“The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us all to become our best while looking our worst.” Marge Kennedy
The days felt like one giant gasp- inhale when my eyes open in the morning, exhale when my son’s close at night. Once I was on my own with my toddler, I found myself on the brink of a nervous breakdown regularly. As a single working mom, I felt the constant pressure of too much to do with too little energy. And even if I managed to get it all done, my performance was sub par at best.
The exhaustion and daily sense of failure would cause me to lose patience with everyone, especially my son. And without a partner, there was no one to tap me out during my own little “parent meltdowns”. (Love and support aside, I would argue “the tap out” is one of the most important roles for a father- and if you know, you know!)
Of all the balls I was dropping, motherhood stung the most, and it wasn't long before I reached my breaking point. I knew I had to make a change, so that's exactly what I did. Instead of trying to do everything, I focused on doing the important things, and doing them well. Becoming a more patient and loving mother was at the top of that list. With my priorities set and focus narrowed, I finally had the courage to tackle potty training.
My son used the potty for the first time while I was at work. I got a text with a picture of my son beaming with pride, pointing to the pee pee. It was a bitter sweet moment. I was so proud of him and wished I could have been there for our big win. That night we celebrated with cake. It wasn’t long before peeing in the potty became a way of life. But everyone knows the concept really solidifies with pooping in the potty (pun intended). I tried everything to sell him on the idea, but he wasn’t buying it.
Then one night, while I was jamming to No Doubt and cooking Bolognese, my son came running in the kitchen yelling “Mommy I went potty!” He proudly escorted me to the bathroom, and when I looked down- there it was! He finally pooped in the potty, and I was there for our milestone. I started jumping and cheering, and then so did he.
But almost instantly, my heart sunk because his father wasn’t there- in fact, no one was there. Suddenly, sharing the workload didn't seem as valuable as sharing the journey. In that moment, I realized I’d rather have a partner for the high fives and kisses, than the tap outs. I quickly got my emotions in check , picked up my son, and started jumping and cheering with him in my arms, while "I'm Just A Girl" played in the background.
Like many first-time moms, I felt completely overwhelmed by the awesome responsibility of parenthood. My insecurities and feelings of inadequacy would often have me reminiscing about my own childhood. Eventually, I would come to realize I was reminiscing through rose colored lenses.