Friday, April 22, 2016

i'm putting it all out there...

22 April 2016

You guys…I haven't read that viral blog that's been going around yet - but from some of your posts, I've gathered that it's about finding your village during motherhood, how much it sucks, but that it's all still so beautiful. So maybe I just won't read it. Maybe one of my blog posts will go viral, too. Probably not.

I interrupted my favorite chore because I was so anxious to write this. So the folded laundry just sits on my bed, instead of being put away. And, I'm never in my bed, other than for sleep, but the state of my house right now deemed that I must be in my bed because otherwise I will have a nervous breakdown from being surrounded by my house.

I'll paint you a picture: There is not one single clean inch of counter space. It is all covered with stuff. Crumbs. Mail to be filed. Magazines that will never get read. Clorox tabs that need to be put in the toilets. Toys that have been thrown and confiscated. Dirty butter knives from all the buttered toast Natalie and I have been eating since diarrhea is consuming our life. Various tools from Jason's projects. Dirty dish towels. Dirty crock pot. Crumbs. You get the idea.

Lets move to the kitchen table. Play doh. Play doh. Play doh. Dirty paper plates from breakfast and lunch. Coats hanging on the chairs. Chairs that are now on the floor because my 4 year old cannot control his anger. Chairs that will stay there until he picks them up. Garden plans and layouts. Garden how to's for dummies. Napkins. Dirty napkins. Crumbs. Under the table? Various matchbox cars and crumbs.

The living room? I vacuumed last week. Crumbs. Trash. Dirty plates from breakfast. 100 water cups. Blankets on the floor in a ball. Toys strewn everywhere, all on their side. Hand and finger prints all over the TV screen.

So I can't be downstairs right now. We got a new bed a couple months ago - it's a King. I got all white linens for it. Gasp! All white! But it makes me feel clean. And happy. And crisp. And that is NOT what is downstairs right now. So I needed to be here, to write…rather, ramble, about how much I am slowly and painfully drowning in motherhood.

Which brings me to my next ailment. Besides the diarrhea bug I caught from Natalie…

Cooper.

This boy. You guys. I don't know if I'll even be able to put it in to words. But I'm going to try. And I hope one day when he's 30, I will read this and say "Oh, Stephanie, I wish you had just relaxed and enjoyed it." Except that this post will remind me that there is no possible way one can enjoy being abused by their preschooler.

Let me back up: Last night out of NOWHERE while playing with his hot wheels garage, which we do every night before bed - we all gather in his room and play and decompress and read books and all be together - he says "You can drop me off with a new mom and dad." And I about lost my mind. It ate me up. I begged and pleaded with him that he didn't understand that NO ONE in this entire UNIVERSE loves him more than his dad and I. NO ONE. He's 4, he doesn't care what I say. And I'm starting to think that will never change.

It took me weeks and maybe months to feel the intense motherly love with both of my kids…but now? My biggest fear is something happening to them. I will not survive that. More than that, what if, in this crazy ass world, they get taken away from me? NO ONE understands him like we do! Oh, I cannot go there.

So there's that.

But there's also the fact that lately, his behavior and attitude have been abhorrent. We are trying EVERYTHING to combat it. Last week I had to put every toy he threw in a trash bag. They are still sitting in the garage. He could care less. Today, I had to add more toys to that lot, because he continues to throw things. The side of my face was narrowly spared today - if I had entered the room one millisecond sooner, it would have been smashed with a tonka police car. The dining room chairs are all laying on the floor as stated previously, because of this anger.

Anger because I have to tighten his car seat straps tight, and then he isn't able to touch the roof of the car. Anger because he lost his chance at getting a new night light for good behavior because he threw a fit due to the previously stated event. Anger because I turned the music up loud enough to drown out his screams. Anger because he threw his shoe at me while I was driving and I refused to give it back. Anger because I put it in the trash bag full of thrown toys and said he had to earn it back. Anger because I was ignoring him. Anger because I locked myself in the bathroom because he wouldn't stop pulling on my shirt, touching me, hitting me, or kicking me. Anger because he doesn't get his way. Always. Every. Day.

