Thanks for listening

When I used to keep a diary growing up, and even in recent years, I always stopped writing during "bad" times. I guess I never wanted to admit, even if just to myself, that there was anything wrong. It was much easier to write about the happy, proud, excited times like when I had a crush on a boy who I thought liked me back, when I scored goals or placed well in a sport I was competing in or when I was achieving what I had set my mind to achieve. The times when I knew I was in a relationship going south, when I was worried about my grades, hating my job, or was having a hard time finding my "place" in life, my pen sat on my desk and months or even years would go by before I'd find the need or courage to write again. Maybe I thought if I didn't write about it, it wasn't a problem. My diary for many years was a confidant. Something I knew that wouldn't judge me. But for some reason, it seems I actually did view it as something I felt judged by. Maybe I didn't want to look back on those years and realized I had failed at anything.

When I started this blog I told myself that I'd write good and bad. Happy and sad. I'd write frivolous posts, deep meaningful posts, silly posts but always write SOMETHING. For those who have followed me here for a while you know that I confess to my bad mommy days, am self deprecating at times, laugh at myself and my kids and maybe complain a little too much. Because if I can't do it here, where can I do it? I have dubbed this a "mommy blog" because I find comfort in knowing that somewhere out there, there MUST be another mommy who can relate to some of the stuff in my pages. I wish I heard from more of those mommies because you really have NO idea how much it helps to hear that there is another 4.5 year old who throws tsunami type tantrums like Hannah does. Or who has a 17 month old who doesn't speak more than a few syllables that may or may not be words. I never get commenters that say, "Oh really? Your child does THAT? Mine has never." Or after I post about being really proud of Hannah for something she's done, I've never received a comment that one-ups me with their child being even better. I HAVE had real life friends like that but not here. Only commiserating, I-Can-Feel-Your-Pain friends or friends who congratulate me on the pride I may feel some days as a mom.

This mom job is HARD. Really hard. And some days I think I really suck at it. Some days I really wonder why on earth I left my job, a job that I loved (although one that I was so stressed doing that I KNEW I'd never be able to get pregnant again if I kept it which is really why I left... sorry, I digress) to do this all day, every day. And this job is the ONE job I really don't want to screw up at. Screwing up at my past jobs meant an ad might be late to press or there might be a typo on 3 million bottles of body wash or Walmart might run out of lipstick... small things people, small things. Screwing up at this job means my child feeling the need to wear hoochie mama short skirts and nipple rings in junior high school to impress a boy or funneling beer at a party while people cheer her on (oh, wait, that was me), or deciding finishing high school isn't really important. Today was the first day that I really wondered if I might be screwing up. Ever since the day Hannah was born almost 5 years ago I knew there were a few things I would be obsessively careful not to do or to do.
- Be careful how I talked about food/weight with her
- Make her feel good about herself every day
- Tell her and show her I love her every day
- Not put pressure on her to feel the need to be perfect
- Allow mistakes and actually encourage them

I had really thought I'd need to step up with most of these things when she was older. Like 10. Not 4. But I'm wondering now if I'm screwing them up already. Yes, I tell Hannah I love her every day - hundreds of times a day. I tell her she's beautiful, smart, funny, fast, and that she can do anything she sets her mind to. I don't make her finish her food, I allow her cookies and other treats, I don't tell her she shouldn't eat a lot. I don't yell at her when she spills something, or when she comes home covered in paint. We haven't gotten to a point where I'd put pressure on her to do well in school, be a high achiever, have a strong resume. But what I realized today is that I DO put pressure on her every second of every day. 4 year old pressure. "Get dressed faster, move along quicker, set a good example for Luke, don't run so fast, wipe yourself better, chew with your mouth shut, say thank you more sincerely, say you're sorry more often, brush your teeth better, pull your pants up, wear clothes that match, include everyone...." and my list goes on and on. Am I already making her feel like she's not doing things well? And when she Doesn't. Listen. over and over and over and I finally break and SCREAM at her... how does THAT effect her? How about when I scream, "You. Are. Driving. Me. Crazy." or "I. Don't. Want. To. Look. At. You. Right. Now.". what is that doing to little 4 year old her? Are each of these things destroying a piece of her? Making her lose some of her strength which down the road will hurt her (and me)? I'm worried about this (can you tell?).

I apologized to her tonight for yelling at her this morning and asked if she understood why I was so angry (for talking back to me with extreme sass and not listening to a word I said for an hour) and she seemed like she did but I couldn't help but notice some hurt in her eyes. And then I wonder if I shouldn't be apologizing because I'm the MOM and I have the RIGHT to get angry. And this is when I just start to cry. I've only been doing this for 5 years and I feel lost. I had one of those "how do people do this?" days. (Can you tell?)

