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Crying in the bathroom

February 25, 2010

There are days like this day when I HATE being a stay at home mom. When I envy the fact that Principe has rarely seen Queenie throw a temper tantrum, when I am jealous of the women out there who get to share some gossip during their morning coffee that has nothing to do with how to make your toddler come when you say or to stay in bed. I have gone all day today without speaking to one adult except for Principe twice (who is in Madrid until tomorrow and says he may stay the weekend. Awesome.) and just thinking about that makes me want to break down and either scream or cry. I’m not much of a crying person, but you have to realize that I am almost 35 weeks pregnant here, people.

But what actually made me end up crying in the bathroom this evening was my parenting skills and the realization that they aren’t as great as I sometimes like to think they are. I’m not looking for pity here, either. I’m just honestly saying that I am starting to wonder if I am doing as hot as I think I am. So many days I look at other kids and judge their parents while sighing inwards with pride at my skills as a mom. But today, as I grit my teeth so hard that I thought they might break because the surge of frustration was so strong that I had two options: to grit my teeth or to fly into a yelling rage at my two-year old, I realize that I am not such a hot mama. Just thinking about that moment, the moment in which I realized that if I let myself do what my frustration and anger was telling me to do that I would go into a rage that could rival what I’ve seen from my sister-in-law makes me want to break down again. The fact that I didn’t doesn’t console me much either because the truth of the matter is I yelled a lot more this evening than I wanted to and I saw a look on Queenie’s face that, clear as day, read: what happened to my mama?

As I held her on a time out, constantly fetching her back and sitting her down again because she was throwing a fit for not wanting to sit at the table and eat, I wondered if it was necessary. The fact that she hasn’t had a nap today (not for any lack of trying or shutting her in her room or letting her cry it out while I have a tiny breakdown outside her room again wondering if it is really necessary) obviously had a lot to do with this evening’s problems, but I know my daughter and I know that if she doesn’t eat dinner she will end up waking up at 2am and wake up constantly until 6:30 or so when she will wake up in a hunger rage and whine for pasta or some such silliness for breakfast while I, a tired mama, try to remember patience and remind myself to be sweet because she can’t express herself in any other way. I have had these mornings and I don’t want another one tomorrow. What I want is for her to learn to sit at the table when everyone else is eating. What I want is for her to put her pajamas away when we get dressed. What I want is for her to stop spitting out food because she wants a drink of water or doesn’t like it after eating half her plate, etc. But again, as I give her three tries to put her pjs away and then send her to the naughty corner or three tries to wash her hands and then send her to the naughty corner a little voice in my head pops up to play guilt on me and whispers, “Really? You are punishing her for that? There are bigger things in this world, you know.”

Is it worth it? Am I being overly strict and ridiculous? And then I wonder, why all of a sudden is this such a big deal to me? Is it because she has pretty much always done the things that I asked of her, or because I am noticing she is old enough to know that she is outright defying me or it is because I am hormonal?

Then I see a five, eight, ten, thirteen, sixteen year old Queenie telling me no when I ask her to do something and I relax a little bit. “These things may be cute now, but they aren’t so cute the older they get” I can hear my mother telling me just as she told my older brother. And she’s right.

But more than having to discipline my daughter, to deal with her not eating or sleeping and telling me no about everything I just feel guilty. Working moms feel guilty for not being around maybe, but stay at home moms feel guilty because they understand that surge of frustration that in crazy people leads to them harming their child. I don’t and never would harm my child, but the fact that I have felt that surge makes me cry as I type this. And once that surge is gone you don’t feel proud of yourself for having controlled it, because, seriously, you would NOT be normal not to have controlled it. Because those who hit their kids are not normal and I stick by that statement. You do not feel proud of yourself. You feel guilty and down and wonder about your abilities to mother. You wonder if you should just go back to work so that you have more sympathy for your child when they decide not to take a nap because it wasn’t you trying to MAKE them take a nap in the first place.

But I have no choice at the moment and I know that tomorrow I will say that I wouldn’t trade these years for anything. But as I sat in my dark bathroom and sobbed until my head hurt all the while asking myself and God if I had what it takes, if I was being ridiculous in my discipline, if I am being too hard on my two year old, I HATED being a stay at home mom.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    February 25, 2010 11:18 pm

    Oh boy, can I empathise with this! Sometimes I start to question myself and my “rules” for my 21 month old. When I see friends who don’t require the same standards as me, I wonder if maybe my standards are too high – both for me and my daughter. I wonder if maybe she would still turn out alright if I just gave into her, didn’t require her to help pack up toys, didn’t require her to sit at the table until we have all finished etc etc. Then other times I remember why I am doing all this – I’m training her to be a responsible, caring human adult. Baby steps…

    • wideopenworld permalink*
      February 26, 2010 2:44 pm

      Just takes a lot of prayer and patience but I think we will reap the rewards one day. In the meantime, us “strict” mamas have to stick together!

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