Christmas was rough this year.
I take that back. It was horrible. There, I've said it. It only took me a week to say. It was horrible.
We seem to be in a .... complaining phase .... around our house. Grace whines every time she doesn't get precisely what she wants within 30 seconds of asking for it (or within 30 seconds of her thinking about it but forgetting to ask), and Clare says NO! to everything.
A friend and I once had a conversation about how much harder it is to be a calm parent than one that yells and hits. These last few weeks have been a challenge. I have never (and will never) hit either of the girls, but I find myself yelling so much more that I want to, in a primitive attempt to raise my volume over theirs in an emotional (nonsensical) attempt to have my desires heard too.
It is soul crushing, this new feeling of parenting failure. I keep oscillating between thinking it is just two and four year old growing pains, and wondering if we are to blame for the constant poor behavior and we are doing our jobs wrong.
Maybe it is both.
And in admitting that, comes new stomach churning worries that the behaviorisms of our parents that haunt us and are constantly fought against are seeping into our girls lives too. Are we expecting too much of them? Are we too quick to take out our frustrations with frowns and sharply spoken orders? Are we too quick to drown those frustrations in an extra large glass of wine?
The answer is probably yes to all three, but how do we change that? How do you teach a two year old that it is not OK to climb on the kitchen table during dinner without frowns and sharp words? How do you teach a four year old about patience after the same request has been made 10 times in a row without frowns and sharp words?
Matt and I have spent a lot of time taking about the future lately. Four months from now, 12 months from now, three years from now. How our future will be brighter, relaxed and secure. For now though, I am worried about the now.
Tomorrow starts another three day weekend.