole. If he did anything that seemed, well, un-baby-like, I'd check WebMD, and as we all know, if you look far enough, all roads lead to cancer. So, the idea that every day could be the same completely befuddled me.

Since then, after child number two and with some parenting experience under my belt, I have passed those same sentiments on to new mom friends of mine only to be greeted with the same "What the hell are you talking about?" gaze.

Life with a two small children is just exactly that. Each day consists of getting up, dressing them, making food, cleaning up, putting boots on, going to school, going to activities, laundry, feeding the dog, working, picking up from school, hanging up coats, longing for the 5 o'clock hour to deliver my glass of wine, bath time, bedtime (oy, the bedtime routine is enough to put anyone in the looney bin), and on and on it goes. And that's just one day. The weeks have a repetition to them too.

But, today, I had a "bad mom" day. I yelled in the morning, I apologized for yelling, I yelled at night, I didn't apologize, I gave them both "the eye" which was really just a passive-aggressive way to make them feel bad, and I cried during his swimming lesson feeling like I was once again providing material for their therapy for years to come. (I'll have to offer to pay for that.)

Then my daughter had a nightmare, and I was able to hold her while she settled back into a peaceful slumber, and I vowed to be better, act better, be a better role model for conflict resolution, and stop letting the little things piss me off.

It was then, in that moment, that I thanked God for "Groundhog Day", because tomorrow gives me another opportunity to right my wrongs, do better, and overall have a do-over. I'm not saying that it's okay to lose my shit, but I did, and to wallow in self-hatred for my behavior doesn't serve me or my kids. The truth is that every time I have a day like today, I reflect and make a plan to make the next day more successful than the last.

I've never learned and changed from my behavior more than I do for my kids.

I've never wanted to be a better person more in my life than I do each day for my kids.