So, there it is. I wrote it all down for all to read. Because I trust you. Because I'm hoping that someone can relate. I have a husband who (sometimes) reads this and I know doesn't want to know I have days like this and thinks I'm silly to get down on myself and thinks I overthink (which I think I might). I have a mother-in-law who reads this and I know also will think I'm overthinking and that Hannah is so wonderful and it's a phase (and she is and it might be). I have a mother who for the most part doesn't read this because I tell her what I write instead and she so badly wants to help me find an "answer" to my woes. And she hurts for me and with me which may or may not be what I need. Yes, I can talk to these people about my every day crap but it makes people uncomfortable to hear someone going through something tough. And talking to my real life friends about this is helpful but timing is always hard, they're all going through their own crap right along with me. But you guys, you will read this when you have time and find the right thing to say and even if you don't comment, I can "feel" your good vibes. I won't let a bad day like this let me stop writing. Because this way, tomorrow, when I have a better day, I'll feel more justified and honest in writing about it.

And tomorrow I'll be at a spa getting pampered (thank god) and you'll KNOW now that I deserve it!


Anonymous said...

OMG! You just described my last 3 days. I have said the most horrible things thinking I have scarred my child for life, that he will grow up with issues because I screamed today, "You are horrible. I can't believe how bad you are being." I even went on to rant to him that maybe I should go back to work because it is no pleasure being home with him when he acts badly. I feel TERRIBLE, but I know I will do it again on another day...that's the scary part. I always tell myself after I have a fit of rage I should just walk away next time, cool down before I speak. I CAN'T seem to do it at that moment and I feel like a terrible mom. I screamed so much yesterday that when I saw that a friend dropped off something at my door but didn't ring my bell, I couldn't help but think she had heard all the terrible things I screamed at my child and didn't want to interrupt. it always seems to coincide with pms too and for 6 months i have been telling myself to call my obgyn and see if there is a magic pms pill but can't seem to make the call a priority. maybe reading your pain is letting me admit my own shortcomings out loud to someone else- how my torturing my child tortures me. i will make that call...see, you just did something positive!

Liz said...

Everything you wrote..Everything...I could relate to! I had not realized when I started my blog that it would have such a profound impact on ME when others understood...when they said "me too"...when they commiserated...when they said "don't stress it." I feel, sometimes, more support through my blog and all those that I read than I do in "real life." Perhaps that is not healthy. But it FEELS healthy. In my blog I can be just me. I can pour it all out, and even when I cringe that maybe I will be judged, that maybe I will offend...instead you all come back and help me see we're all feeling the same things, at least some of the time. Yes, you ARE the mommy, and you DO have the right to be mad. But even knowing this, I have felt exactly what you feel. I have apologized too. And I wonder, almost daily, whether I'm doing a good enough job. Thanks for trusting us...for putting it out there for us...for sharing, so we, too, know that we are not alone. You see, in your posting, you help us too. I love honesty.

Headless Mom said...

You're so not alone. Lest you think I'm just lying, my screaming put all three of my children in tears last weekend. Yep. Mom of the year here, too.

Also, a little advice? If you're pouring on the love, admitting your mistakes, and asking for forgiveness, you're modeling that we all make mistakes and families forgive one another, and can move forward.

LZ @ My Messy Paradise said...

I could have written this, no, you are far from alone!
I wonder every day if I am creating a future monster by the way I am raising my girls. I feel bad after raising my voice, and question myself, as you do. Am I nagging too much? Is raising my voice teaching her aggression? Do I show favoritism?
It's hard, and I would worry more about the mom who never questions herself...keep up the good work!

Jen said...

Yes. YES. The pressure we put on our kids. It's awful. And yet, it's necessary at times. We are teaching them at all times, and by apologizing and talking it over with your kids, you are making huge impressions in reality. It's horrible to feel so horrible as a mom. But many don't get to the point you did. You admitted your mistakes. And that is MAJOR. (Major GOOD!)

Gigi said...

Dropping by from Liz's ( I soooo know how you all feel. My boy just turned 15 and I remember those days sooooo well. I remember feeling as though I had scarred the child for life. BUT, so far, he has been a fabulous kid. I've always admitted my mistakes and apologized when necessary. Always given him my love and expressed it. Always enforced the rule (screaming or not). If I could do the small years over I would and try to change some things. But I can't. But I look at the kid I have today and think...maybe, just maybe, I didn't do so bad. You are only human and you are going to get irate and frustrated and angry. You have to show your children that it is ok to get that way (in the appropriate ways) and then to apologize for the behavior (if necessary) and explain why it drove you crazy. From my perspective - you are all doing a damn fine job. Keep it up!

becca said...

I realized I never thanked all of you for your wonderful, meaningful, HELPFUL comments here. I took each and every one of them to heart and I love you for supporting me in my days like these! It is unbelievably helpful to know I'm not alone, so thank you.

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