Thursday, January 31, 2013

That's a Hard Question


This morning was not one of my better parenting moments.  The two-hour delay at school made things start out fine, but the two year old throwing a colossal tantrum over not being able to wear pajamas to daycare resulted in my throwing my own adult tantrum as well. 

In the midst of these adult tantrums, I always seem to have an out of body experience.  It’s like I can see and hear myself behaving badly,  yet not be able to stop and calm down.  My rational brain kicks in, and seems to shout: “Okay Karah, it’s time to grow up.  Who is the two year old in this situation?”  And sometimes, it’s probably hard to tell.

At any rate, we eventually left the house.  Charlie won the battle.  He’s in jammies today—I’m not happy about it, mostly because I feel like I gave in to his ultra-tantrum.  However, when the temperature is -7, I thought it would be an even greater parenting flaw to let him leave the house in his skivvies.

As we pulled into the daycare driveway, I turned around an apologized to C.  I told him that I was sorry for being mad and using my loud voice.  I told him that I didn’t mean to scare him.  I also told him that I was just a little sad because it’s so fun to have a big boy but it’s hard when my big boy acts like a baby.  Then I looked at him and asked him if he’s a big boy or a baby.  He frowned, cocked his head a little, and stared at me.  I repeated the question.
He looked at me and said, “I’m thinking.” 
            “You’re thinking?” I asked?  “Don’t you know if you’re a big boy or a baby?”
He looked at me with his huge blue eyes and tear-streaked face and answered so sincerely, “That’s a hard question for me.”

And once again, my toddler, with his sweet sincerity and honesty stopped me in my tracks.  You’re right Charlie, it is a hard question.  You're torn between two worlds right now.  You're learning and practicing coping skills, but they don't come easily.  You're learning and practicing independent care skills, but they also don't come easily.  You want to do things on your own, yet you want me right there by your side.  I get it.  But I needed the reminder.  And you know what?  It’s a hard question for me too, buddy.  

Am I a selfless, caring, sacrificing mother and wife or am I a selfish, indulgent, spontaneous college student?  Somedays, I honestly don’t know. I can’t decide.  I kind of want to be both (but a more grown up and classy and tactful version of that college student)—having the freedom to make easy choices but yet allowing someone else the honor of making the hard ones.

As a grown up, I'm supposed to have decent coping skills but I still lose my temper.  I'm supposed to know the answers to things, but I find myself questioning and confused.  I'm supposed to be good at waiting and have skills in being patient, yet I find myself always anticipating that next phase.  Technically, I've been an adult for 17 years... but I still don't feel grown up.   Because being a grown up is hard.  It's filled with hard decisions that affect other lives.  It’s filled with logistical and financial challenges that affect other lives.  It’s filled with choices and gambles that affect our lives.  So when I think about that question, “Am I a child-like girl or a grown-up woman?” I honestly have to agree with Charlie and say, “That’s a really hard question for me.”     

1 comment:

  1. yes, I really needed this one, I need to read it once a day! Thanks again for your transparency and reminding me of my tantrums. So good, great stuff!

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