Thursday, May 26, 2011

And the award for Worst Mother of the Year goes to...

I have a serious problem.

And admitting it is the first step. (No, I'm not talking about my addiction to carbs)

If you're not in the mood to read the ventings of a hair-brained, stressed out mom, then you might want to stop right here. If you fancy pity-parties from someone who is a little beside herself for no good reason other than mothering children, you're at the right place, my friend. Just remember I warned you.

Sometimes I don't feel cut out for this whole motherhood thing. And it's not because I don't love it. I do. I wouldn't trade what I'm doing for anything else in the whole world--not even being the author of a New York Times best seller. It's almost scary how much I love my children and my heart literally skips a beat when I look at them.

But I'm exhausted and stressed and overwhelmed, and I'm just not sure how to recharge, because it all builds. And builds. Taking care of three tiny kids all day is challenging, especially when it feels like their goal is to bring me down to the utter depths of losing-my-mind-ville. (Wouldn't that be a cool Facebook ap?)

And today they won. They shot me a hundred times over, then did a victory dance on my twitching, unkempt body. (Did I say unkempt?)

And here's what gets me: I'm sure my kiddos aren't any more difficult than anyone else's four-, two-, and zero-year-olds. Every mother of multiple children goes through this, especially ones who don't have any extra help. Everyone has children whose ultimate goal is to make your life miserable (but can mysteriously show they love you at the same time) by defying your every demand until you sound like a broken record and want to vomit at the sound of your own voice.

I'm not even sure I know how to talk at a normal volume anymore (Jacob Silj comes to mind, hehe). Because it seems that the only way they'll listen to me, in the rare instance they do, is if I raise my voice. And I hate raising my voice.

So if this is so normal, and thousands of other moms are dealing with the same, completely normal and acceptable things I am--

hands/arms always full * anything and everything interrupted with yelling, screaming, crying, or reoccurring "mommy"s (Family Guy anyone?) * being pulled on, yelled at, hit, spit on, target practice, laughed at (in the humiliating way), and defied from five a.m. until eight p.m. * taking ten minutes to load the car and feeling like I've just packed for a month-long trip just to go to the grocery store * never-ever getting a single break (not even while sleeping since I have a nursing baby) except for maybe a five minute run to the grocery store or to the post office when the husband gets home from work

--then WHY do I feel like the only one who's losing it?

Gosh, nothing means more to me than when I'm having a stressful day and my four-year-old, who I just yelled at and sent to time out, hugs me and randomly says "I love you." I love the fullness I feel when they're in my arms, and that fullness can cure anything. But at every other moment throughout the day, the pressure is building, and by the end of the day I want to explode. And sometimes do.

And I don't know a healthy way to let off the steam. I honestly, truly feel like other mothers handle it so much better than me. I mean, we are moms. That's what we do. I've accepted that my days will be like this for a long long while, and that until Luke is older I just will not get a break because it's impossible. I've accepted the fact that they will get up at five a.m.

So why, when they do, do I flip out as though it was the most horrible thing that could happen?

Is it because I'm so exhausted that I can't function? (What the crap am I doing up right now when I should be sleeping?? Oh yeah...basking in the quiet) Or is it because I'm just not cut out for it?

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have a bit of a temper. And it flares bad when the kiddos stress me out. I'm talking, one tiny thing goes wrong and I fly off the handle. Steam shooting out of my ears, face reddening, uncontrolled curse words flying from my mouth as though I've been taken over (though mostly under my breath).

Like I said, I have a problem. And even though I roll my eyes at my husband when he brings it to my attention (Because, really, who wants to hear that you're a danger to your possessions every time a door is slammed?), I do want to get better.

I want to be more patient. I want to be calmer with my children when they are impossible. I want to be okay with the fact that it never-ever ends. I want to be able to handle it deep inside when I feel at the very end of my very frayed rope, instead of feeling like I've absolutely lost control and the only outcome is exploding or running down the street screaming. And since the latter would be considered child abandonment, explosion it usually is.

I need your help, ladies. Anyone. I've got to get a hold of myself and learn how to "just breathe," or I might end up like this lady here.

Does anyone have any suggestions for stress relief--suggestions that are actually doable with three small children and no way to get away? What has worked for you?

And, please, please tell me I'm not alone here. I know most of you are a stone's throw from perfect, but if there are any others out there with an extremely short fuse, tell me I'm not alone. That way, I just might forgo nominating myself for the Worst Mother of the Year award.

(And no, there is no such thing. I hope. Because if there was, I'd have to prepare an acceptance speech, and I hate public speaking.)


~Beck~ said...

I don't have children, but when I get stressed out, I do a couple of things.

-Breathing mediation in place. There are a couple great ones out there, I'd suggest starting out with anything by Thich Naht Hanh, Jack Kornfield or Pema Chodron. They all have great meditation tips that you can do while doing every day things.

You may hate me for this next one, but have you husband help out more? I don't know to the extent he does help out, but seems like you are losing you mind sometimes my dear. See if he can give you at least an hour a day away from kids (and not just when they are sleeping). Maybe have playdates for the kids?

Take at least one day off a month to yourself. Get a babysitter, have your husband or family watch them. Take time to recharge.

