I'm not. I don't have a lot of patience, especially when I'm tired. Which I always am these days. I don't make great decisions when I'm out of patience, and then I hate myself for those decisions later.
I've read the books. I've read the articles. I've asked the questions and made mental notes of methods. I've tried to tell myself that every move I make as a mother now is going to determine who my children will grow up to be. But at the end of the day, I'm human, and sometimes the only thing I can do is tell Avery to go to her bedroom for a little while because she has been whining for 40 minutes and I'm ready to uncork a bottle of wine with my teeth in the garage and slam it down faster than any of the amateurs on those Neknomination videos on facebook have ever seen.
I remember when I was in nursing school and I studied books and wrote papers and was tested on my communication skills. That was a whole course when I was doing my BN. Therapeutic Communication, it was called. It was all fine and good while we sat there, photocopying research papers, looking up articles online, and even having "practice conversations" with the other people in my class. But not one of those things came to my mind the first time I sat across from someone who had just woken up in hospital after an attempted suicide, or had to comfort someone whose family member just passed away despite our best efforts to bring them back.
I have come to the realization that parenting is the same. You can study all you like, but when you're there in the moment, it's all instinct. Motherhood is a visceral reaction. It's in your biological makeup. It's something that can't be learned, because every child is different and every mother is different.
I didn't feel like a good mom this morning when I brought my overtired toddler to a play date where she acted like she was feral and basically mauled three of the other kids there. I'm sick and I was trying to breastfeed a very fussy, teething baby, and ended up giving up and taking her home because I didn't have my tranquilizer gun to shoot her with if she decided to perform another sneak attack, and also because I was totally mortified. Brad has been away a lot lately and I'm out here with no family, and all of the "peaceful parenting" things I'm reading are lovely, but sometimes I feel like calling up the author of some of these articles and saying something to the tune of, "Bitch, you don't know my life!"
But then I got home, and I took off her coat and her boots, and I brought her up to her bed where I sucked up the total rage I was feeling in my chest, put her in bed, gave her her blankie, kissed her, and tucked her in. When I got Liam to sleep, I went up and lay down next to her. I rubbed her hair and watched her sleep, and I indulged in a few minutes of self loathing for losing my patience with her again. All is forgiven when they go to sleep. And she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen when she is sleeping. And I'm stuck in that horrible place where I so desperately want her to grow out of things without ever growing up.
As much as I want to be the yoga mat toting, green tea drinking, cloth diapering, clean eating, laundry folding, floor sweeping, coconut oil slathered goddess of a mother who absolutely reeks of patience and grace, I am not. I am sitting in my disaster of a kitchen, sucking back the coffee that I brewed at about 9:00 this morning and have re-heated about 4 times, wearing the same yoga pants I wore yesterday. I missed another workout class. Avery watched way too much TV today, and I feel guilty because Liam spent a lot of time in his swing rather than up in my arms.
Today I am not a good mom. I don't have it together on any day, really. I'm having one of those days where being a mom isn't about reading ten books and playing with Montessori toys while rainbows spew from my womb because I'm just that amazing of a parent. I'm having a crawling-through-the-trenches sort of day, where I'm just aiming for the light at the end of the tunnel and hoping that I don't get shot.
I let Avery sleep for almost two hours this afternoon, she's not supposed to nap anymore. I let her watch movies when she woke, and I cuddled her while Liam slept. I made her spaghetti for her supper because it's her favorite, and I let her have some mini marshmallows before. Then I snuggled her in my bed when it was passed her bedtime and let her watch Dora because I knew she was going to be up late. I cuddled her longer than I ever needed to after she was sleeping.
I know that she is never going to remember this day, and at this age she is never going to hate me more than I can hate myself sometimes for making mistakes that I know every mom makes. I also know that even though I wasn't a good mom today, I was still the perfect mom for her. I'm the one who she draws pictures for, I'm the one she curls up with, I'm the one whose smell alone can comfort her. I know that even though I wasn't a good mom today, nobody can ever love my babies like I can. So I'll cling to that like it's a picture of a beautiful girl while I stick it out in the mud and wait until the war is over...