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?