I made Beatrice cry yesterday. I was rushing to get out the door and had a diaper bag, purse, bag of toys and Beatrice balanced in my arms while I was frantically trying to locate my cell phone. If you ever want to see me lose my cool, come over when I'm trying to leave the house with Beatrice and no help. I always end up dropping half of my load and talking out loud to myself about how unfair it is to carry all of my crap without help. It's not a pretty sight. And it happens all of the time. She was super clingy and every time I set her down, she whined and cried for me to pick her back up. Finally with moments before I was going to be late for an appointment, I set her down and said, "Beatrice, you're going to have to deal with it while Mommy finds her phone." Except I didn't say it very nicely. I said it kind of frustrated. She bawled. It broke her heart. Not only did I put her down, but I yelled too. I felt horrible and immediately picked her up and hugged her. She was fine, I found my phone (it was in my purse the whole time), but I beat myself up all day about it.
I know that there will be moments where I lose my cool. I can't be patient all of the time, despite my best efforts. But I am prone to lose it in really dumb situations. This is not how I want to teach my daughter to be. And the way that I act shapes her perspective on women, wives, and mothers. I am her first example of all of those things and if I overreact, I am teaching her that it is normal to do so. Plus, if I overreact at really small things, she is sure to expect me to overreact at really big stuff too. There is a pastor at our church that has counseled with us a few times who gave some really great advice. He said to not freak out about things. If she falls down and gets hurt, don't freak. Deal with it calmly so she comes to expect that from you because one day, there may be a boy who is pressuring her to do more than she's ready to do or a friend who is offering her drugs. If she thinks that we're going to freak out, she won't come to us. We need to be relaxed and even keeled so she can expect that we are not going to lose our cool when it comes to the really big things in her life. I like this advice. I have failed at this advice.
I have also come to realize that Beatrice is very sensitive. She cries when I take too long to get her up from her nap. She cries when she falls. She cries when I take her milkies away. She wants to nurse ALL THE TIME. She cries when she can't figure out how to build a block tower higher than 4 blocks tall. She is sensitive and I need to remember this when dealing with her. This is her little personality and instead of ignoring it, I need to nurture it.
So here I am once again saying how I want to be different and how I want to be a better mother. I am not discouraged though because just as I remind myself every time I load us up to go somewhere without any help, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13. I don't have to go it alone. I can be the kind of mother that I strive to be with His help. And hopefully I won't make Beatrice cry anymore along the way. No one wants to be a mean mommy.