Surviving The Strong Willed Child

man oh man, i have been writing this post in my head and heart for years...and i'm sure i will continue to write it for many more to come. i had no idea what i was getting myself into when that little plastic pregnancy test revealed a positive outcome.

don't let that smile fool ya...surviving a strong willed girl
don't let that smile fool ya...surviving a strong willed girl

sinclair was  determined from the womb to dictate her path. she is on her journey and will not be swayed. and while i recognize that this is a fantastic characteristic for an adult it wreaks havoc on a mother--mentality, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I just knew she would be the first child in history to remain in the womb forever. that girl was in no hurry to get out. i had a scheduled induction, a week after my due date. the hospital called and said there was no room for me at the hospital. mary complex, maybe? no but seriously, did she have the hospital staff under her spell? the next night, we checked in at the hospital thinking that what was to come would be easy. throughout the night, nurses raced in because her heartbeat reached low levels, and after an ultrasound revealed she was breach, i was rushed in for an emergency c-section. that girl. crazy. she was literally chewing on the umbilical cord when the doctor pulled her from my belly cutting off the very life support that i gave her. and people, she has been doing that ever since. she screamed from hours and weeks, unable to make content. something was in her driving her to push for something better, something more. she refused a bottle and then when she made up her mind, she refused me. potty training was an absolute nightmare. i am scared for life. i'm pretty sure that is when wine became a friend. y'all, i just knew she would be the one kid on history to go to middle school in diapers. no offense, but i wanted to punch those people whose kids were potty trained with a simple reward of a sticker. and then there are the fights. tantrums. meltdowns. i have laid on my closet floor in the fetal position crying more times than i can count. she has made me question everything--myself, my faith, my heart. there are days where i know i'm not cut out for this. this girl, full of passion and glory, is determined and strong willed. she wants it her way, and she will fight me to the finish. i remember waiting for her to turn 4 when she was 18 months old. not sure why, but i thought she would be easier, better. boy, was i wrong. this is who she is. and as hard as she is, she is good. she is glorious. she is kind and full of compassion. she is my biggest amplifier. she amplifies my positive qualities. and she amplifies my negative qualities. what i am in part, she is in full.

i'm writing this in the trenches. i have not crossed the finish line. there is still a ways to go for me but maybe i am a step down the road from you. maybe you are just as weary as i am. i sat here tonight thinking about surviving my strong willed girl. here's what i've learned so far...

to survive a strong willed child, you will need: coffee. jesus. wine. :-) my favorite print says "all i need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of jesus." amen and amen.

.... in all seriousness, there are a few things that i've learned along the journey.

remember the good. it is so hard to remember or even notice the good. most days i am worn out. i'm tired of repeating the same thing over and over. its easy to miss the times that she is kind to complete strangers. she wants to know who they are and their story. what a good quality to care for people in such a way. she brings a smile to so many people that just pass up by. its easy to miss her helping her younger sister. i have to remind myself to say yes sometimes. my girl hears no so much on a daily basis. let her build the fort. let her play with every single toy she owns even if it means i have to help her clean up.

its not about winning. my strong willed girl loves to fight. she wants me to engage. the times where i know i've crossed a line and reacted and disciplined in anger have been when i wanted to win. i wanted to be the last word. in those intense moments, its hard to not take it personal. she has hurled words at me that break my bones. sometimes it feels like i'm fighting with a teenager and not a six year old. i have to resist the temptation to fight back. i never thought i was an angry person until i met this girl. she can bring it out. i have never been pushed like this before. i want to defend myself, my rights,  my position. but i have to resist. i need to resist that temptation. she will fight with all her might and then in an instance, she is over it. she goes back to happy girl and laughs and loves all the while i'm slain on the bedroom floor. i feel disrespected. i feel hurt. i'm not ready to forgive and move forward. but i have to play the part of a mom who isn't affected by such insults and turn to her with love. and finally, love them the way they feel loved. my girl's love tank is filled by time and attention. she's not a snuggler. we always laugh that you will be injured by her if you try to get physical affection from her. it just doesn't come natural to her. let me just say that quality time with little people is not my jam. it feels almost foreign to me. playing barbies or pretend play puts me to sleep. seriously, boring. but that is exactly what fills up her little heart. the times that i have pushed aside my selfishness and got on the floor to give her 20 minutes of undivided attention, she glows. sometimes all they need is whatever fills up their love tank.

i am no expert, except on maybe failing in this department, but i do know how to recognize my mistakes and what is true. i know this girl is going to great things as long as we don't kill each other in the process. what about you? do you have a strong willed kid? what have you learned?