Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I Confess

I am going to confess something to you, and I admit I'm worried how you will react. In fact, I play it through in my mind, imagining all the outcomes, full of fear and guilt and anxiety.

Here are some reactions you have in my mind in the various scenarios I play out:

A. Oh, for God's sake, ghkcole you are so pathetic. Get a grip. Enough already. I am taking you off my reader. Sheeeeeeeeesh. Whine, whine, whine. You big stupid baby.

B. Ghkcole, stop being so naive. Duh. That's life. Grow up.

C. I am calling social services to find a better home for your children, missy. They deserve better. I could do better for them with my blog tied behind my back.

D. Welcome to my world. Life for me ain't been no crystal stair, you know. Come walk a mile in my shoes and you'll learn a thing or two, dummy.

E. Oh, well, we knew that already. I mean, that much is obvious. Next?

F. For a while, I liked you, ghkcole. I thought I could relate. But you know what? I am nothing like you, and I'm really glad.

Okay, before I am consumed by this imagining, I need to be done with it and get it off my chest.

The thing is this: I really don't enjoy my children these days. I love them, deeply, every second, and I think I show that, but I'm not having fun with their childhood. I spend large swaths of time wishing to get to the next thing, futilely. I adored my newborns. And then I couldn't wait until we got some sleep. I'm still waiting. I thought I'd feel better, happier, if we could get them to play together and entertain each other sometimes for a bit. Still waiting. I thought I'd find everything a little less arduous when they got potty trained. Still waiting. I thought maybe when either of them could be trusted to play out of site of us, say in the next room, then I could enjoy some one-on-one time with the other. Still waiting.

So I still spend every minute of time that I am with them in constant, endless, management, trying to please, appease, predict, prevent, mitigate, comfort, heal, beg, urge, endure. And I don't like it. Most of my life feels like one giant chore. Carefree fun and special conversations and endearing moments don't come along nearly the way I'd expected. I'm not finding their childhood any more pleasant than my own, which totally sucked.

I hate that this is true, and I know you think I suck and that I'm doing it all wrong, seeing it all wrong. I watched two moms with one year olds talking in the hall today. They looked how I never have. They knowingly held their happy babes while managing a complex conversation with one another. I've spent five years in fight or flight mode, and now I look back and can't figure what I missed or how I missed it, and even sadder I realize I'd probably be willing to miss a bit more if we could just fast forward to a time, if there ever could be one, when my kids are still kids and I enjoy them both.

So, which letter are you feeling toward my confessional?
I expect some people will feel as disgusted toward me as they are to that bachelor guy who asked for his ring back.


Gwyneth said...

Hmm. My response is G) None of the above. And I'm really good at standardized tests, so you can't trick me. ;-)

I just wish I was around to help out sometimes - that's my reaction.

pixiemama said...

None of the above.

Love you for who you are.

Raising these kids is HARD, and it's perfectly fine to admit how HARD it is and how tired you are and how this is not what you expected.

No judgment.


Niksmom said...

Oh, my dear, you forot about option G:
Um, yes, that happens to ALL parents at some point or other in their lives —probably multiple times, in fact! I think it's especially so for parents of kids with challenges such as ours have; the general perception being that parenthood is all-wonderful-all-the-time is pure crap. It's exhausting and frustrating much of the time. But it's also sprinkled with moments of pure golden joy. You've had some of those moments (yes, you have, you've shared some of them) but you just aren't connected to them right now. And that's OK!

Keep looking for the little golden moments to hang onto, ok? Oh, and those "perfect moms" you saw in the hallway...they were just having a good day. Trust me, they melt down and don't enjoy their kids every bit as much as anyone else. Hugs, my friend. xoxo

redheadmomma said...

first off, I completely agree with Niksmom - those moms were just having one of those "the stars have aligned" moments where the kids were like lumps (and they probably then missed their naps and were holy terrors and their mothers felt like tearing out their hair. Oh yes).

