I love my children fiercely. I squeeze them tight and kiss them hard. I expect them to be perfect, because in my eyes they are. Parenting is never done. Human development is never done. I know all too well that I am a work in progress myself. I can make mistakes, I can hurt people, I can make selfish decisions. I don’t know why I feel I’ve failed my children as a mother when they do the same. I have to remind myself, they are just children. It’s not an excuse for not teaching them better, but it is a comfort to know they will learn.

Don’t pull the dog’s tail.
– Gut Reaction/Freak Out: Why would they want to hurt an animal? Will they become psychopaths?
– Reality: I know they love their dog, usually treat her well and love to have her company in the morning as they are getting ready for school. They don’t understand that playing rough can hurt and scare animals. They are just children.

Stop teasing/poking/pinching/hitting/kicking each other.
– Gut Reaction/Freak Out: Aren’t siblings supposed to be best friends? Will they be friends as adults? How can they be so mean to each other when they are flesh and blood?
– Reality: We all have our ups and downs. They have many wonderful, loving moments together and as they get older I believe those times will become more and more frequent, as they already have. They are just children.

Why won’t you just listen and do as I say? 
– Gut Reaction/Freak Out: Why don’t they understand how rude it is to ignore someone? Don’t they know that I have more experience and know better than they do? If they can’t listen to me, they won’t listen to their teachers. How will they ever get through school if they don’t listen to their teachers? Isn’t something wrong with their hearing?
– Reality: They do hear me, they just choose not to react/act. They do listen to their teachers and they do just fine. I can only work harder to teach them respectful behavior and why it’s important. The things that are small potatoes to me are a big deal in the context of their world. They are just children.

Why won’t you just go to bed/take a nap/have some quiet time/be quiet/leave me alone?
– Gut Reaction/Freak Out: I’m going to go nuts if I don’t get some time to myself. Why isn’t my life my life anymore? Someone always needs me. Everyone wants a piece of me! I don’t think I can do this anymore. I am not cut out to be a mom. I can’t keep my cool. I am a total failure.
– Reality: Their love for me is also fierce. It is not limited by physicality or time. If they feel they need me to hold them at 3am, they will cry until I do so. They will climb up my body to place a single kiss on my forehead. They feel my unconditional love, even when I almost forget it myself. If I yell and lose my cool, they will forgive me, even if I cannot forgive myself. There will come a day when they don’t need me and I will long for 3am cuddles as I now long for a full night’s sleep. They are just children.

As mothers, we must be kind to ourselves as well. We might not be just children, but we are just human.