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My kids are driving me crazy. How can a single 3-year old have such power over me??!! How does she get right in there under my skin? And under my feet? How does the day start so fresh and yet end up in a tangle of emotions – delight twisted with frustration and patience entwined with exasperation?
After a busy day with the girls, I always look forward to some evening quiet time with my husband. In my mind, the scenario looks like this: the “chicklets” are sound asleep in La-la Land, there's a hot cup of tea waiting for me on the coffee table, and there's Joe, sitting on the couch ready to chit chat and unwind the day together. Doesn't that sound wonderful? Peaceful? Relaxing? And it is. However, I still haven't figured out how to stay awake past those first 5 minutes once I hit the couch! In reality, the scenario all too often looks more like this: I awake an hour later to find Joe gently stirring me, turning off the lights, and helping me get upstairs to bed. There's my tea, stone-cold, on the coffee table.
What I don't understand, though, is how I can be this exhausted at the end of the day. What's a little laundry, a few dishes, some cooking? Sure I've lugged the girls in and out of the car a few times to get some groceries, the mail and a couple of stamps, but it’s nothing I'm not used to by now. So where does this state of tiredness come in?
The physical demands in my life are relatively insignificant (although, come to think of it, Megan does weigh close to 30 pounds and still needs some carrying here and there. You try that and then tell me it's not a workout!). I am seeing more and more clearly that, while the end result may be physical weariness, the main contributing factor to my evening collapse is the emotional tug of war that carries on throughout the day. So often, I go through a series of emotional ups and downs, joy followed by annoyance, forbearance slowly unraveling into aggravation.
Like any other mom, I absolutely adore my children and am deeply grateful for the gifts that they are to our family. I desire my chicklets to be happy girls, have a happy childhood and go on to lead satisfying adult lives. In order to see these things unfold in their future, however, a great deal of emotional energy is required in the present while they are developing their character, their attitudes and their moral foundation. While I have this bigger picture in mind for my daughters, it does not exempt me from getting entangled emotionally when it comes to the everyday issues of teaching and discipline, giving guidance and direction. Every day, I experience the same roller coaster of emotions: one minute delighting in a new discovery, the next instant dealing with the tears of a sensitive 3-year old who can't find her beloved puppy. One minute I’m giving a triumphant high five for a great attitude; the next minute I’m marching her into the corner to discipline a rebellious heart. Just when I think we've reached a milestone in an attitude or behavior, we have another episode and take a few steps backwards in our progress. My mind tells me she should know better by now…
AHHHHHHH!!! Frustrating? You bet! "How many times do I have to tell you…?”