Sometimes I feel like I'm just not ready to accept that I am a grownup. Sometimes I even feel like I missed out on some portion of young adulthood... for example, I never really lived on my own, I just lived at home until I got married... I never was truly independent... and I even wish we'd travelled more and done more in our double-income-no-kids life. I find that this motherhood thing is strangely lonely. I want to hang out more with friends, but I always find some reason not to - I don't have a car, I don't feel like going out, I don't want them to have to tolerate my kid, the kid is fussy, the kid might scream, etc.
This afternoon, I took the baby and the dog for a walk to McDonalds, about a 40 minute walk (maybe less, I tend to walk slowly.) Everything was fine until we got to McDonalds. The dog wouldn't stay in her "down" position, so I saw her trying to be friendly with a cyclist who was just trying to get at her bike (the dog was tied to the bike rack.) Apparently the cyclist did not view my dog as friendly. (Really - she would never hurt anyone, she just thinks that all humans want to pet her and be licked.) I had to go and get her, at which point the baby started to fuss and scream. He was inconsolable until we were almost home. He wouldn't take the pacifier and there wasn't really anything I could do. I couldn't carry him and push the stroller home AND hold the dog's leash. It became overwhelming. At several points I stopped to try and comfort him, and then the dog would wander instead of sitting by my side as she is supposed to do when I stop walking*. So then I had to yell at the dog. I felt like a terrible parent/dog owner, first my kid is screaming and then my dog is misbehaving, and I can't fix either one, and I am getting angry at both. I prayed all the way home that I wouldn't lose my mind entirely.
When we got home, the baby was fine - just tired and in need of a nap - and the dog was also fine. And I realized that part of my frustration was that I'm not certain I'm cut out for being a mom, and the more the baby cried, the more I felt inadequate. When I went to pick him up out of his stroller, he gave me a teary smile. I don't know if God might have a lesson in this story. Maybe that I don't have to be a supermom for my kid to love me anyway. Maybe that we are all imperfect. Maybe that if my kid can love me and smile at me even though I let him cry for 20-30 minutes, how much more does my heavenly Father love me despite all my inadequacies. Sigh. It's so hard sometimes.
*My dog is really well-trained... but walking on a leash has always been her toughest "trick". Part of her training is that she only walks on our left hand side, right beside (not in front nor behind), and when we stop walking she is supposed to stop and sit right away.