This morning I wanted to take a shower. A hot shower. Alone. Blissfully alone, for 10 or so minutes. Just me and the water and the warmth.
Alas, it was not to be. The moment I climbed in the three-year-old suddenly realized I was gone. I'd expect Becky to whine for me, but Reuben? Really?
He made his way into the bathroom. “Mommy. I want Mommy.” He said, and demanded to get into the shower with me. I told him I'd be right out and to please go wait downstairs with daddy. I tried to tell him daddy needed a hug, daddy needed help making his breakfast, Becky missed him, his toys needed him, mommy wanted to be alone, please just wait a few minutes...
He started to whine and after a few seconds his whine turned into a full blown crying tantrum for mommy.
My relaxing shower was not only accosted by a toddler—it was a sobbing, wretched toddler who demanded he needed mommy that interrupted my hair washing and toe cleaning.
I finally got him to go downstairs where he was apparently so upset to be without mommy for two more minutes he threw up. When I dressed 3 minutes later, Becky was crying in the play house where she had been put to keep away from Reuben's mess, and Reuben was still sobbing for me.
Needless to say, I started the day heavy with disappointment. I tried to do what I knew was right. I scooped up Becky, attached her to my boob and let Reuben sit next to me and tried to calm him by reading books. Eventually he was calm, Becky was calm, Husband had cleaned Reuben's breakfast off the floor and left for work, but I was still grumpy.
I want to be alone for just a minute. I am tired of everyone needing me. This is exhausting.
All true statements. All valid feelings. But I didn't want our emotionally charged morning to ruin the rest of my day.
I did yoga.
Becky cried halfway; so I was jangling toys in her face while forward-folding and singing jingles to her from downward dog. She made it through my 20 minutes of morning exercise, and I made it too. Reuben, I might add, was right next to me either trying to play with his sister or imitate my poses. Sometime I should film him during my yoga, but honestly I just want to do yoga and not think about anything else, so I doubt that will ever happen. It would be funny, tho.
Afterwards I felt a semblance of peace. God loves me in spite of my whining ways and cranky heart, so I can love my toddler through his tantrums. I'm learning more and more that while I can't control my kids or have lonely-shower expectations or plan (more or less) how the day will go in the emotional sense, I can control myself. I don't have to yell at him. I don't have to let moody children control my day. My duty as parent lies in helping my children navigate their own emotions—and that starts first with my example. How often I fail at this only they will know, but I will say I fail often. It is a fault I am sure many parents contend with in themselves.
To all of you parents wrestling with the daily tasks of raising young humans, I salute you. It is no easy feat, especially when you aren't even sleeping through the night.