I have to admit everyone's right. Being a parent is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I've learned so much about myself these past couple of years; some things I like, many I don't. I feel like I need therapy now, but I can't afford it, so I'm trying the next best thing: writing and sharing with family and friends.
This past year has been really tough for me as a parent. Parker started tantrums early, around one year of age, and they've continued to escalate. My health has been all over the place with my thyroid issues and my injured back and I've been using those things to excuse my number one issue right now: rage. Since my health has been stabilizing lately and the rage still comes once in awhile, I think there's more of an emotional aspect deep down that brings it out rather than a physical one. It doesn't come from thin air, it does need some provoking to come out, but still, I don't feel like I can excuse it anymore.
Monday, as an example, Parker wanted to go outside to watch Dada's truck come home. Since he didn't fall asleep during his quiet time, I thought it would be best to get his bath done early to be prepared for an early bedtime. I told him we could go out to meet Dada's truck if he took a really quick bath first. Of course, getting him in the bath is a struggle, but we managed OK. Then, once he was in, he was having a lot of fun and didn't want to come out. I explained to him that if he wanted to meet Dada's truck in time, he'd have to come out. He didn't seem to care, so I let it go for awhile and let him play some more. Long story short, it finally clicks in his head that he wants to see Dada's truck, but by that time I knew Jake would be home soon and we wouldn't have time so I told him that unfortunately because he didn't get out when I asked, he wouldn't get to see Dada's truck. He started crying and throwing a huge fit and refused to get out of the tub (at this point the tub was empty, thank goodness). With my back hurting, I didn't want to just reach in there and pull him out unless I absolutely had to. With him sitting there wailing, ignoring any reasoning I tossed his way, I could feel the anger creeping up and up and I knew I needed to step away for a minute, but I couldn't. I was afraid he'd get hurt if I left him alone. So of course I didn't leave. I opened up the bathroom door thinking if he got cold enough he would want to get out. It didn't work, he just wailed on and on, nothing I said hitting home. Then it happened, I lost all control. I dragged him out and gave him a whack on his bottom, which surprised him but of course didn't help with the crying. As much as I didn't enjoy doing it, I do admit I wanted to hit him. I was so angry at him for being so stubborn, for being good only when he gets things his way, for being EXACTLY LIKE ME! The spanking event ruined my night and I stressed about it the rest of the evening. I stayed up late mulling it over, and woke up early mulling it over.
I know anyone who spends enough time with me knows this without my saying, but I am an anal control freak. I think to some extent I've always known that about myself, but I never realized how much of one I was and how much it negatively affects others until I became a mother. Honestly I can't even stand myself sometimes. I hear things coming out of my mouth and I wish I could just duct tape it shut. I wish there were really such a thing as a chill pill that I could take. I don't handle stress well. My reasoning shuts down and I do and say things that even I don't understand.
So I'm trying to be open and honest about my rage problem. I don't believe in spanking in general. Growing up with it, I don't think it really works, and it was not in my parenting plan (there I go again, needing to follow a plan) to use it. But I know that if someone chooses to use spanking as discipline, it needs to come from a calm, in-control place, not one of anger. There's a fine line between spanking and abuse, and that line is easily crossed when one is in road rage mode. I know all this, but I let it happen anyway.
I truly think the anger comes from disliking myself, from doubting myself as a wife and mother. I always want to excel at everything. I've always set the bar high for myself from getting good grades to working hard, etc. You'd think that working hard would be enough to make me feel proud of myself, but I also want to see good results from my hard work. It drives me crazy that I can do things "by the book" and it won't work on Parker (like napping). It upsets me when I spend hours working on a meal only to have it turn out barely edible. I feel like I need to have the place in tip top shape when the hubby gets home because that's my share of the work load, and when I have those days when it just doesn't happen because I either felt like crap or had a hard day with Parker, I feel guilty... and then I feel angry for feeling guilty.
When I go through these things, I start having flashbacks of my childhood. I don't want to say my parents were bad parents, but I do think there was a lot of dysfunction and in general, quite a few scary things that happened. I don't want it to be like that for Parker. I'm so afraid I'm going to damage him and he's going to grow up resenting or hating me. I know I'm not the only mommy who worries about this, but I can't help feeling a little bit alone in all of this sometimes.
But seeing as how this is supposed to be Thankful Thursday, I do want to end my Therapy Thursday (haha) on a more positive note:
*I'm thankful Parker and I had an awesome time together on Tuesday... he slept in late, took an almost two hour nap, and went down easily for bed (let's not discuss Wednesday).
*I'm thankful I was able to sit down last weekend and get three weeks of blogs done (excluding my Thankful Thursdays).
*I'm thankful Parker woke up talking two times this week instead of crying.
*I'm thankful for my son's sense of humor (yes, I'm a piggy and I also smell like monkey balls).
*I'm thankful my hubby has taken over bedtime with Parker. I get to say goodnight and Jake gets to stay in with Parker and make up all the awful[ly great] stories while I get a head start on me time. Parker goes down without a peep almost every night now. I remember my Dad telling us stories and reading us books before bed. I think it's precious Parker is going to have those memories, too.
*I'm thankful for my little sister's comments on our blogs :), and...
*I'm thankful knowing there will come a day when I can look back on this time and miss it fondly.