The other day I made the mistake of agreeing to take Jordyn to the park when I was already so overwhelmed. It was early in the day and for whatever reason I woke up with so much anxiety! I am not quite sure why I thought it was a good idea to sit in the hot sun when there was already a million things going on in my mind…but I did. It was a disaster waiting to happen. So there I was sitting on an uncomfortable bench, feeling like my face was going to melt, and in the distance listening to my daughter repeat her request to have me play with her.
She wasn’t asking for much. She was asking for her mother to join her for some play time fun. What she was asking for though was too much for me at that moment. I was exhausted and frustrated. The last thing I wanted to do was climb ropes and slide down slides. I did something I almost never do- I gave her an ultimatum.
“Continue to play at the park or we go home!”
I started to fall apart…there I was standing in front of my 3 year old as she started to do the same. I felt like all eyes were on us even though the park was empty. We left the park that day feeding off each other’s frustrations. Add to an already anxious morning I now was filled with mom guilt.
“Why couldn’t I put my feelings aside and just do as she requested?”
“Why didn’t I have more patience?”
“Why did I even take her to the park?”
“Will she hold this against me?”
“Will she remember those moments next time we go to a park?”
For Jordyn that moment had passed and once she was up from nap it was as if the morning didn’t happen. They did happen though and I couldn’t shake the feelings. Why was I continuing to let this negative moment define me as a mother? Why didn’t I think enough of myself to know that everyone has moments of frustrations and uncertainty? It started to make sense to me, I had been so caught up in me as a mother that I forgot about me-the person! I needed to take care of myself so that I could best take care of my daughter. The first step I took to a better self was letting go. Letting go of the frustration and the guilt. Letting go of the idea that we as parents can never make mistakes. Letting go and moving past what we can’t change. I hope to continue my self-care journey and get to a place where I won’t have to think twice about putting myself first.