Thursday, April 1, 2010
I don't think I'm cut out for this...
Do you ever have those days, as a mom, when you just feel like you are failing all around?? Today was one of those days. Heck, let's be honest, this whole week has been like that.
Right now, (I hate to say it aloud, and I'm sure many mothers will beat me up for saying it, but...) although I love my kids immensely, I don't like them very much. Aubrey spends most of her day screaming at me, throwing tantrums, hitting me in the face, biting me, and being a general brat. At 16 months. Which leaves me terrified for the Terrible Two's, looming just on the horizon. Anything can set her off: I try to help her open the box of raisins she is struggling with--or I don't help her, and she can't get it open on her own--and I get a huge meltdown either way. She's so jealous of Aiden, if I try to hug on him or love on him, she'll toddle over and hit him. Yesterday, she spent a lot of time in "time out" in her crib. Those one-minute time-outs really add up when you get about 20 of them in a row for hitting people.
Aiden isn't a peach these days, either. He talks back. He argues. And if he doesn't like what I have to say, he just flat ignores me or deliberately disobeys me. He knows what he's doing is wrong, too--he's quick to apologize when I catch him in the act, before I've even said anything--so it makes it particularly frustrating. And he's so jealous of his sister, when I'm trying to give her attention or I'm tending to her needs, he acts out to get the attention he craves, even if it is negative attention. I've taken away privileges, I've put him in his room for time outs, I've given him special one-on-one time, I've talked 'til I'm blue in the face, and nothing works. I don't know how to get this to stop!
He also has a major gratitude problem. He's never happy with what I give him: I make his favorite dinner, it isn't what he wanted; I give him 2 cookies, he wanted 3; I get him X toy, he wanted Y. He cries dramatically, he whines. I take whatever I gave him away and tell him he should be grateful for what he has, and since he can't, he gets nothing. Then he melts down, and life is miserable for us all for the next hour. It is pretty awful, that your 5-year-old can make you feel that you can't get anything right.
I honestly feel like I'm being torn in two. Both of my children are so demanding of my time and are such "Spotlight Hogs" that I can't make either of them happy. It has been 16 months and I am not even close to having this "2 kids" thing figured out. All day, I'm hit, screamed at, fought with, argued with, and just generally treated with disrespect. I do sweet things for them, it isn't enough, they aren't happy with it, and they want more, more, more. And although there are moments of sweetness that keep me going, these days, they are few and far between.
The worst part is, I feel like I'm failing them as little human beings. Aiden can't go through life ignoring and disobeying, and if he can't respect authority, then what kind of person am I raising?? And it kills me to know that I'm raising an entitled brat who can't show gratitude for anything, but instead is constantly pushing for more. How will he ever grow to be a productive member of society if I can't get my act together? And Aubrey, I love her to death, I know that her strong will will serve her well eventually, but it has to be tempered by a little gentleness, too--and I can't seem to get that message across.
I don't know if it is just a quirk of mine, or if mothers universally feel this way, but when things are awful, I blame myself. I internalize it. I wonder if I'm really cut out to be a mom, if I should have just spent my life raising dogs and traveling with my husband.
And then, there is the guilt. I love my kids more than life itself, but there are days when, I hate to say it, I wish I could just go back to the days before kids, when I could actually get a full night's sleep, when I could go five minutes without feeling like screaming, when I could just think a complete thought before being interrupted by whining. Not forever--just for a little while. Just thinking this makes me feel guilty, though. There are mothers who have lost a child--they would give anything to just have that child back for a day to be annoyed by, so why am I complaining? They are healthy, right? Shouldn't that be enough?? Maybe I'm the one that has a gratitude problem, not just Aiden.
I don't have any answers, no insightful thoughts to offer--if you suffered through this blog post thinking I did, well, I'm sorry. I spend my days trying to love these kids the best I can, blundering around in the world of parenting, trying everything I know. Some days, I do OK--I manage to make it through the day without losing my temper, without saying anything snarky, and I actually have fun with my kids between the tantrums. But other days, I just feel like I'm marching in place, surviving the insanity, until I can get them in bed, trying to make it through the day without doing or saying anything that will scar them for life or cause them to spend a fortune in therapy bills one day.
Want to hear more about the Pack?
Check out A Belly in Bloom, a page devoted to Angela's pregnancy with Aubrey. You can see belly pics, sonograms, and learn more about how Aubrey (formerly known as "The Bean") came to be the lovely little girl she is! You can also find Angela's favorite recipes and newest food experiments at Cooking with the Parker Pack.