Wednesday, March 27, 2013

the week(s) in which I feel like a failure.



Oh sure, it's nothing new. All moms feel like failures at one time or another.

It still stings.

Perhaps because becoming a mother is so much more than a personal journey. These little lives are in our hands. Literally. They see the good, the bad, and the very ugly.

Sometimes I feel like when I blog about parenting I'm usually saying, "this is rough." and sometimes I feel guilty about that, because I don't want to be thought of as whiny or a downer.

And sometimes I feel like a stinkin' schizophrenic - trying to give guidance and discipline firmly on one hand and then smiling and encouraging them on the other - it's a little exhausting!

And it IS rough.

This is the first time in my life that I've EVER mothered toddlers, two toddlers at that. Two toddlers being consumed with emotions they can't control and power that they're learning to wield. Two toddlers with colds that zap their energy and huge molars jutting through their jaws. Wouldn't I feel just a little bitchy, too? I know the answer is yes.

These last two weeks have been the hardest yet. Tantrums, snot, bad sleep, travel, a rental house with unexpected problems, and a husband working at a new business that takes him away most of the time. It all feels like a little too much, and I feel myself cracking at the edges.

With Andy's blessing, last week I packed up the girls and left for my parents for a little respite from hectic Portland life. I'm trying to recenter and actually practice the basic principles of Peaceful Parenting (I am doing a series on it, after all) along with so much prayer for patience and fortitude.

And a confession? I've swatted spanked Afton. Twice. Both times for getting upset and throwing her plate. I HATE when they purposefully throw food. It really, really gets me and I do take it personally because I tell them, "when you're done, just tell me that you're all done (make the all done sign) and I'll take your plate!" and then BOOM, on the floor.

*Stabs Self in Eyes*

Each time I felt terrible and asked for her forgiveness and told her that I'm really stressed and unsure of how to respond to her when she does something that I asked her not to do. I told her I don't want to spank her but in those moments I just don't know what else to do.

She didn't really cry, just kind of looked at me with a blank stare. That was the worst.

I'm still unsure of how to deal with the throwing food situation, and I'm searching and praying for guidance, because it is a stumbling block. It may be a small something for some people, but for some reason I take it personally. Still working through that one!

And giving myself grace in this area - even though I've compromised myself in the way I want to parent, I still realize that remaining open to them and keeping my heart soft is the most important thing. So apologizing is an important and necessary step for me. Along with being honest with her about why I'm angry, even if she doesn't completely understand.

Sigh.

All this to say, these past two weeks have been incredibly difficult and when (when?) we reach the other side, I'm going to be extremely thankful.

Aaaaaand my fair share of this:







16 comments:

  1. I can hardly put into words how much reading this post meant to me. I finally felt a little less crazy myself after seeing that it sends you into uber frustration mode when your little ones toss food on the floor! My toddler does THE EXACT SAME THING! And I also have taught her how to say all done in signing and thankfully, THANKFULLY she's beginning to sign more often than not, but food still ends up on the floor at times and she KNOWS not to do it, but it's that impulsive toddler thing and having no ability to use fore thought 100% of the time and even though I know this, it is, just like you, said a little nutty. And goodness, food is expensive, especially organic food.
    Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for sharing. It's such a comfort to read that I'm not the only one struggling with the same thing.
    xo
    Eleanor

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting - and Yes, it seems that we are all having the same issues with our littles so it feels so good to have camaraderie when dealing with their craziness - and I am a little neurotic about not wasting food, cuz like you we buy organic and it is definitely a sacrifice within our budget!

      Linda below commented about how I should definitely have her help me pick up the food she threw so she gets a sense of cause & effect and natural consequences - and I have to say, it worked and really changed my attitude. I wrote the same thing to a commenter below, but it really did satisfy my "need" for a little justice and she was happy as a lark scurrying around picking up blueberries and putting them in my hands. Weird kids! :)

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  2. Oh my girl seriously right there with you! My 20 month old is testing the boundaries like crazy lately and it doesn't help that my patience is about zero because I'm 7 months prego.

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    1. There seems to be a consensus that 20 month old toddlers are ALL 1) testing every boundary 2) Throwing all their food. Sending good thoughts your way because I know I was exhausted at 7 months and I could lay on the couch all I wanted!

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  3. thanks for sharing this, meg. i've had those weeks you're talking about (and w only one little stubborn scowling sweetheart) and i know you know you're not alone -- and it affirms to me that i'm not alone. so thanks for being honest about what you're going through so that us mamas can continue to rally around each other and find inspiration in others' stories in the midst of crazy toddler-dom.

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  4. I think a simple thing to do if you haven't already is to atleast have her pick it up. That's personal responsibility for her actions. It might take some time for the trigger in you to go away, but having her clean it tells her there's natural consequences. I have to say you're doing great though, no one is perfect and the fact that you admit that puts you ahead of the game. Hope things start calming down for you guys.

