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Sunday, October 20, 2013

tough stuff

I don’t know if I’m being dramatic, but I am feeling deeply discouraged tonight.  Parenting is so hard.  There are some days when I feel on top of things, more or less, and can go to bed believing that I’m doing things right.  I’m instilling values, facilitating the drive for learning, reading, praying and cleaning together.  I’m making plans for socialization, developing motor skills and creative play.  The gamut of childhood experience is being addressed and I’m tired.  What do I do then when it all feels like I’m failing despite my best efforts?

From very early on, Molli has not been a “by the book” kind of kid.  Myles and I were part of a parenting class and always left feeling more lost than before because the guaranteed solutions for the various issues of infancy through toddlerhood fell short in our home.  We’ve been making things up and figuring things out as we go, praying that we don’t mess everything up. Like usual, once I feel like I have something about her figured out, it changes and new issues arise.  Honestly, it’s exhausting and I am struggling to find answers to the subjective parenting questions I’m facing. 

I have been blessed to stay home with our kids but sometimes there is so much pressure.  It’s the same pressure toward perfection that I’ve always felt and have always fallen short. All of the typical household things combined with raising kids is a lot. I feel like I should be able to do all these things with relative ease but of course, once I feel like things are smooth, it crashes and I am in the dumps about it.  I am no good at this!  I love being home but I have no idea how to not let these things control me.  How do you get a three year old be nice? To share? To obey? To love, be apologetic, sincere, responsible and caring? I want to instill love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control in her but I don’t know how.

We spend all day working on things and I really don’t let things slide.  Back-talking, hitting, not sharing, yelling, refusing to clean etc all get some level of discipline and I feel like the meanest mom in the world sometimes!  Timeout! Nose in the corner! Say you’re sorry! Pick that up! We don’t hit! Yell, yell, yell.  I’m sick of it! And when did I become a yelling mom? Would more spanking help or make it worse? Do I take away her toys until she learns to take care of them and clean them up? I know that I have memories from when I was 3 years old and it would absolutely break my heart if her only memories from this age are of me nagging and her sitting in time out. 

Tonight felt a little like a blow from someone I care about and respect on many levels.  There was a statement made indicating that I am not doing enough in terms of discipline.  It was an innocent statement, not intended to hurt, I know that, but it did.  Somewhere imbedded in those words were an indication that I am not good enough.  I am doing my best but I sometimes feel so lost. The details don’t matter.

These kids are the most cherished, precious part of my life and the investment of a lifetime. When it’s all said and done, I can just pray.  I pray for my children to be spared the memories of my failure and that the things I do right resonate and stay with them in their little minds.  I pray that my actions will reflect God’s loving persistence toward His disobedient children.

This feels like a very “woe is me” post.  I don’t mean for it to be, but I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  If you have any genuine, heartfelt advice, please share.  We are open to whatever creative methods that might be floating around out there.  I have no intention to raise perfect kids, but I do want to watch them grow up knowing that I’ve done my absolute best, and I’ve sought out the counsel of others who have been though this. 

1 comment:

  1. Sweetie, I'm not a mother but I work with kids enough to know that it's very difficult. I also know you're being unnecessarily hard on yourself. You want to be the best mom you can be....I don't think that's part of your struggle with perfection. I think that comes from loving your children and wanting what's best for them. Parenthood is terrifying and I honestly don't know if I want it because who knows what's right? No parents are perfect and all children grow up with issues.

    My dad did a lot of yelling for the entire eighteen years that I lived with him. I felt unheard for a long time, but I always knew how much he loved me. He has always been my rock. I wouldn't take back a single second of my life or wish for any less yelling. Especially when we were little, my dad's philosophy was that it takes two to cause a problem - so if anything happened, got broken, didn't get done - we were both punished. And rightfully so. If something didn't get cleaned, homework didn't get finished ect, it's because we were distracting each other. It never seemed fair. It made me angry. Children need those boundaries. It sounds like you're doing a great job - she just sounds like a child who's going to take a little longer to learn these things. Doctors may say she has add or adhd....look at different food options. Changing diets can help kids who do have those things. Most likely, she's just being a kid. Some grow up faster than others. Some are natural helpers. Some just want to have fun - and not do anything else - for a few years longer. All are different. Just keep breathing.....and I would suggest a vacation - some place just for you if Miles can swing it. Just take a weekend or a full day and do something you love, something you haven't done in a while. Mani-pedi, spa day, camping, just stay in a hotel with some girlfriends...You're going to be okay.