Sometimes a Mom Just Needs a Good Reset Button
When I was nearly nine months pregnant with my fourth child, we moved to a different state. It was a little crazy trying to find a doctor, hospital, get moved in, my kids settled into school, etc, all while knowing only a handful of people. I had to get creative at one point, taking three children into one of my final OB appointments, since I still didn't know anyone I could leave them with. Let's just say there was blatant bribery involved. When I was pre-registering at the hospital one day, just my big belly and me and some cute fidgety little ones, a hospital administrator pulled out his big red "that was easy" button. It wasn't really easy, but we did make it through, as demonstrated by the fact that I am here typing your ear off each day.
Some days I would like a real button, but instead of an "easy" button (ok, if anyone knows where I can get one, I'll take one of those too), I'd like a "reset" button. Especially at the end of a crazy day. Maybe I've been a little edgy. Maybe I said something that hurt someone's feelings. Maybe I spent time on something that really didn't matter and neglected what did. Maybe I just ran everyone around like a crazy person and was so busy locating shoes or coats or getting people hustled in and out of the car that I forgot what life is all about. Or why I chose to be a parent in the first place. Or maybe I was too busy trying to get dinner on or the floor swept or baby's nose wiped that I didn't notice a child of mine hurting over something, like maybe she had someone tell her that they don't want to be her friend anymore, or happy about something, like getting all his spelling words right.
Don't you just want to start fresh sometimes? It's so easy to think you can't take back those words or hurt feelings or busyness that distracted from people who need me. These are the days I begin to despair there is no reset. But there is. Every day can be a new day, "fresh with no mistakes in it," a la Anne Shirley.
I'm ready to push it. That is what my parenting project is all about -- pushing the reset button. Everyone has days when their rosy expectations for parenthood just didn't match up to that brutal, stinky-dirty car seat reality (I swore I'd never be one of those moms with the gross car seats or strollers, and well, I have had to eat my words). But instead of feeling down and depressed about ways I have fallen short, I love getting proactive and working to change them, even if it is hard. Or if I fail big time, like last month. It feels good to try. And to keep dreaming about what kind of person and parent I want to be when I grow up. Because in the end, what I become is up to me, with grace I couldn't live without.
Kids are such good little forgivers. I think as long as they see we are trying, improving, and apologizing when things go wrong, they will love us for our effort. And as long as we are trying our best, they won't be permanently damaged. (Being a parent has made me so much more grateful for mine! It is much harder than it looks; don't try this at home, right?)
You are always welcome to follow along (www.5for50project.blogspot.com), if I'm working on something you want to work on too! I'd love to hear how it is going for you too or your tips if it is something you are good at.