Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I'm gonna be honest here, and it's really hard to be this honest. I'm not sure I even SHOULD be this honest. I've seen a lot of friends struggling recently too though, so here's to reminding other parents that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. This job is HARD. I have 2 wonderful, beautiful, amazing children. But they are BOTH - yes, BOTH, extremely high maintenance. The oldest is passionate, mechanically AND artistically minded, intelligent, loving, generous... so, so many wonderful things. He's also complicated. He's severely ADHD & has a mood disorder. The youngest is a toddler, which is hard enough on its own, but he's one of the most needy kids I've ever met! As a baby he wouldn't let me leave him. He's getting much better about that, but if I am around, he has to be *rightbesidemethisclosenobreathingroom* most of the time. He still doesn't sleep through the night (at 18 months) ((then again, neither does his 6 year old brother, so...), and he doesn't want to nap unless he's being held. We had a short period where he let me put him down after he fell asleep, but that's gone now. He must be held or he will not sleep. If he has to be strapped in to a carseat/stroller/shopping cart/highchair, he will do all he can to find a way out of the straps. He's been successful with everything but the carseat. So, he stands in the stroller as I walk down the busy-ish street after taking his brother to school. He stands in the shopping cart until I let him out to walk because I'm worn out from making him sit back down. Of course then he takes every.thing. off the shelves of the store. Yay. He's like toddler to the 10th power. For reals. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my children. More than anything in the universe I love my children. I enjoy spending time with them. I enjoy cuddling with them. I enjoy laughing with them, teaching them things, hearing their opinions on things... I even enjoy the rough moments (just not during the heat of the moment, of course). Buuuuut... I'm a failure. Daily. No matter how hard I try not to, I yell. No matter how much I want to be with them, sometimes I walk away & leave them upset because I just need a moment to be ME, not mommy. I have epic meltdowns myself. Usually brought on by their epic meltdowns, but still, I am the adult & should do better. I fail though. A whole, whole, whole lot. I'm trying to be okay with the fact that I fail. It's hard though. We all have memories of moments one (or both) of our parents lost it. Sure, we mostly remember the good stuff about our childhoods, but those failures sneak into our memories too. Our parents really were human. Surely my mom felt like a failure at times, but I don't think she was. My hope is that my kids think like I do. No matter what horrible, awful, no good, very bad day any of us have, our kids love us as close to unconditionally as a human can. Sure, they say they hate us or that we're "the worst mom EVER" at times... but those are the times we're doing things right, those words aren't usually said in the moments that WE feel like we've screwed up so badly that surely our kids will be in therapy for years. Funny how that works, huh? I've never been told I'm awful at the moment that I feel most awful, I've only been told I'm awful at the moments that I felt like I was doing everything right. So, lets all cut ourselves some slack here, if we really were failures, we wouldn't care enough to feel like failures. If we really were screwing our kids up, we wouldn't be around to think it. If we really were the worst mom in the world, our kids wouldn't feel like they could express that feeling to us. We're not failures, we're just human. I'm in the midst of a "standoff" with my toddler. He refused to nap w/out me holding him, so I refused to let him nap (haha, which of us is going to regret that choice later??). I got really upset, I cried out "what am I doing so wrong with these kids that they won't sleep or let me have a moment of peace???" It's not me though, it's them. They have problems of their own to work out. I am doing what I am supposed to (mostly, except days like today where I've just thrown in the towel), but sometimes some kids just need more help figuring out life than other kids. I guess these kids were loaned to me because I'm so freaking awesome at life that I'm the perfect one to help them figure it out. (obvious humor) Seriously though, these 16+ hour days I've been putting in for too many weeks lately are wearing me thin & it makes sense that I'm going to break. Who wouldn't? Anyone who gets no time alone for that many hours, especially when most of those hours are spent doing for someone else, is going to break. I'm not a failure, I'm just human. An exhausted human. Hang in there moms. We are all doing the best we can with the hand we were dealt. We will all survive this, somehow. We are not failures, we are moms. ...and those moms of special needs kids who have cried out lately, I especially want you to hear this - you are not even close to being a failure. You are a saint. To hold it together most of the time, or even just some of the time if that's where you are, takes so much energy, patience, and love. It's okay to fall apart every once & a while. It really is. You're human. Plus, you're teaching your kids how to swallow their pride & apologize when they screw up.