May 28, 2013

The Explosive Mother

Recently, and unsolicited, some books have been recommended to me that may or may not house solutions to parenting my difficult child.  Love and Logic, 123 Magic, and The Explosive Child are a few of the popular titles.  I have repeatedly borrowed these books from the library, and moved them around my house until they were due back.  I have flipped through them, but I can't bring myself to read them through.  Partly because if I get any time to read in a day, I usually spend those precious moments making food, cleaning something, watching New Girl, or staring blankly at the walls, uttering nonsense to myself..  If I get a precious moment when I'm not engulfed in the parenting front lines, I want to take the break.

I would read these books if I thought they would help.  But the truth is, I already know what would help.  And it isn't a behavior modification program for Shane.  What would help avoid tantrums consistent with the bed time hour, help our family to function more smoothly, and in all ways bring peace to our home, is some good old self-awareness.

While observing the loud and violent outbursts when tempers are flying here, an objective third party would have difficulty pointing the finger at the children.  I'm not saying my kids aren't completely insane sometimes.  I'm just saying there is truth to the old cliche, The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I might read a book entitled The Explosive Mother.  Lord knows, I could write it.

It's interesting to observe myself.  At first, I feel in control.  Then the whining, or even loud happy noises start to annoy me.  I feel myself start to panic.  I try.  I try!  I talk myself down, I tell myself it's just noise, you don't have to get swept up in that energy, T.  You can do this..   And then, suddenly, even to me, I lose my shit.  I lose my bearings, and I feel completely panicked and out of control.  I'm grabbing arms, and not gently, my eyes fill with hatred.  I might roughly plow someone up the stairs, and shove someone into his room.  I might swat.  I might throw a toy, which is great modelling. I might just morph into a scary monster-like being, my voice becoming biting and icy.

I don't really understand what triggers this in me.  I am working on it.  Admitting it is good progress.  A counselor recommended that I wear earplugs to take the edge off of the irritating sounds that children make.  I bought the big box.  The nice weather, and the ability to get outside has helped a lot.  My counselor also recommended that I spend 15 minutes a day chasing my kids in the yard.  They freaking love it.  It has improved our relationships.

Getting a job actually helped, too.  My time feels a little more balanced, and the time away from the kids makes me appreciate the time with them more.  Admitting this is a bitter pill to swallow, though.  Because I really thought of myself as the mom who didn't need time away from her precious children in order to appreciate them.  Once again this motherhood thing, bunking all of our preconceived notions of ourselves.

I'll take this new awareness as a gift, and be grateful for my loud, irrational, crazy children who reflect back to me my own brand of crazy.

May 13, 2013

A Horrifying, Heartbreaking Moment of Pure Inspiration

We've all had weeks like this.  Shane was home sick three days last week, I got it too, pushed through the long work weekend hopped up on coffee and ibuprofen.  My work week ended at 2am Sunday morning after 10 hours of serving tapas and wine, moving restaurant furniture and otherwise preparing for a Mother's Day Brunch I couldn't afford to eat.  I could hear Noah screaming in the bedroom before I even entered the house.  He stayed awake for another hour, the kids were up at 6, blah blah.

Church, lunch with family, all things I wanted to do and was willing to push through everyone's exhaustion for...

Not surprisingly, Noah didn't sleep good again last night and woke today with  a fever.  I spent my only scheduled three hours of kid freedom this week taking Noah to the doctor, picking up prescriptions, forcing the prescriptions down, carrying him everywhere I went.

I do my best.  I tell myself the house will get clean eventually.  I tell myself this too shall pass.  I vent to friends (thank you, dearest friends)

Tonight as I put the boys to sleep, one arm rubbing Shane's back, the other holding a nursing Noah, Shane said he bet I was a little glad that Brynn died.  I knew exactly where he was going with this before he even explained, "Because then you'd have to take care of her too."



But I get it.  It looks like I don't enjoy my life. Because sometimes I don't enjoy my life.  It looks like taking care of my children is a heavy drudgery. It looks like I'm not grateful for and in love with my children.  Because sometimes, in the drudgery of caring for them, I forget to be grateful for and in love with my children.  And my baby knows it.

What a sobering gift his words were tonight.  That kid. is. my sage.

He is my window into magical places, he is my dream world, he is my reflecting pool, he is my peace and my home.  He is the man in my life, that poor kid.

I am so glad he shared his burden with me.  It was not in vain.  This was an Oprah "Aha" moment that I believe is going to alter my approach to living forever.

My cells feel different already.

I'm going to take a homeopathic sleep aid now and get a good night's sleep.  Sweet dreams, my loves.