Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hard Days

It is 9:49 in the morning, and already today is a hard day.  People, my daughter is VERY HARD.  I love her and try to remain positive about her personality as much as I can, but I also just need to express that parenting her is very, very hard.  It is intense.  It is thankless.  It is dramatic and full of pessimism, complaining, and possessiveness (on her part).  I have a hard time parenting my little pessimist.  I mean, I am very thankful for her, and grateful that she is my fourth child and thus party to the most patience I've ever had as a parent, and mainly I simply love on and care for her wholeheartedly, knowing that most of the hard bits will pass and that my job is to help her feel secure and loved and celebrated, and supported when she is sad.  But that doesn't mean it is easy.  Or even wholly enjoyable.  She is just so incredibly inflexible, and this effectively means that my life is restricted quite a lot, in a mentally draining way.  I already parent in a manner that restricts my freedom and my life pretty heavily, and I actually prefer it this way and believe it is healthy and very good for our entire family.  It is good for us to be needed as parents, for Brent and I to be stretched and pulled and required to figure out creative solutions for things, for our kids to be surrounded by love and lots of touch, affirmation, positiveness, and family orientating activities.  We carry our babies a lot, I breastfeed long term, we cosleep, we are responsive, and we care about our kids' hearts; what matters to them, matters to us (even Star Wars Lego: do you have any idea the amount of Star Wars trivia I am party to on a daily basis???).  We also have FOUR kids.  That's four separate little lives to pour into, four quirks, characteristics, needs, wants, desires, and hearts to be attuned to.  That's a lot.  And the needier kids (Matthew and Amarys) demand an incredible amount of our focus, subtracting focus from the less needy kids (Ayden and Riley).  I'm peanut butter on toast; but there's a hellofalotta toast on this here plate, and only so much of me.
Some days, I swear she hates me.  It is so hard to keep her happy and regulated and calm and balanced.  Matthew had tons of trouble with emotional regulation too, and it really fed my anxiety disorder and we would get caught up in these cycles of anger, frustration, crying, and total emotional chaos.  I'm happy that I've grown beyond that reality but it doesn't make Amarys' difficulties with emotional regulation any easier to live with.  I handle them better but I hate them just as much.
She's intense.  She hits, bites, scratches, pulls hair, screeches, and flails.  She loses her shit every time I leave to go anywhere~ the bathroom, the office downstairs for an hour to work, the shower, the grocery store, book club, or the laundry room to wash clothes.  She is not easily comforted when she loses her shit.  It takes me a day or two to calm her down and re-regulate her after something like an evening out for book club.  Or ten minutes spent in the company of her Nana while I drive her brothers to school.  So not only is it hard for me to go (and oh my gosh, do I need to go), and hard for Brent and her brothers while I'm gone, I pay for it the next day as I navigate her anger and insecurity that I went.  I pay for it.  This contributes significantly to my feelings of entrapment, as you can imagine.
I'm doing it.  But I need to express that it is hard.  It is hard, it is hard, it is hard.

This is her, right now as I type, frantic to bang on the keyboard

But I'm so cuuuuuute, how can you complain about me on the internet?


melissa said...

I so wish I had a solution for you, but instead, I'll just say thanks. I only have the one kiddo's needs to navigate at the moment, but I can relate on my own level to how stinkin' hard that can be some days. The past few days in particular have been killer, and I'm relieved to know I'm not alone.

Ruchi said...

Kids need and needs and need and you give and give and give but eventually you will run on empty so take your break/time out mama, or you (and your kiddos) will pay for it.
Truly hearing you on this one. Check out mamabirth's blog. she talks about this a little bit. Hang in there :)

emili said...

Oh, friend. Oh, oh, oh. I could have written this post. Jonah is my ultra-demanding one. Though I only have the two boys, I seriously *seriously* struggle most days. I, too, abide by attachment parenting philosophies (it's just what comes naturally) and, obviously, the fact that Jonah has a disability should have me giving more grace to him, automatically being more patient.

Psh. Nope...

I feel like a failure SO MUCH of the time, because I just want some friggin quiet, and his cry (most times, for nothing) is constantly piercing. I feel awful for writing any of this, but... ugh, what I'm trying to say is thank you for being vulnerable and honest. It encourages me to hear another mama, who honest to God loves her children, express realness. I simply can encourage and love you from afar - the hard bits will get easier. Grace, grace, grace for each second of the day.


tamie marie said...

Oh babe. I read this post this morning and I've been thinking about you so much. I've been thinking about how mothering is probably the world's hardest job....well, maybe second to coal mining. But, no, mothering is probably harder.

Whenever I think I can't keep going--which is pretty much most of the time--I think about you, Emili, a mother named Cheryl I know, and a few others. I think about how you (and Em, and etc.) keep going, despite the fact that some days it feels beyond impossible. That helps me keep going. I feel like we are in this together, and if I give up, then I somehow fail YOU, if that makes sense. I guess I feel like, I have to keep going because you keep going.

(And I'm talking to you too, Em, although I didn't know you were going to comment on here, and I would've said the same thing regardless.)

melissa v. said...

Thank you, wonderful women. You are so encouraging and supportive and amazing. I don't know what I would do without you!!

Tamie, thank you. Thank you for being my friend and affirming the hard job that is mothering, and for loving me enough to keep me on your mind when I'm having a rough go. You are wonderful, friend. (((longdistancehugs)))

emili said...

Thank you, Tamie. I have always felt that unconditional support and love from you :)

And again thank you, Mel, for sharing your heart. You're a beautiful mama. xo!