Even during my worst parenting moments, I will not call myself a bad parent. It not only diminshes all of the good parenting I do, but it's just not true. I am not a bad parent, but I am far from a perfect parent. Some days, on the really, really hard days like we had recently, I didn't think I knew how to parent at all. Having young kids is tough, but usually the whining, crying, food throwing, and messes quickly transition to giggles, hugs, and goofy toddler behavior. The days can drag on, but happy hour is always right around the corner and bedtime is the light at the end of the tunnel.
The other day, I saw no light. From sunrise to sundown, the day was a mess. I was moody, my partner had very little patience, and each of our kids seemed to want nothing more than to stick to their individual agendas. And they wanted to do so with our undivided attention. The math doesn't add up on these days. Three kids needing mama's full focus at once will never get it, even when there are two mamas in the house.
But I don't know if even our attention would have helped. Our oldest was endlessly defiant, one of our twins was especially clingy and seemed to cry more than not, and our other twin wanted nothing more than to do what his big sister was doing, even if his safety was at risk. My partner and I could not get the bare minimum tasks accomplished, and we threw our hands up to doing anything other than surviving the day.