Some days parenting SUCKS. Here I am, the mom of a baby who died and I know all to well the feeling of despair and wanting a living child more than anything...I remember thinking that I'd never be around to watch Sophie throw a tantrum in the grocery store (silly thing, but there you have it). And now, for some reason, our family is going through some major issues and the tantrums are coming on hard and fast and all I can think about is what my life would be like without kids. Which, when you are the mom of a kid that never got to be a kid, is an awful thing to think about! But here it is: Megan is whining non-stop, Evan is not sleeping at all (therefore, neither are we) and Erin has these completely unreasonable outbursts on a semi-regular basis. When I sit back and think about it, it is all very age-appropriate...but when it all comes together in a Perfect Storm of emotion, I admit, I sometimes don't handle it well.
Take Erin, for example. Today we have been telling the girls for HOURS that we are heading over to a friend's house after lunch to help them with a house project. We made it clear that we were ALL going (i.e. she doesn't have the option to stay home) but that she had choices once there. She could sit and read, she could play outside or she could help. About an hour before we had to go, I suggested that if she wanted to help dig, she needed clothes that could get dirty. She did nothing. 30 minutes ago I suggested that if she wanted a book, she should get that. She did nothing. (Meanwhile, of course, Megan is completely not listening and playing naked in a mud puddle, but that is a different issue) So now it is time to go and we are asking her to get in the car. As usual, when faced with an absolute, she flung herself on the floor and shouted, "I'M NOT GOING! I REFUSE!" Now, if I were a good parent (as I am most of the time) I would use empathy, help her not feel so stressed about the time limit, talk about making better choices next time and yaddy yaddy yaddy. But not today. Today I took the relationship-destroying, I'm-out-of-patience-you-will-do-as-I-say-RIGHT-NOW route. Not so helpful. Now she is crying, I'm yelling and I know (as I'm yelling) that I'm doing the wrong thing. I know this, deep deep down...I get it. And know what? I can't help it. Because sometimes, I'm just mad.
Megan is the same thing--she is 5, about to start school again, feeling a little disconnected from her surroundings. So when she gets into a fit about something, and starts to whine or whatever, we try to hold her, cuddle her, give her some extra attention. Lately, she has thrown fits over EVERY LITTLE THING. It is very, very trying. Even on good days. Last night I found myself arguing with her. Actually trying to make a point while she was flailing about on the floor. Again, not a great parenting moment...because let's face it...she probably didn't get my point.
So where does this leave me? I find myself with reasons for all of it--Chris has been working far too hard lately and classes start next week for him, so he's stressed about to his limit. We are having major issues with our girls playing too much with the kids in the neighborhood with whom we do not share many similar values. This means we are working very hard to keep them happy and entertained at home--which can be a challenge--or we try to go somewhere with them to keep them away from the house--also a challenge. Me? Well, I'm sleep deprived from Evan's needs (normal, nothing I can do about it) but there is so much more weighing on me. I'm supposed to start a job this fall and I'm not sure where to find an extra 20 hours a week for that, I'm not feeling prepared to home school this year (though I'm sure I am), and, to top it off, I have that good friend I told you about who is dying of cancer. She is nearing the point where more care will be necessary and it all just scares me and upsets me and makes me want to scream at everyone all the time. Who gets the brunt of that? Yup...my wonderful husband and my phenomenal, albeit occasionally annoying, children. My children, who in truth, could not be expected to handle this family stress any better than they are doing and who look to me to know how to handle set-backs. Know what, kids? This isn't how you handle set-backs. Find another role model while I go take a hot shower and wish there was a way to do today all over again...the right way.