Dear Moms with Little Ones,
I watched you drag your children kicking and screaming out of the store the other day. You turned your back for a moment, and your little boy grabbed his sister’s hair and pulled hard. While your daughter was screaming at the top of her lungs, she punched your son in the face and they both wailed. You calmly paid for your items at the till while they air slapped one another in a screaming contest. You didn’t lose your cool, but your face was twisted with frustration.
It reminded me of the time my sister and I took my son to the mall. He wanted a toy. I said no. He laid on the floor and kicked and screamed and told me I wasn’t fair. Apparently this one toy would solve all his problems, and I was the only thing standing in the way of total peace and contentment….perhaps even world domination.
Now since this was almost 15 yrs ago, this may not be exact, but in my mind this was the conversation between my sister Brenda and I while my son wailed and flailed in the hallway of the Vermilion Mall.
Brenda: “What do we do?!”
Me: “I don’t know, this is my first kid! He’s never been overtaken by evil before.”
Brenda: “Well we better do something, everyone is staring.”
(And by everyone, she means 5 people in the mall in Vermilion)
Me: “I will pick him up and take him out. Yes, that’s what I should do.”
*insert me trying to pick up my flailing child (did he grow more limbs?!) before his head turned a complete 360 like that possessed kid in the Exorcist movie*
Brenda: “He just kicked you in the face.”
Me: “Well now this is embarrassing. Jimmy Cryderman is staring. Help me pick this kid up.”
Brenda: “No, he will kick me in the face.”
Me: “I will pay you in compliments if you help me take Satan away from the toys and deposit him in his car seat where he can be strapped down.”
Brenda: “I accept this deal, but you get his feet. I’ll take his hands.”
And with that, we transport my screaming toddler out of the mall like we were loading a sandbag. He did an alligator roll so it was quite the task. I like to think we did so with grace and dignity, but I know that wasn’t the case. We got the giggles. Yes, picture that. Two giggling girls carrying a screaming child out of the mall.
My point to this story is for all you Moms who are still in this stage of life. The stage of life when you are setting boundaries for your small children will strip you of your dignity. It will make you feel like you are inadequate and ridiculous.
When my kids were small, other Moms would approach me and say “Enjoy them while they are young!” and I remember thinking “Are you crazy?! I feel like a failure daily trying to shape these kids to be responsible adults who won’t kill puppies”
Let me give you the other side of the coin. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the baby/toddler stage. But let’s face it, I spent most of my time stalking them so they didn’t run into the lake while we were camping, or try to pet a tiger when we went to the zoo. I’m now at a different stage; one that I’m head-over-heels in love with. My little toy-possessed boy has grown into the most amazing, kind, respectful, and generous young man. He’s turning 16 in October. My other two kids are 10 and 7. I don’t have to stalk them anymore, they know their boundaries. All that embarrassment in the beginning years was worth it. I can read a book on the beach while they play now. We can go out for family suppers without the threat of temper tantrums. No more diapers, no more mandatory naps…It’s awesome. While I do miss my little babies so much, I’m focussing on the joy that lives within this stage and the freedom that exists within our growing family as we watch them develop into amazing people.
To all the Moms of little ones out there, if you are wondering if there is light at the end of the setting-boundaries tunnel…I’m here to tell you there is. And it’s ridiculously fun.
I will leave you with some photos from our summer so far. The first picture is my oldest son (the feature of my story) with my daughter whom he protects and loves so much.
From my heart to yours,