I am seated at Tae Kwon Do last night and class has started. A frazzled Mom comes in carrying her son, I’m guessing he is around three years old, and I recognize the look of total frustration on her face. She manages to get her son on the mat and grabs a seat next to me. I start a conversation with her because I can sense she is ready to lose it. We soon realize we unfortunately have loads in common. She goes on to explain that she doesn’t understand why her youngest child is so defiant. Her oldest son was never like that and the behaviors, opinions and tenacity exhibited by her youngest are all new to her.
I try to break it to her gently that it is not anything she is doing right or wrong, but it is simply the personality of her youngest child. As I go on to describe some of the harrowing tales of my own motherhood experience, you can see her body language change as she is visibly relieved. She is clearly thankful that an apparently nice lady (that would be me in case there is any question) who seems to have nice manners, has children that are difficult to manage.
I told her that I hadn’t expected to be fought at every turn like I have with my boys. I said that she has to hang in there. Full Speed, while still extremely opinionated, is actually compliant most of the time. Now, I am working my way towards that with little T.Puzzle. I didn’t lie to her. I said it was hard and draining, and frankly, there are some days when I’d rather throw in the towel and let them win. But I don’t. Thankfully, I’m just as stubborn as they are.
The Mom and I looked at each other in an exhausted way that only the mothers of ‘spirited’ (she liked that terminology tremendously) children can. We realized there’s validation to be found in motherhood. On those days when you feel alone and like no one else in the world has a child as challenging as yours, just look at the Mom sitting to your right. That’s me and I have TWO of them. Don’t you feel better already?