Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Because some days parenting is hard

Kate wrote a post a few days ago about how most blogs she reads write about the lovely side of parenting. You know, the splashing in fountains, baking cookies, and snuggles at bedtime side of parenting. The parenting that make us eagerly sign up for it in the first place. Reem shared this article with me a few weeks ago about how we often portray to others an idyllic parenting experience focusing only on the good and erasing any bad and effectively painting an inaccurate picture of parenting because as beautiful and genuine as the good times are there are some moments, and sometimes, some days, that the whole parenting thing is truly difficult.

Today is a difficult day.

Jealousy is rearing its ugly head. All humans possess jealousy to varying degrees, toddlers simply express theirs in the most primal of ways. When I see him act out-- throwing, crying, and misbehaving, my heart hurts for him as jealousy is a manifestation of one's insecurities and I hate that he should feel insecure about his position in my heart. But I also feel frustrated. Because we're doing our best to give him attention and love-- but babies must be doted on, diapers must be changed, and hungry tummies must be fed. I don't want him to feel jealous, and yet while I love him completely as I always did I cannot give him myself as completely as I once did.

So we're dealing with outbursts today from the moment he came into our bedroom and saw the little one snuggled in my arms fast asleep after a rough up every two hours sort of night. And disobedience. And two going on fifteen-year-old snarky teenager. And today as I held a wailing newborn and maneuvered to the fridge with a bawling toddler clinging to my legs and demanding milk, while I know to not miss the forest for the trees, today, in this particular moment, the trees were all that ever was, and all that ever will be.

And on days like today my mind clouds with worries: What do better parents do in moments like these? Will my eldest always feel this way towards my youngest? I want nothing more than for my children to be friends and I know too many siblings who don't get along as well as they could-- will this competition for affection be a lifelong one ala Everyone Loves Raymond? Will he grow up to resent me? And most of all, what am I doing wrong?

The logical part of me can self-correct these thoughts. Two-year-olds are boundary-testing social scientists. They are mini-anarchists. And they want you to correct their course. But the emotional part wonders, doubts, and feels incredibly guilty for not balancing as well as I believe I should.

They're both asleep right now. I'm going to drink a big cup of tea. Watch Veronica Mars. And hopefully catch some shut-eye in between with the hopes that sleep will make gentler creatures of us all. Today is a tough day, and it is not a day I am proud of, but I hope in hindsight it will resemble more a tiny pothole on the lifelong journey of parenting than the gaping crater on the moon that it feels today.

[Edited to add: If you are here via BlogHer, welcome and thanks for reading! If you like what you read please consider subscribing, I can also be reached via @aishacs on twitter, thanks again!]

14 comments:

katery said...

nah, they're all jealous at first, it's just an adjustment period, those can be rough, we're still adjusting to no naps and it's been a couple of months. i know people don't want to seem like they're complaining but seriously, i don't need reassurance during the good times, i need it during the bad times, i need to hear more stories like this when i'm struggling, so thanks aisha, you rock!

sprogblogger said...

Veronica Mars solves all ills!

Seriously, though, I'm sorry he's having such a hard time with it all. Maybe getting a better night's sleep, maybe things will ease a bit? I know in our house, if one of us doesn't sleep, EVERYONE'S a bear the next day.

And you're not doing anything wrong. Sibling rivalry is real (just ask my younger brother whom I RESENTED!) but it also fades as kids get older. My brother and I are close now, and I suspect my mother believed that would never-ever-in-a-million-years-happen. (And for the record, she's the best mom ever!)

But for your sake (all of your sakes, really) I hope it happens soon. Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Well you're not doing anything wrong!! And even if there is jealousy they will still be friends Inshallah.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for describing it all so well. I could just see you trying to make it to the fridge ... or maybe I really saw myself ;-)
Natalie

Mina said...

Of course there are days and days. What everyone is afraid to say is that most of the normal days are a mix of good and bad. And then there is the purely bad days, when all you can do is try to survive and that's it, everything else is just superfluous.
What I do to calm down faster, because the banshee impersonation never impresses my kids, on the contrary, it makes them bigger banshees than I could ever dream of being, is to go growl in the mirror. Perhaps it is the act of seeing myself do this stupid thing, but it does make me release pressure and turn back to tending to major happening like 'the baby stole my truuuuuuck' or 'wahwahwahwaaaaaaaah'.
And I cannot tell you how much I dread the holidays when George is home all day long and Stevie needs to nap when George is awake. I refuse to suffer thinking about it before this happens.
I am the best parent for my children, and I gave up thinking what others do and how they manage to be so much better than I. Comparing children is very bad, comparing parents even worse.

Mystic said...

I don't remember, but I was told by my parents that my brother expressed some acts of jealousy when I was small. Now he is my best friend!

Similarly my elder niece expressed same thing but now both sisters are like best friends...

"It shall pass"

Aisha said...

Thanks for commiserating Kate- I thought because he had no jealousy issues the first few months we were home free, but no, it just lay there dormant and has onw come to life. Things are a lot better since that bad day, but the jealousy is still there. It too shall pass, but yes, parenting is not all cotton candy for sure.

Susan, can't underestimate sleep particularly for me.. .. thanks for your understanding, I appreciate it, and why am I not surprised you love Veronica Mars too :)

Thanks Anon

Aisha said...

Natalie, lol since you have two kids in similar age ranges I'm sure you have tons of experience here, thanks for relating :)

Mina, your words are truly wise-- you are right the banshee impersonation only multiplies the banshees in the house :( Thanks so much!

Mystic, I appreciate the long view with your experience, thank you so much as always!

md said...

thank you for sharing. and thanks for the link to claire bidwell smith's article, it was wonderful. (and inspired my own post!)

hope things get better soon.

ShazasScrapbook said...

I'm not a mom so I can't offer any advice on parenting but as a middle child, I can tell you that it gets better!

My older sister went through exactly what you're describing but as we grew older, we were inseparable. During university, we became so close that most of our friends initially thought we were best friends and not sisters!

As we grew older - probably starting the age that I was 2ish - we also had our protective instincts kick in and we were always looking out for each other. We played together, we fought together and we laughed together - all part of growing up in my opinion :) Wouldn't trade it for anything!

Hang in there.

Aisha said...

Md, I will have to check your post out! Yes, I loved her honesty. thanks for the encouragment.

Shazas, thanks for your comment and your perspective as a sibling yourself. It means a lot to me!

Julia Munroe Martin said...

Sorry it was a hard day. I have to agree with a previous commenter that Veronica Mars can be the answer to many ills. But seriously, I think it gets a lot better over time expecially when you can have conversations about it. And in my experience, jealousy goes back and forth . . . and is always there to some extent (at least in my experience). Of course, knowing everyone goes throught it probably doesn't make it easier. Hang in there.

Aisha said...

Julia, thanks for commiserating and the ever important perspective that it will pass, and that its a universal sibling issue. Thanks again!

Tracey Cat said...

I remember feeling the same way. What made it even worse is that my newborn needed extra care because he was sick. Trying our best is really all we can do , and it works out in the end. They still bicker and try to get my attention- each in their own ways- and its hard, even now to take each of them alone and make them feel special but i try. they are 12 and 14 and really good boys!!

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