I know a lot of people may think I'm stepping over-bounds here, but I think these things are VERY important to staying sane, no matter WHAT situation you are in.

T. Sipes said...

I try to walk or call up some of my friends and kids friends to go to the park for a little while. Sometimes just getting out of the house and every day routine helps refresh and recharge me. Even when I have to take the kids because I have adult conversation. Now that school is out we will be spending lots of time at the park. Call anytime you need anything.

Amber said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one losing it. I'm not sure I did anything BUT yell yesterday.
...sounds like you need a date with your husband. NOW. And at least every other week. Expensive, yes. But way cheaper than counseling.
I'm serious. Tim's gone all weekend, so I have nothing planned. I'd love to take your kids.

Jen said...

It's like you're taking the words right out of my is SO hard some days!!! I've written on my blog about it too. Running for SURE helps me,(I go at 5:30 a.m., so I'm not sure that's doable for you). I've been known to lock myself in the bathroom with a can of Coke (or beer depending on the time of day) and some chocolate, as long as the kiddos are safe in the other room, it's all good. Other times I turn up some music really loudly to drown everything else out. And the yelling thing? I need help with that too.
It's so, SO nice to know I'm not the only one that is going through this!!
P.S. that picture of that crazy woman made me laugh SO HARD!!

Monk Family said...

When I have days that Emily pushes me to the point over and over where I explode and yell, by the time I put her in bed at night I feel like a rotten mother. Two nights ago I talked to Steve about it and he told me that the reason she pushes till I explode is because she knows that's my breaking point so he suggested creating a new one that doesn't involve yelling. Time outs don't work for her, I feel guilty when I spank, so I didn't know what to do. He suggested sticking her nose in a corner-so I've tried it the last two days and know what?? IT WORKS! For her atleast. She HATES standing there with her face in the corner with nothing to look at or play with. I've only had to do it 3 times so far and just the threat works pretty well for now. I'll have to let you know how it goes. Stress relief? Sounds weird, but when I'm having one of "those days" it's because I feel like I'm not accomplishing anything so I'll pick up the house enough to be satisfied with it then I play with my kids. Whether it's hide and seek, coloring, blocks, or just laying on the floor playing tigers and tickling. The laughter and feeling less guilty about being lazy because I'm so GOSH DARN TIRED usually does the trick. One last thing, I have my favorite treat hidden in my bathroom cupboard (dove dark chocolate) and when I need a break I go in there lock the door and eat a square, silly I know but I consider it my reward for keeping it together! I'm glad you wrote this post, I needed it! It is really nice to know that moms AREN'T perfect even though a lot of them try to "seem" perfect. They're not. And it's annoying that they try to make us think they are! I just love you Jenny; I look up to you so much and wish I had the chance to get know you better while you were here! Thanks for being a mom I can look up to and learn from.

The Smaellies said...

Jenny, I have been meaning to comment, but I have been waiting for a time when I had both hands free to type.Being a new mother of 3, I am struggling with some of these same issues, so it is nice to know others are dealing with it too.

One of the things I try to do every day is get in the shower and get myself ready. It seems silly but it really helps me to feel like a human and better deal with the day. I, like some of your friends, am guilty of locking myself in the bathroom with a can of cold diet pepsi and taking a "time out" for myself, but when my sanity is on the line, it is a good solution.

Some suggestions for the kids: Not starting your morning at 5am. Black out blinds, white noise machines and one of those clocks that have red and green lights or sun and moon to indicate when it is ok to get up and out of bed. I am a list person, so chore charts for kids, tasks for the day/week work for me and motivate me to get stuff done. It also helped us to turn off the tv, although it is such a good babysitter sometimes. color pictures, edible playdough, build forts, play makebeleive and get outside and let them run around. I am also a huge believer in nap/quiet time, it is my sanity!

I too and working on the loosing my patience and yelling, but some of the things I have been testing out is deep breathes, tickles, love and kisses. Poisitive reinforcement seems to be working better than the yelling.

Also try to take some time for yourself. Have Dave watch the boys, at least the 2 older and let you leave the house and do whatever you want. A date night would help too. Babysitters are expensive, but it is important to feel like not only a mother, but also a wife and a woman.

Best of luck Jenny, hope some of the suggestions help!

Anonymous said...

oh dear.... I spent the better part of two years alone with my 2 boys who were 4 and 2 when their father and I split.
I understand that moment when you realize that they've "won" and do their victory dance. Oh so well. Because when it's just you (and I am the ONLY disciplinarian of the two parents) it's really hard to not give in at SOME point just to make the insanity stop!!!
I have ZERO patience and found myself apologizing to the kids constantly because after a really tough day when all I wanted to do was put my feet up and have a glass of wine, I had to do homework, make dinner, have bathtime, read bedtime stories, clean up, make lunches for tomorrow... and I hadn't even changed out of my WORK clothes yet!!!
You are NORMAL.
Tell that wonderful, supportive husband of yours that you need a coffee date with your girlfriends and set it up.

And bitch about it on here.

Hey - you've got a new fan. You're JUST like me ;)
(pretend that's a compliment)