Where does it come from? Is it my fault? I am trying Love & Logic. I am trying the wooden spoon. I am trying a timer. I am trying natural consequences. I have tried the shock factor of smacking his face when he's disrespectful…and then he starts hitting more at school and acting out. I am now trying NOT to touch him at all. I am trying to ignore him. I am trying to model the behavior I want to see in him. I am trying to remove myself from the situation. He finds me. I am trying to exhibit self control. I am trying to talk to him calmly. I am trying to whisper when I am so angry I want to scream. I am trying to love him harder. I am trying to praise his every good choice to an annoying extent. I am trying to praise him so loud, that everyone else can hear and they all look at him proudly. I am trying to keep the TV off. I am trying to get him outside more. I am trying to limit the treats. I am trying to be in charge. I am trying to let him make appropriate choices. I am trying to let him help me all the time. I am trying to involve him in everything we do. I am trying to keep him active. I am trying to help him excel. I am trying. So. Hard.

Why isn't any of this working? Why do I feel so alone in this struggle? No one I have talked to goes through this…almost daily…with their child. The arguing. "No. I don't want to" EVERY DAY. For everything we ask him to do. When can I go to sleep at night and not be exhausted from arguing WITH A 4 YEAR OLD?! Why does everything need to be questioned? Where is the trust that I am his mother, and I only want the very best for him so that means LISTEN THE FIRST TIME.

Sometimes I feel so far beyond done, I'm just numb. I haven't cried in months. Isn't that healthy? To  cry? I can't even feel emotions anymore to cry if I wanted to. I have no village here. I don't need sympathy. I just need a village. I need people that I can call and drop him off and they will love him just as hard as I do, and not get annoyed with him or so mad at him that they send him back home and never allow him back. I have a very select few of those people here, but only in an emergency would I ask them to watch him. I don't ever want to burden anyone else with taking care of him, because I know how challenging he is. Don't even get me started on school - when he starts kindergarten I'm going to be a hot mess. Everyone tells me not to worry, he'll likely grow out of it. But what if he doesn't?!

And Natalie just sits by and watches it all happen. I'm sure I will have to repeat this whole process sooner than I expected.

You guys, the struggle is so real it hurts. I question my decision to become a mother moreso now than ever before. I'm not sure I was cut out for this. Or if I have the endurance to do it for another 16 years at least. To be owned by a preschooler is a harsh reality. Wondering if I produced someone who is not going to be kind and humble in this scary and mean world, is one of the worst feelings for me, and one I struggle with daily. Among the thoughts of ADHD or ADD or Autism or ODD or anything else in the medical diagnosing world. It all just brings me to my knees and keeps me so numb I can't even think about the positive anymore.

In a world where we are all so incredibly connected, many villages have formed. But they're all still virtual. There are so many resources and advice columns and how to's out there it makes me want to puke. How can we be so over saturated with information and still so clueless and lonely? I am trying to absorb everything, anything that could help him be a good person, and then I try to ignore it all, because a mother's instinct should know best right? Apparently not in this day and age.

I need the people who will come to my house at a moments notice and not get mad at me when my kid is a jerk to theirs. Instead, they will hug me and tell me he is normal, and it will all be ok. That I am NOT a bad mother, and he IS a great kid. And they'll be sincere about it. They won't leave thinking to themselves "well, we're never going back there again." So really, this is all stemming from a lack of confidence in myself. Another thing I do not want to pass on to my children.

Do you see what I mean? I don't think I made sense of any of what just transpired in my house. I made sense of the fact that I have NO CLUE what I am doing. That nothing I do seems to be working, and that motherhood is like looking in a mirror. I see everything in my parenting that I do not want to see in my children as they grow. It's like a sick, twisted little game, this parenting deal.

I am not a sunshine and rainbows person. Never have been. Never will be. I AM actively trying to not be AS negative, as I see the effects it has on my mirror images now, but I will never stop being real. I can see the effects of constantly nagging a child to do something or to do something a certain way - it is dangerous. I will also never be one of those moms who loves every second of parenting. I will never love it when my child hits, kicks, and screams at me. I will never look at him with a smile and say "I can see you're angry…" nope. not me. I'm just SO TIRED of the constant inner dialogue in my head…"what if i say it this way, will he listen? will this turn in to an argument? will it stick this time? will we have to have this conversation again? will he have a melt down? will this punishment ruin him for life? what am i supposed to do with this? how do i handle this situation the 'right' way? will this be the day we turn a corner?" constant. It's just constant in my brain.



