Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Drowning my mothering sorrows...





Some days I have to swear to myself that I'm not trying to be terrible at this thing called motherhood.

Nothing terrible has happened to any of my children, not even anything really out of the ordinary. Nothing extraordinary has happened to me, nothing that would "trigger" anything even. There are no difficult circumstances that require heroic levels of mothering superpowers. And yet, here I am feeling uncharacteristically downtrodden about mothering in general and mothering one child in particular.

I do not understand how it can be possible to love a child in all his perfect-ness from his blissfully soft blonde hair to his chubby toes, to his hilarious way of pointing out what makes him happy to his enthusiastic heart, and at the very same time wonder if it will ever be remotely pleasant to live with him.

What I thought was a stage has turned into over a year of very loud, near constant tantrums and screaming. Although his communication is improving, I keep waiting and waiting for the day it isn't exhausting dealing with him.

I know, it's not constant even though it very nearly feels that way. I know his happy moods are wonderful and happen everyday too. But I guess when my mornings and days are filled with moving from one kids fight to helping another to settling another issue here to dealing with constant irrational toddler screaming to helping a fussy baby I wear a bit thin.

It's frustrating when all knowledge of child development and intellectually knowing that it's a two year old you're dealing with, doesn't help you love anymore easily when things get tough. My love turns out to be very limited and constantly succumbs to impatience.

It's so hard on hard days knowing you're not very good at loving. To know your kids are separate from yourself, outside of your control, even at the age of 2. You can't change their stage, or development, or temperament. This remains a truth throughout their entire lives, and will be encountered again and again in this life of motherhood.

Another day, another dose of humility, another cry for grace.





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20 comments:

  1. There's one of mine that I generally find it very difficult to live with, too :( And my husband clashes a lot with that child, because of their similar personalities. I really do hope things get better for both of us soon - it makes it harder to appreciate the other children as well, since there's just a constant stream of "WHY is this child always fussing about this, that, and the other thing?" going through my head...

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  2. I love that last bit! My toddler has coping issues so similar to many issues I have struggled to overcome. Yet there is no way to translate the fruits of my life experience to a barely verbal toddler. I just have to love him through it, and most days that is hard and loud. I had a small beautiful window of alone-time with him today that will keep my 'like' cup full for a long time.

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  3. Oh man...I think we've all been there. It's so hard. I think certain personalities just clash more. I find that when one child is being especially problematic, they need just a bit "more" of me (which is SUPER hard to do, because all I want to do is run away screaming), but sometimes just some focused time cuddling, reading stories, etc. with that one child does improve things for a little bit. A wise "older' mother once told me something like "when kids are acting the worst, is when they need us the most."..something like that anyway.

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  4. I had a terrible, horrible day with my three year old. I wanted to leave her on the side of the road. I'm glad I'm not alone in the frustrating side of mothering but I don't have any advice.

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  5. "It's so hard on hard days to know you aren't very good at loving." It is so hard! My 3 year old has been having some sleep trouble lately (has been a champion sleeper prior) and my youngest just hasn't been the best of sleepers from the start. Last week after a week of fighting sleep to the late hours if the night and naps, I just sat in his room crying with him after getting so upset at him. That's a day I'd like to never revisit. :( major mama fail with the frustration, the tears, and anger.

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  6. I know you know this Christy, but you are so not alone in these feelings! Not at all. I clash almost constantly with my oldest, 6, and have for years now. It is so HARD to love him so much and some days feel like I like him so little. Frankly my relationship with him constantly tests my patience and frequently breaks my heart. But praise the Lord that, by the grace of God, my love for my children ISN'T limited, and neither is yours. One day, and one call for grace, at a time.

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  7. Hugs, Christy. I have my days too. This is beautifully written, and I hear the ache in your word. I'll be praying for you.

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  8. Hugs and I wish I could send a stiff drink or a bottle of wine through the internet.

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  9. I'm with you big time, and I don't even have as many kids or live in as cold a climate (cabin fever has to be a major element to your problem right now!) I feel very bad a lot of the time about not loving these little people enough, or not well anyway. I keep trying to channel my mother's patience, to see the big picture, to use it all as material for growth, etc, but in the end I'm just a small, selfish, weak person and I can't handle the constant neediness from others without breaking. We need to all pray for each other more!

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  10. I've been growing through the same thing so don't feel like you're alone. I'm reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block, and I feel like some of the techniques have helped me to stop SOME tantrums before they get going really good. One thing the author says is that there are basically three types of children: shy, easy, and spirited. I happen to have a very spirited daughter, and I'm learning that I have to approach things on her level more. BUT, you know, it really IS a stage. Just a LOOOONG one with some especially sucky days.

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  11. When my kids were little, I found that a bit of planned time away...even if it was only an hour, kept me hanging on, knowing I could take myself out for coffee, walk through a book store...buy groceries by myself...it was such a pleasant way to get perspective and come home feeling like I could love on them better. When I didn't have a "planned time" I felt like I was emotionally trying to get away from them. Don't if that's helpful

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  12. I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I wrote a post like this a couple weeks ago, but you were much nicer lol. Toddler temper tantrums can be SO hard to handle when they seem to be constant and you have other things that are draining you as well :-) Sending prayers your way :-)

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  13. have you checked to make sure there isn't a cause for his tantrums and delayed communication, such as illness or a developmental issue? I feel like we were struggling with our oldest's communication, wildness and inability to focus, and it turned out he had ginormous adenoids that caused sleep apnea at night, which was delaying his development. It's so easy to blame yourself but the truth is, that kind of behavior is super frustrating. it may be a sign that the kiddo isn't feeling tiptop in some subtle way.

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  14. It's been a long time since I was in your shoes (my boys are now ranged in age from 21 to 30), but I remember those days well, and my heart goes out to you. There was one of mine who could be very challenging--and he tended to be the common denominator in many of the clashes around our house; but I found that with along with that sometimes difficult personality (that tended to produce negative emotions more often than I would have liked) came a sensitive soul who could love as fiercely as he fought. And he grew out of those tantrum years, and became a calm and easygoing young man who is always so sensitive to the feelings of those around him. So take heart! When I was struggling in my young motherhood, my late mother-in-law used to always say, "This too shall pass." And she was always right.

    This is the most beautiful, touching, honest post, though. Because it's true that no matter how much you love your children, they can drive you to the brink at times. I'm sending you an eHug. :)

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  15. What a post, Christy! I wish I could reach through this screen and give you a great big hug. I'm sorry you're going through this, and I'm praying things get better soon.

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  16. I think we all feel like this at various points in our parenting - and not just parenting out littlest ones. I recently wrote something on this topic too and it wasn't about my 2 year old (she is a HANDFUL!!), but rather about my 11 year-old! There are time when we just clash with various kids. We may class with our 2 year-old this year and a 10 year old next year. Check out Titus 2 - I paraphrase St.Paul - older women need to teach younger women to love their children… It doesn't always come naturally. We can't be expected to enjoy the company of everyone around us at all times. So lower those expectations of yourself just a pinch and keep working on helping these kids grow into the big people God (and you) want them to become.
    http://peer-review-parenting.blogspot.com/2014/04/it-is-not-just-stage-your-child-is-on.html

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  17. Wait... I think we have the same toddler. The Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type? Yeah. Right there with ya. Hope you're feeling better today!

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  18. Hi Christy, I'm new to your blog. Found you through mama knows honeychild. We all have those days, or weeks...or months....."God, give me the grace to get through this!" I'm a fellow Canadian - from peterborough, but living for the time being in far off Colombia! I'm a homeschooling mom to three boys- 8,6 and 3. God bless!

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