That's how I feel today. Since Aiden and I woke up this morning, all we've done is butt heads with one another, and unfortunately, this has become a trend in our household.
Aiden is such an exhausting child. He is the most spirited, strong-willed, determined child I've ever met. When he was a 16 months old, he would walk into the street and look over his shoulder for me to come and get him and punish him. Then, as soon as his punishment was over, he'd saunter back to the curb and stick one foot in the street, watching me for a reaction the entire time. Five minutes later, it was one toe in the street. Ever since then, he's been a child that tests limits. He will flat out look his father or me in the eye and deliberately disobey us, even after he's been warned he's about to be punished. He defies us, talks back to us, argues, even lies to us.
I know that many of these traits will serve him well one day, and I'm glad my son has a strong will and determination. But I also know that if his father and I don't teach him respect for authority, the importance of honesty and how to temper that will, then we are setting him up for a lifetime of heartache and disappointment. So I'm committed to teaching him how to be obedient and respectful of others, but some days, I just want to throw my hands in the air and give it all up.
There are days, like today, that I'm tempted to put him on the curb with "Free to a Good Home" sign. After an hour of fighting to get him to eat his lunch, after 2 hours of fighting him to take a much-needed nap, after carrying him back to the naughty spot for over 45 minutes (when his punishment should have taken 3 minutes to complete), I just get so tired of fighting. I start to really feel like a failure of a parent, too--I mean, I can't even get my kid to eat and sleep without a battle, much less get him to pick-up his toys at the end of the day or do simple things to help out. And here I am struggling with one child--how on earth will I survive once I have two?
I'm also terrified that one day, my son will look back and only remember me as the parent that nagged him, punished him, and fought him all the time. That he's going to think of me as the total drag that made his life miserable. I don't want to spend our entire days fighting, but I don't know how else to get through to him. I try to choose my battles and overlook the small things, I try to to fill our "peaceful" moments with kisses and cuddles and silliness, but I still spend so much time battling over the big stuff that I feel like our whole relationship has become a war of the wills.
But what else can I do? The alternative is to just ignore the bad behavior; let him get by with defying me or deliberately disobeying me. And then all I get is a brat child that makes life even more miserable. So, I guess for now, I'm just stuck with the title of "Mean Mommy" and I have to hope that one day, many, many years from now, my son will actually understand why I fought him so hard.