And, by the way, after that car narrowly missed my face, I took him to his room, reminded him that anything he threw would get thrown away, and now he is asleep. Which is why I have the time to write this. He hasn't napped in a year, and I'm not stopping it.


I have nothing else. Nothing else to write, or say, or give. The children take it all out of me. They take it all. Still, I feel selfish. For having these feelings. For feeling so resentful and angry. When I figure it all out, they will be grown.

My most favorite boy in the whole wide world. Still so small in that big bed. It won't be too long before I'm not folding his little minion underpants anymore. I do love every inch of their beings. They are mine forever, and I'll be damned if I let this get the best of me. 

Now, I need a drink. 

6 comments:

Megan Perry said...

I want to be your village!! Please lean on me whenever you need. I may not know exactly what I'm doing either but I want to help!! And first things first, we all need to get together soon!!

Anonymous said...

Sooooo well written! You got to the heart of some of my toughest mommy days. You're not alone. I'm not going to fluff you and tell you "you're doing it all right", and that "it's going to get better", and "one day you'll miss this" and "it's just a stage" or even "you're such a great mom". IT'S NOT A STAGE! Some days we aren't great moms and we do it all wrong and the get better part is really far away and even if we miss this in the future, we don't right now. It's our daily lives right now, sun up to sun down. It is the present and we are living every long and difficult day. I will tell you that you have the most important part down already, you love him, and you cherish him, and you want him to become the man his father is with the heart of the mother who wants the world for him. Some days you do have to lock yourself in the bathroom and end the day with a strong drink, and that's ok. I wish there was a magic answer or plan that would make mothering easier but there isn't. You just take one day at a time and try every trick in the book until you find one that works, and you do the best you can each day, and some days you do less than your best because that's all you have left, and you have to know that it is okay. You are the best for him and no one can do better for him than you can. I can't promise to be there whenever you need me or to be a help with Cooper when he needs a new face, but I would love a playdate and some mom time with you as we slog through mothering toddlers and preschoolers together. Hang in there girl, you're not alone. And cut yourself some slack, there is no such thing as the perfect mother with the perfect children, it is a facebook myth that we all try to project. Cause who facebooks the bad days? And let the house go, yes it helps with our sanity, but some days a hurricane house is just what you get! Come by my house anytime, crumbs are kitchen carpet :) -Karen O.

Jessica Peck said...

Ditto to what Karen said! Every day is consumed with indecision and worry and guilt. Especially now that I am so far away from my munchkins. All you can do is the best you can. That's what makes us human and unique. This world is full of judgement anymore. There is little empathy to go around. Just do the best you can and TRY to be at peace with that.
Sending you virtual hugs and support. Wish we still lived close because I'd be part of your village. Hang in there friend.

Kris said...

I wish I could be part of your village too. And I know I keep writing this, but it WILL get better. When you're parenting a difficult child, you get so bogged down and beaten down by the day-to-day hardness of it all. Sometimes you feel like it will just be that way forever. And it really seems like it will always be SO hard. One of my favorite John Rosemond quotes got me through the hardest days and it's something along the lines of "as a parent, when your child is difficult, all you can do it keep doing the right thing." And the "right thing" looks different with every child - you just have to go with your gut feeling, keep doing what you're doing and motor along. And not place all that pressure on yourself, as if his behavior is your fault. He's his own person and is making his own choices. And try to remind yourself that YOU were chosen to be Cooper's mom for a reason. Because YOU are the best person to parent him. You can do this.

Melissa Mason said...

Well put. We have our fair share of days like this, more so than not. Parenting= f@!#in hard, there's just no easy way to put it

koalabear said...

I'm moved to tears... You are NOT alone. You are so brave for putting this out there, and couldn't have said it better. This too shall pass.