The day a picture broke my heart

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I’ve heard more times then I’d like to count how “I don’t know how you do it!” when people find out what my everyday schedule is usually like. Somehow, this makes me some sort of a superhero or something. To me, it makes me a mom. It was up until recently that I was doing a pretty good job of it, I mean I must be if people are applauding me right?

Nope. Not even a little bit. I failed, and I failed big time. It’s been a quiet week around here as I tried to come to terms with how to even share this story without feeling even more embarrassed, but I realized this is my chance to learn from my child, and learn I shall.

I’m raising a pretty strong willed child, I’m not surprised by it either. We used to joke that we were in trouble. You see, Ry & I are both quite stubborn, opinionated and we can put up one hell of a fight if we need too. Why would it be any surprise that we would raise a child that would mirror not one, but both of us?

My mom raised me strong, unfortunately that meant that growing up I had a healthy fear instilled in me. I was never once hit, but when my mom raised her voice, boy did I ever jump. I don’t look back on it as being afraid of my mom, or being sad or anything. It was out of respect. You feared your parents, you knew they loved you, but you knew not to step out of line. It was just how it was.

Alivia has been putting up a fight most mornings lately. We wake up quite early to start our long days and lately it’s been a battle to even get her out of bed. Never mind feeding her breakfast, getting her dressed and backpack and shoes on. Admittedly, I get frustrated easy. I raise my voice out of habit and I get even more frustrated when it feels like I’m pretty much yelling at a wall.

I realized that I was putting my own deadlines onto my child. And she doesn’t even know how to manage time.

The battles have grown over the past few weeks we sat down as a family to ask Alivia why she was so “grumpy” in the mornings.

She drew that picture up top.

She drew a sad Livvy.

When daddy asked her why she drew a sad Livvy, she said:

“Mommy yells, she never wants to play with me.”

My heart literally shattered. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling that welled up inside me. Shame, horror, heartbreak, and even more shame.

In my frustrated state in the mornings, I had made HER hate mornings alongside. She wanted to play, I wanted her to get her shoes on. She wanted to find her ponies, I wanted her to eat her breakfast. She wanted to be a kid, and I was trying to make her be an adult.

In that moment I realized I had started a routine in the morning that wasn’t fun, that from the moment we both woke up it was a rush to get out the door. We didn’t take time to snuggle, to brush each others hair or to just make breakfast together. I was missing out.

So I vow now, and moving forward to make time, even where there isn’t time. If it means I am a few minutes later, or don’t have time to stop for that morning coffee, I am going to find the time to cherish these mornings. I am going to hug the ever living stuffing out of her every morning, share laughs and tickles and turn that sad Livvy into..

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It took some apologies. Some sad momma moments of feeling like I was ruining this kid and she wasn’t even in kindergarten yet. It took lots of hugs, lots of open heart talks about loving each other, being frustrated and using good listening skills (from all of us!) to move forward. I’m grateful that my child feels unconditional love, and forgives with a full heart. I truly aspire to be more like her everyday!

It’s not easy to admit a #mamatruths, something that exposes mom life for what it is. It isn’t glamorous, it’s full of challenges and life lessons at every turn. I’m not perfect, I wish every day that I had some sort of a parenting manual that would pat me on the back when I made a good decision, and slap me on the hand when I didn’t – but I don’t. I’m forever grateful for the time I get to spend learning from this tiny human, who clearly understands that stopping to smell the roses, is much more important than living life in a frantic state.

Do you have a #MamaTruth? I’d love for you to share!

Tara Jensen
Tara is a parenting influencer based on the West Coast. With her full time career in health care, she focuses on green living, healthy family choices and encouraging families to live a fabulously frugal lifestyle. She lives on coffee, cuddles and post-its, generally in that order. When she isn’t working, she can be found outdoors exploring beautiful British Columbia with her family.