I've always been a been a pretty tough girl emotionally. It takes a lot to make me cry. Like many women, motherhood has turned me into a big ol' mush. I find myself crying over dumb commercials. Even seeing a mom with a newborn is enough to flood my eyes with tears.
I don't know who I am anymore.
But whatever. I'll embrace it and go with the flow. Recently, I've been getting all choked up over toddler antics and words. How this is even possible is beyond me. It's pretty difficult to crack my spirit with words, but my 2-year-old manages to do this time and time again very effectively. That's right, ladies and gentlemen: My toddler hurts my feelings.
This isn't something that I'm proud to admit. In fact, I feel a bit silly making this declaration. Anyone who is around a toddler knows that they hardly ever mean what they say. They don't even know what they're saying half of the time.
Toddlers are like your friends who have a little too much to drink. They're loud, bold, say hurtful things, and then they forget what they've said minutes after they've said it. Yeah, well, tell that to my feelings.
Our children can hurt our feelings in the simplest ways—even if they don't mean to and even if they don't notice it.
My very fragile feelings are already in limbo, thanks to sleep exhaustion, pregnancy and having to deal with the 500 things on my To Do list. Sadly, my toddler couldn't care less about this, so when she tells me, "I don't want you, Mama. I want Daddy," all I can do is burst into tears.
I'm not exactly jealous that she always prefers my husband over me. It's just, does she have to say this all the time? Does it have to be when I'm attempting to cuddle her or when I really could use some affection from my ever-growing child? Does it have to be said with such conviction and so frequently that I can almost predict when she'll say it?
It doesn't matter. She says it and, boom: tears.
Words have power and, while she may not understand that, she is empathetic when she sees me crying.
Or how about when she says, "I don't want you to be my mama." Um, what? How can you not cry over that? Or feel a little anger? Excuse you, kid? I go through a crazy pregnancy to bring you into the world and this is the thanks I get? Never mind that you'd prefer a cartoon character as your mother. That still stinks. Mama's feelings are hurt.
I rarely hide this fact from my daughter. I believe she needs to know that I'm human, and that sometimes the things that she says can affect me. Words have power and, while she may not understand that, she is empathetic when she sees me crying. Sometimes she'll wipe my tears away and say, "Sorry, Mama." Sometimes she doesn't even notice that I've got snot running down my nose, initiated by her verbal jabs.
This is real life, y'all. Our children can hurt our feelings in the simplest ways—even if they don't mean to and even if they don't notice it. It's a very vulnerable place to be in and the crazy thing about unconditional love is that a simple kiss or "I love you" from them can always undo the things they've said.
I guess another way of looking at it is this: Parenting is by the far the wackiest emotional roller coaster I've ever been on.