I am not the mother I want to be.

Most mornings, after I’ve shuttled the kids out the door with somewhat of a “don’t let the door hit ya on the way out” attitude I want to call them back. “Wait!” I think. “Come back.””Let’s have a redo. This was the morning that was supposed to be different. This was the morning I wasn’t supposed to yell.” “This was the morning I was actually supposed to be the mom I want to be. Facebook mom. Happy, loving, nurturing mom.”

Last night, it finally hit me. This angst I constantly feel. The nagging, your kid has special needs and you can’t handle that angst that I constantly feel. The one I’m always trying to fix and wish away. The one I try to drown with tears or ice cream. I finally realized what it’s all about. If I was a church- going person, a God-belieiving person, I would think that “he” put Max in my life to teach me a lesson- how to become that “sticky floor and sticky hands mean happy kids”, laundry and organizing  can wait kind of mom that I wish I was. But alas I am not (that kind of mom or a religious person), so I know it’s totally nature vs. nurture at this point.

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No matter how much I want to be that mom in my head, it’s just not in my nature. It’s  nearly impossible for me to pass by a pile of papers or crumbs on the counter and just leave them. So the fact that Max has to constantly touch everything; rummage through papers, click buttons on my computer and leave sticky milk-filled Cheerios all over the table and floor after every single breakfast drives.me.crazy.

I know he can’t help it. I know he isn’t trying to be…what?…disobedient…annoying…fresh/bad/difficult. But I grew up in a neat and orderly, place for everything type of household and it’s just who I am. Just like the opposite is just who Max is. So how do we figure this all out? How do I accept that he is the child and need to change for him and not vice versa?

By the way, I haven’t even mentioned these struggles also include Ben and my inability to ignore the incessant whining that lets me know day after day he feels overlooked, he needs more attention from me, he is starting to figure out that we all walk on eggshells around his brother.  I know the only  way to make the whining stop is to ignore it, but sometimes, usually based on all of the above, it’s just really hard to do that.

So what I want my boys to know is that I’m trying my very best, I really am. I wake up each day hoping it will be the fresh start we all need. Hoping that will be the day we call just breath and smile and enjoy each other. I want them to know that I’m going to keep trying, as long as they are patient with me, I’m going to keep trying.

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This is Me

Over on CT Working Moms, we’re taking some time to let the readers know who we really are…good, bad and ugly. Since I wrote the post a few days ago, I can’t stop thinking about things I’d add to the list. Like for instance, I really like doing laundry and washing dishes. I find the instant gratifications of a clean pot or folded shirt to be very satisfying.

So, in no particular order, this is me.

The One Where I Feel Like a Really Horrible Person

I am really short with my kids. I yell. A lot. Particularly at Max. The little annoying behaviors just build and build until I blow up. I know it’s not healthy for any of us, but I don’t have any alternative strategies.

Max doesn’t have an Autism diagnosis, nor does he have a diagnosis of ADHD or any other similar type of disorder but he exhibits many of the same behaviors. And to be completely honest, they drive me crazy. I find them to be really annoying.

I know that’s not the politically correct thing to say or the way a parent is supposed to feel about her child. I know it’s not his fault, I really do. The arm flapping and spitting are not terribly difficult to deal with. I can overlook those most times though it breaks my heart to see his younger brother or cousin mimic him…not in a teasing way, just in the “monkey see, monkey do” way that toddlers have.

It’s the lack of a “calm body”. I’ve ready books about active boys and I know hyperactivity is common in young boys. I’m seeking out help from his doctor for behavior modification suggestions. But for now, we can’t get through a book without him elbowing or kicking me in the gut or shin or face. We don’t get through a meal without spilled water or milk. When he eats yogurt, it’s all over his shirt, pants, the table. His body is riddled with bruises because he’s constantly bumping into things. He can’t resist kicking or hitting his brother for no reason or without warning. Though he does have some fine motor skill delays that might be contributing to the eating issues, I really don’t think that’s it. His brain and body just never idle. They never turn off. It’s exhausting and embarrassing and I just don’t want to have to deal with it all the time.

So this is my cry for help. Parent of kids with these kind of behaviors, how to you handle it? How do you accept it? What do you do about it?

Meatloaf

Ian and I are raising Chaz. Not the wedding/funeral crashing/picking up chicks part, but the living with your mom demanding meatloaf part. Only with Max, it’s not meatloaf (or meafloaf as he calls it). Its Milk! Snacks! Bed! Poop! It’s always yelled, usually starts before 6:00 a.m., from the other room and continues until the demanded item has been obtained (or expelled in the case of poop).

For years, pretty much since he could talk, we’ve been modeling the right way to ask for things (May I have some milk please Mommy) or withholding the item until we hear please, but it just hasn’t stuck yet.

I guess it’s time to get the basement ready and perfect my meatloaf recipe. Ma! The meatLOAF!

I Love This Article

I love this article. It really speaks to how isolating parenting can be. I’m constantly wondering why parents can’t be more honest– why mothers especially can’t just be more open about what they are going through and how hard this is. If we all just helped each other instead of trying to better than one another life might be a bit easier on all of us.

Would You Want to be Your Child?

The blogosphere is all abuzz about this post on this blog. It’s as if the universe is trying to speak to me sometimes. Last night at a rare dinner out alone with my husband, we discussed something along these lines. Lately, we’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out why our oldest son behaves the way he does. He wakes up way too early in the morning and whines way too much. Like a lot. Like for hours straight. We were discussing two instances and trying to analyze why he was behaving the way he was.

One was Sunday afternoon. Max had the stomach bug the previous Thursday, then I got it that night into Friday, then my husband had it Saturday night into Sunday. Needless to say we were all tired, cranky and not feeling well. In my mind, I was going to put the boys on the couch in front of the TV full of Christmas Specials for the afternoon. WRONG! They wanted to play, they wanted to eat lunch (the nerve!), they wanted their mother to be present. But I wasn’t, so they cried and whined.

The second circumstance was yesterday morning. Max woke up too early crying. Since he hadn’t eaten dinner the night before, he wanted a glass of milk immediately, and I stubbornly was making him wait until a decent hour; you know, 6:00 a.m. So, he continued to cry and whine and thrash about. So much so that I left him in bed with my husband, and went downstairs so I could ignore him.

While talking about it at dinner, my husband said, “I just don’t understand what’s wrong with him. I don’t know why he has to act like that.” My response was, “It’s my fault. He acts like that because I do.” So the answer is no, I wouldn’t want to be my child, and yes it is my fault. I would want a mom that is present, that plays and laughs more and doesn’t worry so much if the house is tidy or the laundry is folded. I would want a mom who wasn’t tired all of the time and spent less time worrying. I would just want to feel loved and heard and understood.

I don’t know who you are Abraham Piper, but point taken. Well done.