Do you ever feel like you have a split personality like Jekyll and Hyde? Or like the angel is in control but then in a flash some little demon version of you bursts out like the raging hulk and usurps control? I definitely do. I call them angry mom and loving mom.
Each morning starts out almost exactly the same. I hear sweet voices waking and saying “Mommy!” or singing a song. With a smile on my face, a deep breath, and a warm heart, I get my boys out of bed and cuddle with them on the couch as they drink their juice. I am gentle, calm. I feel so much love and gratitude for these beautiful angels who are so happy to be with me.
Then the tide turns. I struggle to dress my wild toddlers who tantrum, run away from me, refuse to go potty, and fight each other for way too long until I end up yelling, threatening, and/or holding them down. Logic, reward, and punishment have no effect on this behavior that depletes my loving reserve and flips the alter ego switch to angry mom. All before 8:30am.
I ride the see saw of anger vs. love every day. Giving countless hugs and kisses, playing, creating, and imagining with them, I truly do want to be with my boys. But the constant fighting, tantruming, pushing around chairs, and climbing everything like monkeys drives me mad. Not to mention it’s impossible to keep track of and control them in public. The words “No,” “Time out,” and “I’m going to count to 3” come out of my mouth like an irritating record stuck on repeat.
How do I reconcile this, find some kind of balance? I’m still searching for the answer. Some days I just feel like I’m not cut out to be a stay at home mom. Other days, I get a dose of what I need – a solo errand, a nap, a visit with a friend – and loving mom usually prevails. Right now my best theory, an antidote to the internal battle, is the message I explored in my earlier post “Fight for What You Need.” It’s a consistent infusion of connection, health, rest, faith, freedom, and rare moments of adult fun as often as I can scrape them together.
Ultimately, I might grumble and daydream of where the grass looks greener, but my boys are my life. They are sown so completely in my heart that I would never trade being their mom. Love itself and the God who IS love, are far greater than any darkness. I have hope and peace that loving mom will triumph in the beautiful struggle of daily life.
1 Jn 4: 4: You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
I’d love to hear how you strive for balance. What are your ideas to strengthen loving mom?