Friday, February 20, 2009
I Chose The Road Less Travelled...
Now where the hell am I?
Can I preface this post by saying that I am deeply fed up and therefore am sighing a lot. Perhaps it's an unconscious attempt at inspiration, inspire meaning to 'take in breath'.
I am so bloody over absolutely everything. I have had such a bizarre and stressful three weeks with my hubble working late and doing much overtime and with all the fire issues to work out and prepare for. And if I have to have one more bloody fire threat, I may just scream. My darling daughter seems to have decided that her raison d'etre is to 'Make Mummy Crazy'. This not only taxes the one shredded nerve I have left but also taxes my overburdened and severely burnt out adrenal glands. I struggle daily to find new ways to communicate with my increasingly defiant, willful and sometimes downright horrible child. I know that as the 'adult' (and I use the term loosely here), that I'm the one that's supposed to have control over my emotions and be able to step back and be all philosophical and reasonable and loving. What I actually feel like doing is throwing her in a box postmarked to her Nanna's and calling for a cab to drive me to the nearest fucking airport. There have been numerous smacked bottoms and smacked hands in these past few weeks.
What I hate more than absolutely everything else right now (and there is a lot that i hate) is that I am so not living the 'attachment parenting' life with my precious girl. I look at her sleeping and I am lost. I love her so much it tears me apart that I am this shadow of the parent that I want to be for her. I have no patience. I have no calm. I have nothing but anger and resentment and these moments of pure white rage that I struggle to keep under control lest I do something (else) that I'll regret and shed tears over later.
I have struggled for so long with parenting and just when I think that I'm getting a handle on one thing, something else comes along to shift my centre of gravity away from me again. I am not someone to whom parenting comes naturally. I could sit here and blame my parents or my upbringing or my conditioning for all the problems that I have with parenting and I'm sure some of it would be true but the point is it doesn't matter. It doesn't help me to know where some of these patterins originate from if I can do nothing to change them IN THE MOMENT. It's no use telling someone who is about to explode after the 100th rendition of 'what you doing mummy?' when youare still doing the same exact thing that she asked you about originally, to take a step away from the situation and count to 10. I could count to 1000 and it still wouldn't help because she'd be right there with me saying 'What are you doing mummy?' Believe me when I say that the endless questions are aggravating in extremis. Then there is the 'No! I don't WANT to' which is also trotted out endlessly followed by screaming tantrums if she doesn't get her way. I never imagined that she would be like this and I blame myself. I know that some of it is my difficulties with parenting, with connecting and playing and being totally present for my divine little brat, being reflected 'child style' back at me. And some of it is just a two year old expressing her frustration, her anger, her will and not understanding that she can't have the lollipops that she loves because they make her sugar crazed for hours and drive her poor flaky mother to distraction.
So what do we do? I am so sick of trying a million different things. I am utterly sick of reading parenting books to try and find the solution to the many issues I find myself facing with my daughter daily. I am totally responsible for how I feel and how I react - somehow though I just can't seem to find the shift that will allow me to react differently. I've been to counselling and I've been to several different alternative practitioners to help me get my anger under control and to help Lily and I relate differently to one another. You name it and I've probably tried it. I still find it terribly hard to 'play' with her. I try so hard but I just don't enjoy it. And then there's the million other things I have to do daily. My business, cooking, cleaning, writing and all I want to do is sleep. I have one day a week to myself and its not enough. That makes me feel like a selfish asshole. I love her. I truly do. Yet I just want to get away from her at the moment because being with her brings out the worst in both of us and all i feel is shame and sadness and pain after the anger has gone away.
I had these great visions of myself becoming some kind of mother earth type when I had a child. I envisioned the wonderful home waterbirth, the carrying and breastfeeding (which we did for the most part), the blissful connection to my child and feeling nothing but serene and loving towards this brightl ittle being that I had so longed for. It all went to shit with the labour and it has not improved a massive amount since then. Ok. So maybe I'm being a tiny bit overdramatic but that's how it feels. There have certainly been a lot of very hard times. PND post-dated for the previous 16 months that went unnoticed by everyone, including me. The child that barely slept during the day but slept all night until she was 6-months old and has barely slept all night since. I am not a natural nurturer. I realise that now. It's not that I don't have some of the urges but they are simply not that strong. I take full responsibility for myself and for my failings and I am striving to do better, to be better but today, recently, its just been too hard. Too all uphill with very little improvement.
I believe in gentle parenting, gentle discipline, nurturing and respecting the child. I am doing none of it. I chose the road less travelled when it came to the parenting norm - I co-slept and breastfed until she was nearly 2, I gave unlimited cuddles and she could not be more loved (better loved yes, more loved, no), I read every 'Sears' book there was plus a whole bunch of other attachment parenting books. I mean, I have TWO shelves of a bookcase groaning with love and care. I believe that it is important how we treat our children and I don't think that what I'm doing is even remotely ok. Yet when faced with a defiant, challenging and difficult child, I lose my temper, yell and smack. I am NOT awakened in my parenting and I don't know how to change it. That's what kills me. I am not a stupid or ignorant person. I am pretty smart and pretty astute when it comes to other people but for some reason that I just cannot figure out (despite my analytical probings ad nauseum) I seem unable to change. Not unwilling you understand. God am I ever willing. Just unable. Whatever switch you have to throw to move into some kind of better relationship with yourself and your child is broken, missing or miswired, like most of the light switches in our house. I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of mothering and I don't do surrender very well (if at all) even though I keep trying to slow down and 'let go'. So where does all of my self-examination get me when I seem to be unable to do the one thing that matters most to me - mother Beanie well.
Here it seems. Dissolving into snot and tears, writing to simply ease the internal pressure and to give myself something else to do other than beat myself up. I am not the world's worst mother, I just feel like I am. I know that I have a good heart otherwise this wouldn't get to me the way it does but it does not help me to know that.
Nurturing seems to be such a natural thing for other people, so why not for me? Do you know that I struggle daily with what to eat because I lack imagination in the kitchen? I have a million cook books but if left to my own devices I will eat toast and drink tea as my main meal of the day. I have horrible cravings for sugar and starch that I cannot seem to control for the most part and I do not know how to nurture myself. Maybe this is why I am doing such a shit job of nurturing Beanie and Hubble. The poor man is lucky to get a home cooked meal when he gets in from his job. And, bless him, he never expects it from me. He can see how frazzled and tired I am and he just puts on his apron and gets on with the show.
I read blogs daily that celebrate nurturing from women who seem to just be able to create magic in the kitchen and I am jealous and perplexed and humbled by them. I just don't seem to have what it takes to move into this part of my life without frustration. I am not a domestic goddess. I'm more like a feral kat.
I know that this is terribly depressing but I need to get it out because if I don't then I'll explode and the callatoral damage from my anger is more than I can bear right now.
I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for a way forward, for solutions, for something that will shift this twisted paradigm into a new and a great and a glorious future. Failing that, not being reduced to a screaming banshee every five minutes of the day would be just great.
I don't know what else to do. I don't even know how to begin to make this different, better, work. I am lost and split apart with all the trying.
*Photo by this amazing site