**Before I even start this post, I want to add the disclaimer that this is in no way a confession that I abuse my daughter in any way, shape, or form. That’s not it at all. This is a post about the days that I am not the mother I want to be, not a post about abuse.**
Most of you know that I have struggled with depression in the past and, while I don’t have weeks or even many consecutive days where I’m down, I do have days where I’m just off, where nothing is right in the world and I am just a little ball of misery and nothing can fix it. A lot of the time, I can muscle through, knowing that if I can just make it to bedtime, tomorrow will be better.
Last Tuesday, Christmas Eve, was one of those days. It didn’t start out well. I woke up in a terrible mood, missing my mom and hating the holidays. The three of us go downstairs and LB climbs up into her daddy’s lap and proceeds to kiss him and hug him and tell him “La loo Daddy!” These are not things that she usually does with me. (Read: It never happens.) I sat there, thinking about how no one in the house except Ethan gives a flip about me. DB tried to share the love, telling the Littlest Brewster “Go give Mommy a hug!”
Naturally this made me cry and tell him “I don’t want the dregs of our daughter’s love!” (Melodramatic, no?)
And the day just got worse from there. For those of you with kids in daycare or older kids who are now in school, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that the longer LB is out of daycare, the more disobedient she becomes. I don’t understand it, but it’s true. I think it may be akin to the way children just run amok by the end of summer vacation. At this point, LB had been home with just us for 4 days and was getting downright stroppy.
But only with me.
For the most part, she is fairly well behaved for the DreadBrewer. I think this may be due in large part to the fact that DB is
a pushover a bit more lenient than I am, so they butt heads less frequently than she and I do. I know I’m the strict parent; I knew going into this parenting thing that that would be the case. But damn, sometimes I get tired of arguing with someone who’s entire grasp of the negotiation process consists of “No!” or “Mine!”
So there I am, in a terrible mood, with a toddler who’s decided that anything Mommy suggests is a bad idea and she should not do it, under any circumstances or for any inducement.
Change her diaper? No, thank you.
Take a nap? You have got to be kidding me.
Eat the delicious and nutritious meal that Mommy has prepared? Oh, hell no.
Clean up her toys? What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?
By the end of the day, I was done. Done. And this is where I totally lost my schmidt – and I have been beating myself up about it all week.
I told her and the DreadBrewer that I was done. I didn’t want to be a mommy anymore that day. I wanted to just go away.
Thank God, the Littlest Brewster (precocious as she may be) does not have a sufficient grasp on the English language to have any clue what I was saying. But the DreadBrewer knew. And I think I may have shocked him just a bit.
And, while I know that most all parents have days where they feel like that, I worry that I wasn’t able to keep it together a little bit better. I worry for when LB is older and can understand what I’m saying. How much will it hurt her if I lose it and tell her I don’t want to be Mommy anymore when she knows what I’m telling her? What kind of damage would that do?
I do think that two good things actually did come out of Tuesday. 1) The DreadBrewer got to see first-hand that I’m not making it up when I tell him that LB is better behaved for him and that sometimes she’s downright awful for me. And he acknowledges that he is perhaps more lenient with her and maybe needs to be a little bit firmer, so that expectations are consistent across the board. And 2) I got to see that my coping skills are not quite up to par. I know that there will be more days when I feel like I’m done, when I feel like I don’t want to be a mommy anymore that day. I need to work on better ways of dealing with that, rather than just yelling or crying. Because the guilt from having done both of those things is eating me up.
My friend Julie over at I Like Beer and Babies had a post last summer that really struck a chord at that time and seems pretty applicable to this situation – Parenting: Perception versus Reality. Rereading it now, I know that I’m not a bad mother. 99.9% of the time I do a pretty darn good job. Heck, if I’m honest with myself, I think I do a pretty darn phenomenal job. And I need to be little bit more forgiving of myself the times that I’m not perfect.
But it’s hard. Especially when I feel like I failed so spectacularly last week.
The new year starts tomorrow and maybe that will be one of my resolutions – to be more lenient, laid-back, and forgiving not only with the Littlest Brewster, but also with myself. I think if I could accomplish that, 2014 could be that happiest year at our household yet.