Sunday, October 7, 2007

Patience, please

I started this post on Monday (and couldn't decide whether to publish it or not because I didn't want to be too negative. But the week just keeps getting worse in the R department!


Last weekend wasn't a stellar one for me as a parent. R was very whiney, refusing to listen to us, and jumping around like a crazy person (and then injuring himself repeatedly). And, it got to me. Although Monday was a little easier because we kept R pretty busy with lots of fun things to do, by the end of the day, all of us were flat-out exhausted. So, when I tried to go to the bathroom and was immediately joined by R busting in the room, I was ready to cry. I swear he has some kind of radar - he could be upstairs nowhere near the bathroom, but within seconds of me going in there, I can hear the progression of events: First, I hear him say, "Hey, where's Mommy? Mommy?!? MOMMY!!!" Then, he runs from wherever he is to the bathroom. Then, the door flies open. Then, he asks, "Mommy? What are you doing?" Or, he begs me not to go to the bathroom because I need to come play with him. It doesn't matter that I've been with him for every second of the entire day (and night!). When I asked R why he has to come in the bathroom with me every single time, he thoughtfully said, "It's because I love you." Darn him!

This week, I'm swamped with work and I really needed to work at night this week after putting R to bed. But no dice. On Tuesday night, I started the computer and did about 10 minutes of work before I was summoned to R's room to calm him down from a crazy fit. (Turns out he had to pee, but he was hysterical and flailing his limbs everywhere, and it took me some time to understand what was wrong.) I ended up in his room for the night (again), but he woke up pretty much every 20 minutes crying (bad dreams?), so I got basically no sleep. Which made for a great day at work on Wednesday. :-(

Last night was my night alone with R, but I ended up with food poisoning and had to get R to find the phone and bring it to me so I could call A to come home. We had a horrible time trying to convince R that I could not do bedtime because I was too sick and needed to rest. It eventually worked, but around 11:30 (I think) R woke up upset. I don't remember much now, except that I convinced him to sleep in our room. And, by some miracle, I got a good night's sleep because R wasn't doing his usual kicking me in the back or shoving me off the bed (thank you, Lord!).

But then I tried to take a shower this morning. You'd think that A and I had torn off one of R's arms from the sound and intensity of the screaming. A decided to literally hold him down while I went downstairs to shower. I could hear R screaming, "LET GO OF ME!!!!!!!!!" But when I got out of the shower, all was quiet. Thank goodness.

This stuff automatically makes me feel guilty about not being a stay-at-home mom. It makes me think that maybe R needs me even more right now and that's why he's having such separation issues. But I really do not have a choice in the matter. I'm the primary breadwinner, and that's just how it is (much as I've chafed against it for years). But I really do spend every minute when I'm not at work with R. (Except for last week's ladies' night.) And, a friend suggested to me that that may be the problem. R has no sense of me as my own person - I'm just his mom. So, I guess in a sense I've spoiled him into thinking that I must always be at his beck and call. She suggested that I just take one hour every weekend to do something on my own - even if it's just taking a walk. I think she may be right. At the very least, it would help my sanity. It's wonderful to be needed and adored 97% of the time, but the rest of the time it can be a little much.

But it makes me sad because I've been putting so much effort into compensating for not being with him all the time. And now it turns out that that compensation may be the root of this problem. Ack!

So I'm asking God to guide me here (as always).


Johanna said...

Oh Kristen, I really think that nobody really knows. I've looked in a hundred books, and ended up using a mix of many of them, but what what worked the best was getting a king sized bed, although I'm not a big believer in the family bed, I'm a huge believer in sleep.I so wish that I could be next door to you. You are with your son more than a lot of stay at home moms are, and the popular belief is that every undesirable behavior is a parent's fault. But there are thousands of books written about the very behavior you are describing, so I hardly think it is your fault.I wish I could tell you a magic formula, but last year at this time I had AJ facing the wall at 11:30 at night, telling me "you just don't understand me,Mom.Grandma UNDERSTANDS me" even though Grandma had called to send him home from a sleepover days earlier. Although this may be depressing time frame wise, Mike and AJ now go to bed when I tell them to, and AJ sometimes orders me out of the room. Calvin still won't leave me alone for 2 freaking seconds all day long, and has yelled at me "Mommy, don't poop! It's yucky!" and stands outside of the shower holding on to the curtain the whole time I'm in there. I hate to say it, but maybe Daddy could take him for a walk or a ride or something during these times, and in my experience,sometimes Daddies don't think of these things on their own.(I love men and they are far superior creatures and I'm a big fat idiot, if any Daddy is reading this). Remember that you're really only a generation past extended families living together, and you don't have regular childcare relief that R is going to go bananas over when given the chance to be with them. It's really, really hard. But it is about to get so much easier, and you are doing such a tremendous, exhausting job.And remember, when you wouldn't sleep, your pediatrician prescribed Benadryl every night until you did. And you were 9 months old. Not that I'm necessarily recommending this, but it shows how much slack your own parents were cut in the blame department. I love you, and I hope you get some time to yourself and sleep.

LEstes65 said...

Sweetie, you can never be too negative. Even your so called negative post is filled with love and optimism.

Your friend is wise. Take breaks (this coming from someone who never did until now). The guilt during these breaks will get less as you make it your habit. I just got home from band practice for church and it was glorious! I got to sing and play like an adult. No kids.

You are a fantastic working mom. And when I win the lottery, I will be your sugar daddy and you can stay home. Be assured you and A are doing a GREAT job with R. No one will ever get it 100% right. If they did, I wouldn't believe them anyway. All of your "mistakes" are done out of love. Find me one of the loving parents that we know that hasn't spoiled their kids in some way or another. We didn't do it with the intent to spoil them. We did it because we loved them so much that we did [insert supposed offense here].

You rock. You are a phenomenal mom. You are wonderful. You're asking God. He will honor that, my dear.

Love you!