This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!
I guess the title sorta gives this one away, huh?
I’m not saying anything that tons of parents haven’t said before. The idea that potty training is hard is not new. But for some reason, it really hit home how hard it was when I had my first poop-in-big-girl-panties experience. And then the second.
Gross, am I right? Bleaching the underwear, making sure nothing ended up on the floor, trying to firmly scold without shaming said potty trainer… those things are all important. That last one most of all. I feel like I’m stuck in a lame cycle of “Mommy’s so proud you used the potty!” and “We’ll try harder next time.” when what I really want to do is shout, at the top of my lungs, “YOU JUST WENT – WHY DIDN’T YOU POOP THEN?!”
Okay fine. I’ve shouted it. This morning at 8:00am, I shouted it.
I don’t want to shame my daughter. I don’t want to scare her into using the potty. I’d like to her use it for a good reason, like it’s less messy, or it’s more fun (no, that isn’t a stretch). I want to help her do the right thing, whether it’s use that porcelain throne or not bite her brother (I mean, does he taste good or something!?), because she knows to make the right choice, not because she’s scared of what I’ll say or do.
We’re in a season of pushing limits, repeating what I say (THAT is scary, if you’re not a parenting of a talking child yet.) and coming into her own. I’ve learned I have to clean up my mouth, watch my actions, and not project bad feelings onto my kids. She asks if I’m sad or mad when she can tell I’m not happy. And sometimes, I don’t want her to have that feeling put onto her. Sometimes, I don’t really need her to know I’m totally fed up at cleaning her messes when I know good and well she’s able to tell me when she needs to go (she told me once on a farm and used a Port-A-John, for goodness sake). I don’t want her to think I’m disappointed in her.
As for right now, stuck in potty training hell and knowing I’ve got two more rounds to go, I’m trying to set a good example. Not just for the practical side, but also the emotional side. I want to respond to unfavorable situations positively. I want to be an example of grace as I help her correct her mistakes. I want to (figuratively and literally) clean up the mess, and try harder next time. We both need a little grace to be the best we can be.