It's in my humble opinion that we moms do better with some ages than others. And we're all different. For instance, I really really like the age that my kids have been at - 4 & 6/7. It's super cool, they aren't hanging on me all the time & tantruming (as much). They play together. You can reason with them. (on the down side: when they tantrum, it's impossible to move them because they're HEAVY!) I loved them as babies, but I can't say I enjoyed them as much as I am enjoying them know.
Same for you: you don't have to do a cheer for every stage they go through - you love them regardless. My shrink and I have talked about them a lot over the years, and the short answer is: you love them, but you don't have to *like* them every minute of the day.

Your thought about finding their childhood no more pleasant than your own? The two experiences are incongruous. In one, you were the child in a not-so-nurturing environment, and in the other, you're the mom. The thing is, I bet if you asked them (if you could sit down with them), they'd say they're having a grand ol' time. When they're not having their moments, ya know. We all have those.

You know who you should send on vacation for a while? Your inner critic. It's being kind of mean. You don't deserve the judgment. You are an amazing, dedicated mom who has SO MUCH on her plate with very little sleep. That's what I see.

p.s. That bachelor idiot lives in the next town over from me, and I expect, knowing the general Seattle climate, that he'll be given a rather cold reception. :)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Niksmom! I'm often jealous of bears: they can hibernate all winter and wake up when spring is back. Why can't mothers hibernate and return when their child(ren)'s problems are past? I admit it would probably have to be a pretty long hibernation... But I'm sure all moms feel like this at some point.

PBear said...

Well, everyone has already said it so well, but let me chime in anyway - cut yourself some slack! We have all wanted to sell our children to gypsies, lock them in a room until they are 18, run away from home and not tell anyone where we are going - and that's with the NT ones! :-)

I hated it when my kids were infants. Never got the whole warm fuzzy bonding moments - nursing was a nightmare, pain from day one through 18 months, no sleep, constant attention and fussing, and still of course trying to work fulltime. Toddlers - a bit better, but still not great - they don't have any logic skills, not great conversationalists, and kind of lacking in safety and social niceties... both of my kids finally potty-trained at 3 or a bit after, but that was more the daycare's doing than any success I was having... there is NOTHING enjoyable about changing a 3 year old's diaper, and I can't imagine that it improves by 4.

But as they got older, there were more and more times I actually enjoyed them. And don't get me wrong - I've always LOVED them - but as everyone else has said, that doesn't mean I always LIKE what is going on very much. Now I have an almost 16 year old NT girl - you want to have some fun, try that while you're at the other end of the hormonal spectrum. And an almost 12 year old aspie boy. And while we are still having struggles, and will always have struggles (something I have as much trouble coming to grips with as he does, some days), the balance has definitely tipped, and I do find that I like them more often than not. And actually WANT to spend time with them. Which for someone probably somewhere further down that spectrum than many, is saying a lot.

Meanwhile, don't beat yourself up. No one else is. Truly.


Erica said...

Oh, you are totally preaching to the choir. This life with kids like ours is a hard one, and some days you have to live hour to hour and cross your fingers that everyone is still alive at the end of the day.

Relax, darling, you are among friends here. Here are some virtual hugs, a Costco-sized box of Calgon and some wishes for you to catch a break to recharge every now and then. Is there anyone you can call in for backup on occasion?

ghkcole said...

You are all so good to me. Erica, thanks for the Calgon. PBear, thanks for the hugs. Suzymom, the bear thing? I love that. redheadmomma, you give good reality checks, and i'm sending that critic on a cruise. niksmom, thanks for reminding me of the good. pixie, thanks for the love. and gwyneth, thanks for not choosing any of the other letters - from where you sit, i see how silly i could look. now, can i borrow the nanny and housekeeper please?!
you are all appreciated lots.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank goodness that I'm not the only one that feels that way sometimes...

kristi said...

Ugh.....there are days,let me tell you, that the mere sound of my sons voice makes me want to jump through a closed window. YES A CLOSED WINDOW.

Kate said...

Gayle -- I guess I'm thinking H. H would be "Thank you for your honesty. As someone hoping for a pregnancy in the near future, I'm scared of all of those things and can't imagine where I'd find strength to deal with these and perhaps more benign facets of motherhood. We all struggle to handle our own dramas as gracefully as we can -- and then there are days we're kicked in the pants. or shins.

sending you a hug,