I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Why was my child so whiney? Why did her mood change at the drop of a hat? Was mine the only child that cried for what seemed like hours because I asked her to hang up her coat?
I did google searches, I read parenting magazines, I talked to my own mom. I knew something had to be wrong with her, or something had to be wrong with my parenting, or maybe both. Or maybe neither.
I dreaded going home from work each day to the battle I knew waited for me. I was tired. Tired of reasoning with her, tired of trying to discipline her (when I wasn’t sure that’s what she needed), tired of trying to figure out what was wrong. Just tired.
And then one morning I had a conversation with Patty, my co-worker I share an office with. She too has a 5-year-old girl, and I that was when I learned what was wrong with my daughter.
She’s 5. That’s it.
As Patty and I talked, I realized we were both going through the exact same thing. A child who was happy one moment and then whose world was ending because her big brother got to put the cheese in the mac and cheese, or her supper was served on the pink plate instead of the blue one.
There was nothing wrong with our children. We were parenting the best way we knew. Our children were simply in a really annoying stage of life, a stage that will one day end, and we’ll wonder where the time went.
When you’re 5, you also love to make believe and have pretend monster hunts, and play babies with your little sister, and snuggle on your mom’s lap before you go to bed. Those things aren’t annoying, and those things I will miss when she moves out of this stage of life.
I still dread going home some days. I still don’t know the best way to handle when she melts down about putting her boots by the door. I still get frustrated when she just won’t stop crying over every. little. thing.
But I know I’m not alone.
You’re not alone either. Mothers all over are going through the same struggles, and frustrations, and questions that you are. Other moms are trying to problem solve just like you are, and falling short. Moms just like you are at the end of their rope.
Hang in there. I’m told it will get better.
I’ll get back to you on that.