I remember those days.
The kids remember loudly and publicly when they need to go one time, and then the next time a mess signals it is too late. And it's not as if their Mommas don't have anything else to do. Both mothers have smaller babies, truly infants, demanding much time and attention , too, with teething and nursing and learning to communicate a variety of wordless messages. The conditions are not nearly optimal for oopsie-free training. So, there are plenty of mistakes...and messes...and sometimes a mom gets grumpier than she wants to be. When a mom gets grumpy, it's not long before the guilts catch up with her.
If you've been a mom with a normal sense of responsibility (or a dad, for that matter) for 10 minutes, you're familiar with the guilts and inadequacies that dog the steps of a parent. "Why did I say/think/do that? I must be the worst parent in the world. I am failing--my children deserve better than me."
Absolutely normal to think. Absolutely untrue and unhelpful to believe. Here's the news. The challenges of life don't diminish as they get bigger and older. You'll second-guess yourself and feel like a failure so many times over the next years--you could reserve a weekly hour in therapy to try to deal with yourself if you don't get a grip on the truth.
Here's the truth. You need to let them be little and let you be imperfect. Yep. Even when they are teens and bigger than you, they are going to be mess-makers, in different ways. And some days you, the parent, will lose your cool. I had plenty of days when I cried and knew when it came bedtime I was lucky if I could pull out a C- that day for my parenting skills. A few moments in those days were flat out F's. And yet, by the grace of God, those flying flunker days were outnumbered by the amazingly adequate days. Some days I wowed myself with a Grade A day. Here's the most awesome and wonderful thing--my children have a very forgiving memory. If the notes and Mother's Day cards are to be believed, they think I'm one of the all-time greats.
My phenomenal Dad says he blew it on many occasions when we were growing up. Funny. I don't remember that either. I do remember the climate of our home---warm with love, laughter, encouragement, and apologies. I remember the humility and commitment of my parents. I remember our prayers and dinners together and night-time making sure all was well before bedtime.
Let the kids be little. Don't freak out because you aren't perfect. Allow yourself to learn and grow through their messes and your mistakes. Very few individual moments will be remembered, but the love and humility that sets the thermostat in your home will be. "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." I Peter 4:8
And, hey--if you need to say "I'm sorry" to one of your littles for a less than perfect moment today, for God's sake (and theirs and yours), get off the internet and go say it. Now. GO. You'll all be glad you did.