I remember watching my little one, playing with her as my heart melted on the floor over every little thing she did, thinking “How could any mom possibly take off and leave her babies?” After the last week or so, I get it. I really, really get it.
We’ve been lucky with our little miss. For the majority of her short life she has been a happy, easy, flexible and so-freaking-cute little girl. When she started walking and became a toddler, life seemed to get easier, not worse. All this business about toddlers being jerks? I didn’t understand what other people were talking about.
Then, last week, the other shoe dropped, and as it fell it kicked me hard in the face. I’m sure you can see the bruise if you look closely.
My “yes” girl became a full-fledged “no” baby. No matter what I do, she seems to want to do anything and everything to get my goat. If it looks incredibly dangerous, damagingly messy, or causes me pain in some way (either physical or mental), that’s what my little angel will do, with every ounce of energy she can muster.
To top everything off, it seems like I’m wearing down in every way. The lack of sleep of I’ve been experiencing for the last 19-months (actually more if you count the crummy pregnancy sleeps) is knocking me down with exhaustion and lethargy. I thought I was coping, and now it’s really hitting me.
I try to remember that this is a phase. That she’s trying out independence and testing the boundaries. That she’s challenging herself and her body to try things outside of her realm of ability (like the dangerous game of stand-on-anything-with-wheels-or-poor-stability she was playing last night, no matter how we tried to ignore, correct or distract her efforts to give us both grey hairs). I’m trying to remember to keep calm. To give her my enthusiastic attention when she does something I appreciate and to not freak out when she dumps her cup of milk on the floor while giving me *that look*.
Ohhhhhhh, that look.
That alone is enough to send me screaming from my home this week. Pure defiance with a touch of humour and “What are you going to do about it, mom?”.
I’m trying to remember that she isn’t trying to hurt me. That she doesn’t understand my perspective yet. That, to her, this whole going-against-the-mommy-grain thing is exciting. Especially when I respond with such gusto to whatever it is that’s going on. (It’s really hard not to react so excitedly when she’s about to dive off the high chair tray she just scaled, or ride the furry-tail-pulling cat ride of doom.)
This past week I’ve turned from Mommy to Momster.
Is it something I’ve done wrong? Am I failing as a mother and creating some sort of sadistic 19-month-old terror (despite how absolutely wonderful every stranger tells me I have it to have such a sweet, adorable little girl)? It seems like for every minute that we’re awake, 3.287 frustrating challenges arise. Dumping and mixing of cat food and water dishes. Climbing anything she can sneak her little toes up onto. The pinching and biting and scratching and hitting. The tantrums that ensue when something doesn’t go exactly how she wanted it to.
I feel like such a terrible mom for raising my voice, and I know that that isn’t the way to handle anything with a child – with anyone, really – but it’s been happening. Far more often than I’d like to admit.
Before, once I had thought I’d figured out the ropes on this whole motherhood thing, I felt like I was a synchronized swimmer in a pool of parenting. Now, I feel like I’m drowning.
Drowning in spilled milk. Drowning in “No!” Drowning in my own sweat and tears of frustration and anger. There are so many times in a day that I want to throw in the towel and scream “I’m done! I don’t want to be your mommy anymore!!”
But for now, I’m here. I’m holding on, and praying to any god that might hear me to please, please let this phase pass quickly. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.
I’m sorry, readers. I always try to end things on a positive note. To offer some sort of insight into how to make your life better or easier. Today I do not. Today I just need to vent. To tell you honestly what life feels like for me right now. It’s not always about sunshine and lollipops, unfortunately.
Today I’m just tired of being a mom.
Perhaps in my whining and brutally honest pouring of my frustrated little soul, you will realize that, if you are here now, too, you’re not alone.
Please feel free to vent your frustrations to me. It might help to get it off of your chest. Write a note or a sega in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or even send me an email with all of your woes. Holding it all inside never helped anyone.
And, like I am attempting to do, try to remember that “This too shall pass.”
*Update* When I originally wrote this, a few days ago, I held on to it without publishing. I was amazed at how much better I felt after about myself, my daughter, and our situation for just acknowledging my feelings and putting them into words. However, I still felt slightly uneasy to share this without something positive that might be useful to others in my situation. What can I say? I’m a positive patty.
So, while you’re waiting for this exceptionally challenging stage to pass, try to find some things that your little one gets all wrapped up in (I’m working on putting together a list of our own to draw from), and if you can find a grandparent, aunt, neighbour or otherwise responsible(ish) being to keep an eye on the wee one while you and your partner (or even just you) escape for a bit to refresh that sanity that you may feel like you’re losing. It’s amazing how much the saying “absence makes the heart fonder” rings true.
Some days are good. Some days are bad. Some days are downright crummy. And all of these hormones make each bad day seem worse.
But she’s learning how to be a part of our world, and I’m learning how to best be her mommy. A mommy who loves her and will take care of her and help support her in the immense learning journey that she’s just starting out on. I can do this. I love her to pieces (even though sometimes I need to let the dust of frustration settle to remember that).
I won’t be the “perfect” mom, but I will do my best to be there for my little girl when she needs me, no matter how she needs me (and if that means she needs me to leave her with dad so I can recharge my mommy batteries watching the sun set with some other baby-free ladies, so be it).