I cried this morning.
I cried because of an interaction I had with my 5 year old daughter.
I was getting her out the door to school, and asked if she would carry a bag down to the car. She flat out refused. In fact she yelled "NO!" and turned her back to me.
So I picked up the bag and walked down the stairs with an energy of anger and frustration (that she definitely picked up on). Eventually she caught up to me and put her little hand in mine, clearly remorseful.
When I got back into my house, I took a breath and realized what had happened. I thought about how common it is for her to yell right now. How common it is for her to be angry. How common it is for her to say "no" and resist. She just turned five this weekend and she just started school a few weeks ago. This has been a big adjustment for her. Many days she comes home saying she doesn't like going to school...and I haven’t known what to say.
This morning as I asked myself "Why am I so quick to anger and frustration?" I realized, it’s because I fear I am a bad parent. I see her yelling as a sign that I have done something wrong. I see here dislike of school as being something I have done wrong. I see her unwillingness to help as being something I have done wrong. Essentially, I get irritated because I have made her emotions all about me.
I cried this morning because I realized her emotions don't have to do with me. My daughter is five and she is adjusting to her new world, and all she really needs is compassion and love instead of judgment.
Reflecting on this moment with my daughter made me think how I am teaching her to stuff her emotions rather than express them. When she sees I am frustrated she learns not to express herself. She learns...it's all her fault.
In the same way, we as adults have learned to not express our emotions. We try to make everyone else happy and often sit in self-judgement, rather than compassion.
What I have learned is that being a working mom is not easy and it comes with lots of emotions. Some happy, and lots that are hard.
It’s hard to leave your kids every day to go to work.
It’s hard to feel like you are missing out on all the "firsts".
It’s hard to be "ON" 18 hours a day.
It’s hard to be constantly needed and wanted by everyone around you.
It’s hard not having time for yourself.
It’s OK to feel hard (negative) emotions. It’s OK to express all of the emotions that come with being a working mom. You’re not alone. You’re not broken.
My advice...do what I did this morning, practice self-compassion (cry if needed) and let yourself feel the hard emotions.
Because it doesn't mean you are not a good mom...it simply means you are human.
Embrace your humanness.
I cried this morning.