Friday, March 21, 2008

good friday, bad day

Sometimes I feel like the world's crappiest mother. By the time he went down for his nap this afternoon, I was on my last nerve, and it's pretty well shot just like all the others.

In the course of the morning, Daniel tried my patience in the following ways: Drew on the coffee table with his crayons. ... Crawled up on a dining room chair while I was on the phone in the kitchen and removed all the tulips from the vase, breaking off several of the heads and throwing others on the floor. ... Kept trying to crawl into the bathtub while I was going to the bathroom, despite my persistent "Feet on the floor, please." ... Threw a tantrum when I ushered him out of the bathroom. And, he's started hitting me when he doesn't get his way. Each time, I felt my blood pressure boiling, and my patience flying right out the window. Of course he was curious about the flowers. He didn't hurt himself, so I shouldn't be so upset about a bunch of flowers, right? (The fact that he's not allowed to climb up on the table is a separate issue, but he's only started doing it in the past few days, so it's still new to him, and he doesn't quite get what his limits are yet. Not that we're not trying, but this boy is stubborn.)

Then, the coup de grace: After being ushered out of the bathroom, he went back into the living room and began banging on one of the windows with his wooden hammer as hard as he could. That's when I just about lost it. Envisioning the bloody, shardy mess that could ensue if my son succeeded in breaking a window, I yelled in a panic from across the room, "Daniel, stop that!" Over and over I yelled at the top of my voice, and that boy did not stop, did not even turn around to look at me. It was as if I wasn't even there. I could have sworn he was acting out because he was pissed off at me for ruining his fun in the tub, and that made me even madder. (You see? I react. It's not healthy.) Finally, I reached him (it took a while because I didn't have my cane) and grabbed the hammer out of his hand and told him, still yelling, that it was not OK to bang on the window. He got pissed off again and threw his pacifier on the ground. I started crying and fell onto the couch, and then he started crying, and then we were both staring at each other, equally distraught, and I came back to him and picked him up, and he clung to me like a scared little boy.

Then I pulled myself together. We sat back down together on the couch, and I explained to him in the best, calmest language I could that I used my loud voice because I was scared when I saw him banging on the window because glass can break and be very sharp, and he could get hurt. "Mommy was scared," I said, and he nodded. "Mommy scared." He seemed OK after that, and when we played with the hammer again after lunch, to pound some balls through holes, he said, "Bang window," in the way he does when he's reflecting on something that stuck in his mind.

I'm sure he's bored stiff with me these days. We rarely go out anymore — I just don't have the energy to take him anywhere except play group or places with Steve. (So we do go out at night sometimes.) Sometimes I don't have the energy to do anything but play with him from the edge of the couch. I live for the couple of hours a day when he naps because then I have my time to myself, and I feel free. I just don't feel like one of those natural mothers sometimes. I certainly don't keep the house as clean as I wish I could. It feels cluttered and dirty in here, and all I do is sit with my big belly hanging out and look at it, wishing for magical powers that would let me move things into place with my mind. Maybe it's exasperated by the fact that it's been snowing all morning — that heavy, March snow that comes down hard and wet. Heart attack snow is what they call it because it's so heavy to shovel. So it feels all the more clausterphobic to be stuck indoors.

I know I should cut myself some slack, being so pregnant and all, but on days like these, I wonder how on earth I am going to take good care of two kids, let alone one. Daniel demands so much focused attention. What is it going to be like to tend to him him while also nursing, changing and holding an infant? I can't even imagine. Am I really ready for this?


LutherLiz said...

*Hugs* I'm sorry it has been such a rough day. I cannot be easy to deal with all of the pregancy/baby wait and a toddler too, especially when you can't move really well. Hopefully the rest of the day will be better and you can have a lovely weekend. I'll give you a call!

kristine said...

Wow, Emilie. You have summed what I have been feeling lately in your post. This is *EXACTLY* how I feel lately. Graycen has also been pushing her limits (which is normal) and it has been pushing my buttons! I cry because of it and know just how you feel. You are a great mother and it's perfectly normal for you to feel the way you do. I also question my ability to handle a toddler and a baby when Parker comes. It will happen and flow a lot better than I imagine we think it will be. Just breathe and know it *will* be ok. He is a toddler and learning what is and isn't ok. Unfortunately, it is just something they do. Kids don't learn how to be well behaved kids on their own. They do go through the naughty to get there.. :( Hang in there.

simplicity said...

It must be something in the moon cycle as my almost two year old son had an AWFUL day today too pushing my every last button and now as I hear him talking in his bed I could scream "GO TO SLEEP" but know that would do nothing. Thankfully it's Friday, the weekend and my husband is home. I need a break!

