It was a far from perfect day. A day full of trudging through stores, taking care of the not-so-fun errands. My arms trying to push a loaded cart while holding a 32 pound toddler who simply will not sit in the buggy without a meltdown. After check out I attempt to load our loot into the trunk of the car but fail miserably as everything topples out of the warehouse boxes, some rolling under the car. I was exhausted, she was reacting to my frustration.
When we got home, I carried her inside, sat her in the living room and it was as if the previous 3 hours had never happened for her. She was back to where she was comfortable, I was still drained. After the groceries were put away I was hoping to fall into the recliner and relax for a bit while she played. But when I sat down she began the process of enthusiastically trying to tempt me with every toy she could put on my lap.
It was then that it finally clicked for me. She didn't understand that we had a challenging day, why should she?
The week prior I took her to the park to enjoy one of our few warm days in March. I was very engaged in playing with her, crawling through tunnels and sliding down slides, when a woman who had been watching her children from the park bench tapped me on the shoulder and said "You are just the best babysitter!" I smiled and explained that I am in fact her mother. (Imagine, a mother doing that?)
Kids don't understand that you may look silly to others. They don't understand that you've had a bad day, or that you need to decompress for just five minutes. They shouldn't have to. Our limitations are ones we set for ourselves and when you do that it is perceived and mimicked by your children. (skip to: "But Mooooommmm fill in the blank.")
I'm working on this, I still have the rare days where my husband comes home and I ask him for "just 5 minutes" to do this or that. But I have taken the hum-drum "woe is me" out of my voice. My dear child is not a burden but the largest blessing I have ever known. Our choice to have me be a stay at home Mom is not a chore but a gift that my husband works very hard to provide. I can not allow myself to make these imaginary boundaries, but I will work to see that my daughter sees joy in every moment, love in every action, excitement in every possibility, and a positive reflection on every day.