I’ve come to realize that everyone does better, loves, thrives at parenting at different stages. Some people struggle with the newborn stage, some toddlers, or older kids. I’ve discovered I struggle with a toddler. I had no problem with the newborn baby stage. I loved every minute. I never thought it boring that he just laid there. It didn’t bother me he couldn’t talk. I soaked him up, every snugly minute of it.
Now I’m exhausted and frustrated every day. Having a toddler is really hard for me. I was having a hard time with this. When I say frustrated I mean really frustrated. I have such a hard time keeping my cool. I felt like half the day I’m trying to keep myself from blowing my top. I found myself taking lots of deep breaths. There have been many time outs for Mommy as well as Croix. I would be so tired! I just feeling like I’m dragging all the time. I felt like the only thing getting me through the day were those sweet moments when Croix would just stop what he was doing to come give me a hug, or say I love you, or do something so sweet or funny.
The daily frustration and exhaustion started to wear on me. I started thinking “what is wrong with me that I’m incapable of keeping up with a two year old without being exhausted?!” It made me sad that rather than relishing this time, like I want to I just feel like it is such hard work. I found myself just wanting to scream sometimes. At Croix, or just in the air, just scream. I would just get so angry. I felt guilty, because I love him so much, I wanted this (motherhood) so bad, and yet here I was struggling to get through the day.
I decided I needed to really look at the situation and see what I could do to improve it and what was at the root of it. I feel as though a little introspection and self-evaluation always helps me to find a solution, or at least come to a place of acceptance, healing, and growth.
I really felt like my frustration was a bit unreasonable. I felt that I should have the ability to be more patient with my little boy. So when I was in that moment of just pure frustration I tried to think why am I here? Why do I feel like this? Is it really because Croix just climbed into the sink and squeezed a tube of toothpaste down the drain? No, a tube of toothpaste is only a couple dollars, he is fine, not hurt, it’s not that big of a mess to clean up, sure I‘ve pulled him out of the sink a dozen times but he’s a toddler who is learning, I’m teaching. I could find no good reason. It was like this anger just came from nowhere, boiling up in me. I felt like I just wanted to take Croix by his little arm and smack that little butt till he would listen to me. Those feelings scared me. I have not nor will I ever hurt my child, I will not do that. I don't even spank for fear that if I get comfortable with that it would be one easy slip to inappropriate. (I even went to counseling while I was pregnant because I was having these fears that I would not be able to rise above my childhood and be a good parent.) Yet here I was thinking these thoughts of hurting him. As I sat on the floor and prayed to know why I was struggling so much a thought came into my head. It was something I had read in a parenting book. I don’t remember verbatim what it said but the essences of it was, thinking back to your childhood do you want to recreate the way your parents disciplined you or parent a different way. When I read that I thought I don’t want to do much of anything my parents did! The next line had hit me hard when I read it, but even harder as it came to my mind. If you want to do things differently then you cannot trust your instincts. You form your instincts as a result of your experiences. You do not want to duplicate the experiences you had as a child so you will have to use logic over your instincts and learn to parent better than your parents. As I sat there I realized all the anger and frustration I kept feeling were my bad instincts. I was feeling what I had seen and experienced as a child, anger. I also realized that I had not done anything to Croix that I would be ashamed of. What I was ashamed of was the way I was feeling. I was feeling that way because of what I had experienced as a child. I began to see the whole situation a little differently, rather than feeling so guilty I was feeling this was I was happy that I was controlling myself despite of that. I was doing a good job! I was not letting those feelings control me, I was controlling them.
It’s as if just realizing that has helped me to not be so angry and frustrated. Sure I still am frustrated at times, Croix’s a super busy toddler who gets into everything and is on the go constantly. But it’s almost as if when I start to feel that was I can say, no, that’s not who I am, I am better than that. Rather than getting to this point of unwarranted frustration, it’s more an average level of frustration.
As far as being exhausted, I had to refill a prescription (one I’m taking to try and help get pregnant) and one of the side effects is drowsiness! Thank goodness it’s not just me being incapable! It’s a stinking side effect! That's why I feel so tired and exhausted!
I’m hoping with this new found insight I can continue to keep from getting to that boiling point so often. I’m always surprised how abuse can rear its ugly head at the most unexpected times. It lurks in the shadows waiting to remind you of all that you’ve been through. Well thanks for reminding me, it just made me that much stronger, and more determined to be the best Mom I can!