I think I found you through a Cribsheet comment you left awhile back. Very sweet blog.

Jo on the go said...

Ohh, I love reading about the honest, bad days. Seems like mothers have selective memory when I say, "So, should I do it? Is it wonderful?" and nobody ever says the bad things. So it's nice to see some balance although I wish it was always all roses for you, Em. You do all that you can do and then you make peace with the fact that it is enough.

Can you get a cleaning service just once a week? We have one, and I am so spoiled. It's wonderful to have a clean toilet and stove and countertop and not be the one scrubbing it. I asked Scott if I did get pregnant and decide to stay home if we would have to give up the cleaning service. He said no, we would get them twice a week because the more time I'm home, the more time I have to be messy.

:-p I am messy. But then again, at the end of your days, will you worry about that? Will you say, "I wish I had vaccuumed more..."

A big, big, e-hug.

Marketing Mama said...

Oy - sounds like a tough day. I hope you both are in better sorts tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

I haven't contacted you in awhile but I've been keeping up! There was a full moon in MS last night so I guess you had one too. Don't you remember how it brought out the crazies when you were a roving reporter? I don't know how you'll manage a toddler and newborn and recuperation either, but you will. You didn't know how you'd manage any of your other challenges until you reached them, but you did and continue to do so. Sorry you can't be perfect, but apparently your myriad friends (including me) and family are either satisfied with the absolute mess of a human that you are or you have bamboozled the others into thinking you're pretty terrific as is. Have a glorious Easter tomorrow. xxx--mdm in Greenville

Ahuva Batya said...

Em, I'm so sorry. I hope you don't take this the wrong way, and please understand I'm NOT comparing a puppy to being a mother. OK? But on a much less important level, I have been experiencing this with Dora and I can sympathize with losing your patience as your limits are being pushed, then questioning whether you are a "natural." I"m so sorry yesterday was so hard, but from what I've heard it's only normal for you to get to that edge; it's probably what Daniel is looking for. Last night I ended up SCREAMING at Dora after she pushed button after button and finally pushed one too many... at immediately questioned my ability to parent. So I feel for you, in that way, but you are an amazing mother and tomorrow will be better. (HUGS)

Anonymous said...

Emilie, you should see the way my house looks most of time...NOT clean, I assure you. I have actually been thinking about the cleaning service idea lately. I know exactly how you're feeling as far as your last nerve being shot, and then reacting in a way you're not proud of. For some reason, I've been doing it a lot lately. Maybe it is just the LONG winter getting to us, and in your case, the hormones, fatigue, pain, worry, etc. Try to go easy on yourself. You are a good mother, and you will continue to be a good mother when your little one is born. It will be a challenge (especially in the beginning), but you'll figure it out. You are ready.

Shannon :)

Emilie said...

Just a quick note to thank all of you for your encouraging words. They really do mean so much.

Ellen said...

It's okay, it sounds like it was a bad day for both of you and that's normal. When the baby is born you will be able to physically get around better, and Daniel will love having some responsibilities of caring for his younger brother and it will help you out a lot too.

Monkeymama said...

I raise my voice with Rebecca much more now than I am happy with. Once I yelled, "Just leave me alone!" I felt horrible. It is harder to be right by her side, guiding her gently, especially if she acts up while Joe is screaming.

But, out of the blue today she told me that I was her best friend and that she loved me. A few days ago she told me that she likes being a big sister.

So, we get by. You will too. On Easter I was thinking about how the past 3 years with Rebecca went by in a flash, but I groan if I really think of all we'll have to get through between then and now for Joe. Moms really do focus on the good memories I think.

Anonymous said...

Em, I know you already know this, but you're a really good mom. Seriously - I'm not just saying to make you feel better.

You make a strong effort not to yell at Daniel, and to contain your patience while around him. I've been over to your house, and I notice how you consciously breathe right around him, in order to keep control and not take anything out on him.

Even the Good Friday episode wasn't too bad - you at least were not in the same room with him when you yelled.

- Susanne

Anonymous said...

Oh - I just re-read, and I guess you were in the same room when you yelled, but you were at least across the room. You did NOT, nor would you ever, yell in his face. And that makes you a good mom.

Michele (Moosh) said...

Oh honey, I'm right there with you. I feel like the mother of the year (NOT) with Madeline lately.

I feel like I've become the "shouty" mother I never wanted to be...I'm just so sleep deprived with Alex and it's like Maddie's taking great pleasure in sending me off the deep end.

Hang in there. Seems like so many of us are going through this right now--probably because our kids are all about the same age! It's nice to vent and know you're not alone, huh? HUGS