Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some real stuff

This is going to be a Debbie Downer post. I’m warning you. I contemplated whether or not I should even post it because I don’t really like to air my dirty laundry and spend my time complaining on the blog. But the truth is? Sometimes it’s needed. This is my real. It’s the real of motherhood, of marriage and of life. It’s probably also pretty incoherent but today, I just needed to write.

I am starting out this week absolutely and entirely burnt out, exhausted and feeling helpless. Last week was, arguably, my most difficult week of motherhood to date.

I feel like I did a less than stellar job in my role as Evalyn’s mother. First, we had the food poisoning incident which obviously wasn’t my fault but definitely hindered my ability to parent my kid. Throughout the ordeal, although not being sick, she just seemed off. At first, we attributed it to her being separated from me way more than she’s used to. Normally, she goes to daycare two mornings a week for 3.5 hours each time and on the evening I work, I leave less than an hour before she’s in bed. So, really, she’s with me the majority of the time. Last week, she was at daycare Tuesday morning, all day Wednesday and Thursday morning. Wednesday was her first full 8-5 day and by the end of it, she was beside herself. She wouldn’t even go to Ev when we got home. She wanted her Mama. Add to that I ended up having to leave her with her Auntie Keik on Friday while I went to do my glucose test and she was not a happy camper.

And as the week progressed, we started to realize that maybe it was more than just the effects of feeling disconnected from me. She started showing some of her tried and true teething signs and by Friday we quickly figured out that the eye teeth, they is a comin’. And seriously, I am confident that they have brought with them some sort of demon. She is a completely different child. No other round of teething has been like this.

Thankfully, Saturday morning I was surprised to notice that the top two have cut through. We didn’t even see them coming and were totally expecting the bottoms to show up first. So, hopefully, they won’t be far behind because neither of us are sure how long we can handle this cranky pants child.

And when I say cranky pants, I don’t just mean a little whiny. I mean, crying non stop during all waking hours. And many sleeping hours, as well. This morning? Up for good at 4:45. Not cool. She will barely touch a bite of food, which is understandable because her mouth hurts. But no food = hungry toddler = cranky toddler. Vicious cycle. Thank goodness for fruit smoothies and baby food pouches. They are my saving grace right now.

The whining is epic. The tantrums are out of control and I feel like I’m walking on eggshells because I have no idea what is going to set her off at any given moment. It’s ironic because I feel like I so badly need a little break, despite the fact that this past week I spent the least amount of time with her that I ever have in her life.

I’m caught in this place where I’m struggling (often times, tearfully) attempting to figure out where the balance is between, “I know you are teething and you are uncomfortable” and “That doesn’t mean you can behave any way you’d like”. As parents, Evan and I are still working out and negotiating what our best form of discipline is. Before becoming parents we had a trillion billion ideas of how we’d handle discipline, of course. Now that we’re in the moment? These decisions don’t seem so clear cut. Sometimes her language development makes it difficult for us to get a full grasp on exactly where she’s at cognitively. She talks a lot and she talks well. So sometimes this makes us forget that she’s only 18 months old, still a baby really, and probably can’t reason as well as we sometimes assume she can. It’s seems like we’re doing this awkward dance stepping all around, trying to sort out just how much she understands in terms of behaviour = consequence. Lord help us. We surely can’t do this alone.

Last night’s dinner was probably are most challenging parenting moment to date. Finally, Evan just bundled her up and took her outside, despite the fact that it was raining and chilly, because we knew that was the only thing that would work. And when they left? I lost it. I broke down. I cried. And I prayed, pleading with God to give me patience and help us to know how to deal. It was one of those moments were you just feel like you’re at the end of your rope. Even though I know I’m not. I know that every time I get to that place, God unravels a little more of my rope and gives me a little more. So now, I just continue to pray. For patience, for wisdom, for guidance. I have a feeling this will be the theme for, oh, the rest of my life?


Happiness Is... said...

Oh I've been there. We've all been there. Thank you for being real - when we're in the trenches it's hard to see the beauty, but this too shall pass, and you are a great mom!

SnoWhite said...

My dear friend... I can only imagine what it is like to be in your shoes right now, but I wanted to encourage you with a verse I read tonight in Isaiah:

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." (Isiah 40:29).

He will and is doing this for you already. Praying for even more strength & power for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry, friend! You are a great mom even on the days it doesn't feel like it. Praying this passes soon!

Erin said...

Oh, friend! Does it help to know that you are not ALONE, even though it feels that way? When Katherine was on steroids (with an ear infection and a molar trying to come through) last week I was 'bout to lose my ever lovin' mind. Her highs were HIGH and her lows were LOW. It was a Kitty I've never seen before.

She, too, does so well verbally that I think we let ourselves forget that she's not as old as she seems, and that she...well, CAN'T reason the way we want her to! It's such a hard line to draw - giving grace when I know she's teething but also not allowing sinful attitudes and behaviors to fester and grow just because she doesn't feel good.

Take comfort knowing that our Shepherd "Gently leads those who are with young" (Is. 40:11). His grace is sufficient!

This Texas Momma said...

This is the part of parenting no one ever prepares you for. It's hard, it's stressfull, and it seems like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. I'm so sorry this week has been hard for you. Discipline will always be a bit of a dance, with what your heart wants to do (or not do!) and what your head knows needs to happen, but teething does end! Keep pressing into the Lord my friend, you are doing a great job!

Chibi said...

Oh, dear heart. :( The simple fact that you recognize you're struggling pretty much guarantees you're doing an EXCELLENT job and that Evalyn will *not* suffer even a tiny bit by whatever is going on - food poisoning, extra time away from mama, teething, etc.

You are an amazing mother: don't forget it, okay?

Love you, lady.

Taylor said...

Bless your heart, Mama! And I can relate, completely. You're doing an excellent job and this is no easy job either!! Just keep keepin' on!!

Melissa at Tall Blonde said...

Oh girl, I feel for you, but hang in there! Just think of all the wonderful moments and in the grand scheme of things, they will far outweigh the bad. Kids are tough and parenting is tough. You're great!
Everyone deserves a weak moment, a bad week, time where they just aren't feeling like they are "doing it right." I can completely relate.

Don't beat yourself up! Stay positive. You're doing great!

Katie @ Loves of Life said...

all I can say is...I get it. Love you.

Perfectly Imperfect said...

Oh hon... hopefully you both are feeling a bit better now. I can say this, 18 months was hard. And (this is funny since I JUST wrote a tantrum post), I think it gets a bit easier after that age. They get better at expressing themselves and it makes this a bit easier. Of course then they just scream their bloody, pissed off heads off. So look forward to that ;)

Shannon Dew said...

Oh honey trust me, we're all there. This moment in child rearing is HARD! I lose my patience way more often than I admit & right now? Kp is grounded from restaurants bc the last time we took her we ate in shifts, not cool

Jen + Jeff said...

I am right here with you girl!