I’ve been stuck in a very low point in my parenting the past…oh I don’t know, MONTH?! I have not so slowly become the type of mom I never thought I’d become. The mom who has unkempt hair (ok that’s just a given for me), ill-fitting clothes, an exhausted look on her make-up free face & a sharp edge to her voice that always seems to be raised in frustration. I hear myself talk to Baby Bee sometimes (especially this past week) & think “Good God that CAN’T be me!? I sound so ugly & mean!” I imagine what my face looks like to my small, equally frustrated son & I feel like shit. I soften my face, take a deep breath & try to calm down. But then he throws the 100th temper tantrum of the hour, or tries to bite me & I’m back to Mean Mommy. I never wanted to become this. I never thought I would become this. How did I get here?!
My son has never been an easy child to raise. I blame most of this on the stress level I was in during my pregnancy & especially the first 2 months of his life when we were breastfeeding & my world was falling apart. Add his genetics to this & it’s a perfect storm. He is high-strung, strong-willed, extremely sensitive & (more than) slightly obsessive. Okay, so I just described myself…. Which is probably why it’s so hard to deal with him sometimes. It’s next to impossible to calm & soothe a stressed out, angry, non-communicative 2 year old when I am just as stressed out & angry & trying to figure out how we’re going to survive the next week, let alone months. I read all these amazing articles about Positive Parenting & helping your toddler communicate & think “Yeah I can do that! It makes perfect sense! I’m going to be one of these moms! Hooray for us!” And I implement the practices for about….oh 10 minutes. Then my temper flares & we’re both in tears again. I know there is no such thing as A Perfect Parent, but I don’t what to be a Shit Parent. And I feel I am dangerously close to being a Shit Parent.
Baby Bee has the biggest brown eyes that are so full of life & pure JOY…until Mommy freaks & he is crushed. Then those big brown eyes turn into dark pools of hurt & confusion & “you-are-the-worst-mommy-ever” feelings. The last part could be my perfectionist nature accusing me. Or it could be really how he feels at that time. I do always try to apologize & explain WHY I was so angry, but that doesn’t take back what I said or, more frequently, how I said it. Raising Baby Bee has been one learning experience after another, and unfortunately for him, I only learn things the hard way. I am terrified of damaging him, of ruining his chances of a successful & happy adulthood. Because let’s face it, the odds are already against him…he’s from a split family, is in the low-income bracket & is exposed to God knows what at the Drone’s. My one & only goal in this whole parenting thing is to protect him from the bad stuff & give him the skills & resources to RISE ABOVE & be an upstanding citizen. All that strong-willedness & high-strung tendencies are not necessarily bad traits to have. He is not a quitter & definitely knows what he wants. I suspect he could be a CEO of his own multi-million dollar company if that’s what he chose to do. My boy is TENACIOUS if nothing else. But it’s up to me to show him how to channel all that energy into good things, instead of destructive or mean things. How can I do that when I don’t even know what to do with my own nervous energy? When I show him time & time again that when we’re angry we yell & slam around the house? I believe that emotions are GREAT things for kids to acknowledge, identify & own….even the ugly ones. I let him see me cry & I let him see me be angry or frustrated. But I need to figure out how to do that in a healthy way that won’t destroy his trust & his feeling of safety, but teach him how to deal with those potentially scary feelings. I guess first I need to figure out how deal with them in myself, before I start teaching it. But HOWWWWW? God, this parenting shit is f’ing hard!
I know I’m not alone here. Nobody ever feels like they have Mommy/Daddyhood figured out. And if they do, they’re liars. But it just seems the more I realize I’m screwing up, the more I actually continue to screw up. We are in a vicious cycle of frustration & fear, Baby Bee & I, and I’m worried it will only intensify after he returns from Christmas with the Drone (ugh don’t even get me started). He’s frustrated I won’t/can’t let him do what he wants & he’s afraid of….well everything really. I’m frustrated he won’t listen & fights every little blessed thing & scared of breaking our bond with my anger & Mean Mommy Face. I feel like we need an intervention.
I just keep trying to do my best, but lately it’s been hard to find my best. It’s buried underneath the exhaustion & panic. Or maybe, worse, my best just isn’t good enough. I just hope we’ll pull out of this & find higher ground before he gets old enough to remember it.
I guess I’m done whining now. Really. I’m just trying to get my footing here…figure where to even begin to help my boy. To help me. And writing is my therapy, my self-help tool. Truths come out when I write, even ones I don’t want to admit. And I decide to air them over the internet….’cause that makes SO much sense!