I Stand With You

A good friend sent me a text last night, randomly asking me how I was. I didn’t feel up to the task of answering then because I didn’t think it’d be an accurate portrayal. I have this nasty habit of letting my circumstances or things happening around me determine my attitude (last night was bad). It’s a legitimate and real issue.

After writing my last post, I choose joy, I felt convicted about my attitude. I’ve been yelling a lot lately, and I don’t mean typical stress parenting. I mean an inexcusable unfair amount. It is because of stress, but it doesn’t have to be my response. After last night (which, seriously, was so bad), I was filled with guilt and sadness.

On one hand, we started 8 AM swim lessons and haven’t been more than ten minutes late once. All without coffee, poor sleep and a jealous toddler. This is a win. A big one. I’m Super Mom. It’s a win we get there at all. It’s a win I don’t knock everyone out before we arrive because Mommy hasn’t had her happy juice. It’s a win little one (LO) is only jealous for a few minutes. It’s a win we get to go straight to the park (or errands) after.

Wins don’t make it easy, though. You ever hear, “Never wake a sleeping baby?” That extends, I assume, all the way to age infinity. I don’t like being woken just before my alarm goes off by a frantic child telling me we’re late (never mind that we have been every day), just as LO isn’t fond of being woken before she’s hit 12 hours just to be frantically changed and rushed.

You see, there are a few things to know about me:

  1. I really like coffee. No, that’s not right; I adore, greatly esteem and obsess over coffee. Coffee gives me the happy. It makes my brain function in just the right way: not crazy. My 5 YO refers to coffee as Mommy’s happy juice; she’s not kidding.
    .giphy
  2. I’m not a morning person. I never have been. Some part of me used to think when I had kids that would change. Instead, it’s increased my dependency on the above point and made Mommy monster a regularity.
    giphy (1)
  3. Exercise is something thought of in distant terms. I have a pin board dedicated to all the workouts I’d someday like to try. I’m constantly saying things like, “Tomorrow I’ll start,” or “When [whatever food product I have most of] is gone I’ll start.”
    giphy (2)

To that first point: I’ve managed to get through lessons, a daily minimum of 1 hour park time and 30 minute errands without coffee. To the second point: see previous sentence. I’m not saying leaving the park is pleasant; there’s usually yelling from everyone, but we get through it. To the final point: this is the week the girls and I started a workout routine. My calves and abs (those things under the jiggle) hurt and it’s only been two days.

Here’s the thing, I don’t want my kids to only remember me battling them. Yes, we’re going to fight; they’re kids and I’m a parent. It doesn’t need to be rainbows all the time. I’d be an idiot to think that. I don’t want them to fear setting me off, either. I don’t want them to be afraid to make a mistake or afraid to ask me for things because I’ll get mad. It breaks my heart that they feel this way. It breaks my heart that I’m completely ignoring the Helper when I feel like I have nothing more to give. When I feel like all I have left in my bag is a hearty and lengthy scream.

It breaks my heart, and it’s breaking theirs.

When I finally responded, my instinct was to complain about my hardships and struggles as a SAHP; about how bad it’s been these few days. I realized, that’s my problem. I live in the negative too often – I need to retrain my thinking.

The bad stands out because it takes more out of you, not because it happens more than good. If you think, really think, the good is usually more frequent. I only need to think about the times my kids or husband made me laugh, or the several times a day I get to celebrate with them over something they did, or that I get to be completely silly with them. Then the loneliness, tiredness and feelings of failure aren’t so frequent.

If I think before I act on the goodness, I realize the bad is but a blip. I have it pretty darn good. I have amazing kids who’d be happier if I let them be kids. I have a husband who works hard for his family and would be way less stressed if I didn’t always complain about his lack of work in the home.

Retraining sucks. It’s hard and it’s difficult, and I can’t even think of another synonym, but it’s worth it. Thank you, friend, for asking me the right question at the right time. You don’t know the impact you’ve made.

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If you’re struggling with parent or spouse guilt, or you’re having a hard time seeing around one rock blocking your view of the unending meadow, you’re not alone.

Now, I ask: how are you, friend?

I’m with you, and I’m struggling alongside you.

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2 thoughts on “I Stand With You

  1. Dear Maureen….Some of your blogs are distressing…I am so sad for all of you!! I don’t understand all the yelling? Sometimes you have to just step back and let the girls work things out for themselves…fighting over things is natural, and actually is a good thing. My sister’s son is an only child, and he never learned to fight for anything…he is in his mid 40s now, and my sister still fights some of his battles for him…! I can remember when David and Andrew were little, and one day they were fighting over a stick that they found in the yard!! So ridiculous, it was funny.
    I wonder if there are places that you could take them, that have children’s summer programs, like maybe the public library? I suppose Vacation Bible school is over…maybe next year.
    You should be able to reason with those girls, and not have to resort to losing your temper. They are good girls, normal kids. Things will get tougher as they get older, especially if you are not coping well with them now. Just try to relax and enjoy the moments. You have a good sense of humor, and the girls love you so much!
    You should try to get enough sleep at night; try going to bed earlier!! Or take a little nap during the day when they are napping. Go outside with them during the day (while you supervise, of course) and have them ride their bikes around in the circle in front of your house to burn off energy. You have such a nice quiet neighborhood there and a great place for the girls to play.
    They are only small like this for a few years, and later on you will wish these years had lasted longer…what is more important than the time you spend with them now?
    I hope you don’t mind my advice…I just am upset that you are so stressed.
    And coffee is wonderful, but it can cause a person to become irritable and impatient….maybe try mixing regular w/some decaf??
    I love you. Marilyn

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    • Oh, Marilyn, don’t be distressed or sad, certainly not sad for all of us. We have a great life, nothing to be sad about. 🙂 My blogs are about the struggles so many parents go through. They start with the struggle and always end with a revelation/solution. Parents need a platform to vent (I actually wrote about this a few blogs back), it’s not because life’s terrible. It’s because we all feel the infamous mom (or dad) guilt and parents need a voice for that; it’s cathartic.

      Rarely is a decision made or not made that isn’t explained to them, and we also talk a great deal about everyone’s emotions and attitudes (mine included). A lot of the things you wrote about I have written posts about, and that might help explain things; just make sure to read all the way to the end – it usually ends on a good note.

      These things I know: I love my girls more than myself, I love my husband, my life – although hard, especially as a SAHM – is wonderful, and I will never give up fully loaded coffee! 🙂 This parenting thing is a learning process. I do appreciate, though, that you weren’t saying things as directives. I would have minded that. Advice, whether I take it or not and whether it’s needed or not, I don’t mind. As long as it’s in advice form.

      **Originally I responded to this point by point in much greater detail, but I don’t think this is the forum for it, considering this is my public blog and my response, instead of a comment, was the length of another post. If you’d like to read the other response, I still have it.

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