As our family sizes get smaller and smaller, we no longer naturally remember seeing our mothers with our siblings as small children. I wonder if this leads to unrealistic expectations on our own capabilities as a parent.
When I see people with small children, I’m normally watching a grandparent with their beloved grandchild, or a parent in a public place trying to put their best face forward. How often do we see someone when they’ve had enough? When is the last time we’ve seen a parent sit in the bathroom and cry because they haven’t slept in days and they just can’t stand to be puked on one more time?
We should hold ourselves to high expectations, but what is reasonable? When a grandparent is dealing with a crying child, it seems they have unlimited patience. What we may forget is this person knows that in the end, if it doesn’t work, it isn’t their problem to fix whatever is wrong.
In public, we’re normally all on our best behavior. The vast majority of the time if we run into a friend or neighbor, they will put on a happy face even if they feel like crying. Let’s face it, the grocery store is not the place to tell anyone your child has peed on every square foot of carpet in your house if you can’t laugh about it at the same time.
At the end of the day, what does that leave us with? We only see ourselves getting emotional and impatient about our situations. Unless we have young enough siblings to see the reality of a mother trying to keep it all together and sometimes tripping and falling in her attempts, we can feel alone and incompetent.
So, what now? I think this conundrum is why forums are wildly popular with moms. It helps to talk with other moms and get tips, or just hear that they’ve been there and done that, and they made it through on the other side. Blogs seem to be a safe place for many to share their tough moments also.
It is hard to know what is a normal amount of frustration over any given situation, but as long as we keep trying and apologize when necessary, inshaAllah we’ll come out on the other end with ourselves, our marriages, and kids intact.