    Peace and Hugs,

    Linda
    lindagiangregorio@rocketmail.com

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    1. Linda, thank you so much for this comment. It seems so simple but I never even considered doing this - so I did it today and it was almost miraculous! She was happy to help me pick up her food and put it gleefully into my hands. It doesn't change the fact that I don't like that she does it, and it doesn't change that she still does it, but it helps me realize that it isn't a reaction against me when she does, and is teaching her natural consequences. So thank you, thank you :)

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  5. The food throwing really upsets me too. I still haven't figured out how to discipline Pearl for that. Things have been crazy here too. I am working a full time freelance job mostly from home which means I'm taking care of Pearl, but also trying to get in 8 hours of work on the laptop. I have to start working at 5:30 in the morning for it to even be possible. Anyway, that's why I haven't called you about dinner. My house is a serious disaster. Maybe we can plan a dinner out?

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    1. I can only imagine how tough it is to try and juggle this! How long will you be doing your freelance job? I'm down in Medford until the work on our house is done - another week or two - so don't even worry about dinner :) If I get back and your still freelancing I'd be HAPPY to have Pearl come over and play with the girls so you get some uninterrupted time!

      PS - I tried Linda's comment from above about having them help me pick up the food they threw and it seriously made a difference in my attitude. My sense of justice was satisfied and they were happy to help! :)

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  6. Hi Megan,

    You're doing such a great job. Really. That's a LOT of change in your house and a LOT of stress. You're working so hard to love your babies well. I'm sorry that you spanked your little and I know I've done things I regretted too (pushed Lina when she was biting her sister/brother) or been harsh with their bodies when they are hurting each other. It is the worst feeling.

    My twins do and did the same thing, too. And I felt the same way, too. One thing that has been working for me is leaving the room and having my own tantrum.

    I find that these BIG responses on my part are things that need to be released and let go...so I will excuse myself and run into the other room or bedroom, close the door and YELL and STOMP and CRY...about everything. And I say the words that I would like to say to the girls like "I AM GONNA BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF YOU!" (because I dont REALLY want to say that to them) and I hit my bed.

    And then I come back and I could care less about the food on the floor. And I find that I can sit down with the girls when they are eating, tune into them and I feel like myself again. It's like permission to release it all back to God, knowing that he will listen to my tantrum and show me how love works-so I can listen to my own children when they need to have theirs.

    You're a really good mom.

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    1. Oh man, 2 + a 5 month old, I'm still in awe of you! Leaving the room for your own tantrum is something I've done and probably need to not feel bad about doing now - if it keeps me from doing things I'll regret later, then it's something I just need to do! A few times I have put them in a crib together and just went in my room and shut the door and laid facedown on my bed for a bit. That helped, too.

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  7. You're a superwoman! You're mothering two toddlers! Its long hours and you don't get a break -- especially with your hubby working. I have a 2 1/2 yr old and a 5 month old so I can empathize a little.
    As for the food throwing -- you're very brave to admit you smacked your little one! It makes me feel a bit better thats for sure...its really hard when you just don't know what to do right then and there. When my first went through the plate throwing phase (and remember, it IS just a PHASE -- I don't know many 12 year olds that throw plates of food on the floor when they are finished), I ended up just taking his plate away. First it was watching him like a hawk to see catch him right before he threw it, then i just found it easier to take the plate away completely and give him his food on his tray or table (table covered with a plastic, wipeable mat). We were living in a fully carpeted apartment at the time so I couldn't risk food being ground into the carpet. I began reintrodcing the plate around 18 months and by that time, he seemed to have forgotten about the plate throwing 'game'. It was a game after all because I think he was enjoying the reaction of seeing how fast he could get mum to move and then what sort of face would she make this time. I know its anti-baby led weaning too but I did (and sometimes still have to) hand feed him when he's having food/eating issues or he's tired. It saves the mess. I'm all for self learning but I'm all for self preservation of mummies too! Whatever you need to do!

    Hang in there Mama!
    Rachel
    www.redcatinn.com

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  8. What great suggestions you've gotten here! So far, Lorelei hasn't done any food throwing - not sure why, and knocking on wood right now - but of course all toddlers have their little behaviors that push our buttons and make us cray-cray. I recently asked my mom to come stay with us for a few days and having that extra help around the house made SUCH a difference! It's so hard being a mom sometimes - unlike an office job where you can walk away and say "I'll deal with this tomorrow," you are 24/7 on the job as a parent, and especially a SAHM who gets little time away from her kiddos.

    Have you read either of these two posts? http://lovetaza.com/2013/03/its-ok/ http://crappypictures.com/parenting-i-quit./

    Thinking about you and sending you peace!

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  9. Thank you for writing this post. It made me feel better as I want to be a gentle parent, but am feeling overwhelmed with being 'good' at it right from the get go. There is a learning curve and sometimes we revert, but it's nice to see an honest post about that part too!

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    1. Hi Jana, thanks for the comment. You're so right, and It is always a work in progress and definitely does not come naturally to me...although I'm hoping that by the time they're older it will be more second nature :)

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  10. I just found your blog, and can't tell you how thankful I am that you shared this experience! I don't have allot of people in my life to share my feelings about being a parent to 2 young kids, so its sooo nice to read and relate to someone else! Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone!

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I appreciate your comments and conversation - please leave your email address when commenting so I can respond! If you want a direct response, you can also email me at meg(dot)kimmelshue@gmail.com.

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