We are knee-deep in the trenches of potty training.
Lily is a sweet but stubborn three-year-old girl that has no problem using the potty at school, but when she’s home, she wants a pull-up.
And she wants mom to change it…
I thought maybe I wasn’t being firm enough, so yesterday, I wrestled her for half an hour to get her to sit on the potty.
Spoiler Alert: Nothing Happened
I stepped away for a minute to grab my phone, and by the time I’d returned, my child had hopped off the potty and peed all over the kitchen floor.
I was livid.
I began to yell and called my husband to help clean her up.
While he bathed her, I stepped aside to collect myself and clean the kitchen floor. I felt like a failure as a mother. How could her teacher get her to use the potty but not me? What was I doing wrong?
Once I’d cleaned the mess, I returned to the bathroom where my daughter was shaking and crying hysterically.
I didn’t raise my voice often, so she didn’t know how to react when I did.
That’s when I realized that my child was scared… of me…
My husband looked at her and looked at me, and said, “Do better, because this is not okay.”
And I agreed with him. It took me seeing my daughter shaking and crying in the bathroom to finally understand that I am my child’s safe space.
She feels safe making mistakes with me, and if I’m not gentle, that will change. She will start to lie and hide as I did, and I won’t be able to be there to be her rock. Instead, I’ll be a barrier to her, and that’s the last thing that I want.
More importantly, that’s the last thing that she needs.
I apologized to her multiple times at bedtime. I even held her against my chest and played with her hair until she fell asleep, but I still felt like shit.
I’d messed up.
I am, however, giving myself grace as I hope you all will, and I’m committing to doing better.
I’m committing to gentle parenting.