If you've never experienced the pleasure of raising a preschooler, let me break it down for you in one word: challenging…to say the very least. You know that scene in Jurassic Park where dude gets eaten right off the toilet? There are some days I wish that were me. Partially because (A.) I can't seem to get two minutes to go to the bathroom by myself any more anyway so what does it matter and (B.) partially because well...honestly...some days I just want to go running and screaming from my house.
I know none of this is her fault. I know Maddy is simply going through the normal growing pains every preschooler experiences; newfound independence, exploring the world around her and the influence of other children and their attitudes definitely adds another layer to the mix. For the most part, she’s grown out of the crying over everything stage and into the push back, argumentative stage where every parental decision, choice and instruction is up for question and analyzation. If you ever want to sound like your own mother, have a conversation with a strong-willed, uber-curious child and before you know it, you will boil all of your parenting choices down to, “Because I said so, that’s why!” It’s all in a day’s work.
So how do I keep it all in check? Honestly, some days I really don't know. There are days when I crawl into bed and wonder "What in the hell am I doing?" But then there are days I tuck Maddy into bed feeling like the world's greatest mom. More so than not, I try to take time to remember what I call 'the tender moments.’
What are my tender moments in parenting? The way she still comes running to me yelling, “Mommy!” when I pick her up from day care. When she asks me if she can help me cook dinner. Our walks together around the neighborhood. Our chats in the evenings while driving through rush hour traffic. Playing coffee shop during bath time each night. Building car washes and Chick-fil-a’s with her blocks. Snuggling up on the sofa to watch movies. Watering the flowers together in the evenings. Doing our nails together and going for Starbucks runs. Blowing bubbles in the backyard. Watching her play in my jewelry and pretend to put on my makeup.