Being A Sober Mom Isn't Actually Easier
I have the cutest one year old puppy. His name is Moose, and I actually got him one year ago today on Mother's Day, last year. He is undoubtedly my dog, and no one in this house will dispute that fact.
I told my family that all I wanted for Mother's Day last year was this little puppy. My husband was less than pleased, but we drove up to the breeder's house in NH and picked him up that Sunday morning anyway. He is a Cavalier King Charles, and he is precious.
He also just recently stopped pooping in the house - his favorite spot was the kid's playroom. But, he still loves to chew my husband's shoes to get my attention when he is feeling feisty or neglected.
Moose is my shadow. He follows me everywhere I go in the house. He is always with me, as I move from room to room. He sits in front of me when I'm on the toilet. He naps with one eye open - watching me as I type right now. He is always one step behind me, making sure he knows where I am at all times. He rides around town with me in the front seat of my car in the afternoons. He sleeps on top of me in bed every single night, either on my back or on my feet - making sure to be touching some part of me at every second. If I must leave the house without him - he sits at the door staring at it waiting for me to come home. For hours.
I love Moose. He is snuggly and provides comfort in ways that no human ever will. He is my buddy. I also realize that he is the ultimate companion, because he doesn't talk back to me - like my children so often do.
But sometimes I feel like I just want to use the bathroom alone. Sometimes I want to be able to run upstairs and not have him nip at my ankles playfully when I'm running late to get to an appointment. Sometimes I want to sleep without having the weight of his 18 pound body on top of me causing me to unnecessarily sweat through my sheets. Sometimes I don't want to clean up dog poop off my daughter's carpet because he is retaliating against the fact I left him alone for more than two hours. Sometimes, Moose reminds me of the feelings I feel when it comes to mothering my human children - resentment, anger, disappointment and irritation.
When I start to resent my little Moose for having an accident in the house or for eating my shoe, I need to remind myself not to yell at the little guy. Raising my voice won't help. It's not his fault. It's a result of poor training on my part, probably. He is just a dog. He is only one year old. He can't even understand me. He is an animal. These are all the things I say to myself... I need to take a step back and be compassionate to both him and myself, and let these things roll off my back more. And then I reflect a bit harder - geez, I need to be more like this towards my actual human children too!!
Moose has taught me a lot in the last year about patience and compassion. He has also reminded me of the ways I need to approach parenting my three kids who demand the majority of my attention - way more than my furry babies do.
Brayden, Chase and Parker are my entire world. They also push me to the point of crazy nearly every single day. I know that they too require just as much compassion, patience and understanding as Moose. I have come to realize though that it's easier to show patience towards my dog than it is my children at times - mainly because Moose just looks at me with those kind, little eyes. Meanwhile, my kids shout at me or slam doors.
I find parenting to be the hardest thing in the world. Everyday, I am faced with new challenges with my three (human) children. I am pushed to exhaustion. It is relentlessly frustrating some days and other days it can feel beyond rewarding and completely fulfilling. The range of emotions is real. But... I am not hiding from them like I once was. I'm experiencing them with all that I can, every single day.
Just because I don't drink, that doesn't mean life is without struggles or challenges. Being a sober mom isn't actually easier. It just means I have the tools now to confront the problems I am faced, and I don't run from them anymore by drinking.
Everyday, I am pushed as a mother. But I know with extreme confidence, that I have the emotional strength to survive these days. I know I am better off now to handle it all than I was 2 1/2 years ago, because I am not crawling into a bottle of alcohol at the end of every day. And thankfully I have Moose to snuggle with in my evenings, when my days don't always go as planned.