Being Seen

This morning was a tough morning. Nothing huge, no, and – if I hadn’t chosen to write about it here – would have been forgotten about by the time I went to bed. But we have these mornings. These interactions. And to not acknowledge how it feels at this point in my life seems like we’d be sweeping the trials of preschooler-hood under the rug.

Today I felt invisible at best and, at worst, in the way. An annoyance. Someone to be endured.

Not by Andy. He’s the one who whispers sweet things. Ignore it. He’s crabby.

And he is. He’s 4. It’s an egocentric age, and I’m just sort of this body in constant orbit around him.

This morning I was greeted by a hug. Then we talked about Valentines Day and the fruit snacks he’d be taking to school to share with his friends. This, followed by 20 minutes of consoling and wiping away tears when the concept of 28 friends bringing an array of treats didn’t overcome the sorrow of not being able to eat just one of the 28 bags of fruit snacks. We changed into fresh clothes after realizing a Not-Overnight Pull-Up didn’t quite do its job.

Then Andy clocked in and I clocked out to get ready for work. I came back downstairs to Andy coaxing him to get dressed. He started to say something to Andy, then caught my eye and yelled:

NO, MOMMY!! I WAS TALKING TO DADDY!!!.”

My head jerked back ever so slightly as if dodging an object flying in front of my face. Well, excuse me.

Andy’s insistence that he apologize was met with tears of outrage. Because, after all, how dare I? He felt totally justified.

The gauntlet was thrown that he would no longer be enjoying cereal in front of the TV that morning if he didn’t walk over and at least pretend to feel remorse for that outburst. (Not Andy’s words, to be clear.) And so he trudged over and mumbled a half-intelligible apology before leaving the room.

These are some of the things that seem SO clear from the outside looking in.

Don’t stand for that. Make him make eye contact. Apologize for real. Take away his TV until he shows remorse. Teach him to respect his adults. Don’t let him get away with it.

But when it’s the umpteenth emotional rollercoaster you’ve all been on that morning – sometimes you just don’t have the energy to take another ride.

So I did what I do in those situations.

Wonder if I’m setting a precedence for disrepect. Wonder if he really likes his dad more than me. Wonder why he feels justified being so venomous. Wonder if I should have come down hard and insisted on a better apology. And wonder if forcing a display of remorse actually makes him feel sorry… or if it just teaches him to put on an act to get what he wants.

Wonder if he’ll ever realize how much I love him. Wonder if he’ll ever realize how much it hurts.

Wonder how we’re already starting this at 4 years old.

So I saw this article this morning. And I think it was put there just for me.

When Mothering is Hard and No One Sees

And I get energy for another day. Take comfort in the fact that I’ll get home and there’s every likelihood that it will be hugs and sunshine and chatter about a good day.

You just never know. :)

Comments

  1. All of this seems so familiar…

  2. Can’t tell you how I understand, even from a 16 month old.  They can crush you and lift you up, all in a split second in between.  

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