Monday, August 11, 2008

Rough morning

It's a good thing I'm not the leader of a country. I like to think that I'd be all democratic and up with people and let them eat cake (only I'd actually give them cake) but if we're basing this on how I rule my roost, it'd be dictatorship all the way, and not one of those fun, benevolent ones. The youngster has been pushing my buttons lately and I'm feeling all kinds of glum about it. I'm not sure what I expected. Go-with-the-flow types get relaxed, laid back babies, Type-A, control-freaky mothers give birth to stubborn, I DA BOSSes. (Seems like the world would work a whole lot better if it were the other way around, since go-with-the-flows could handle I-da-bosses.) It was so much easier when it wasn't my kid. Don't want to pee in the potty? Tell me all about it while you're sitting on the potty. Don't want to wear shoes? Here, give me a hand while I put on your shoes. Don't want to eat dinner? Your mom will be home in 10 minutes and she can deal with it. But after 45 minutes of rocking and humming and trying to convince myself that zerbets and hair pulling are signs of sleepiness, I start to feel defied. And then I get mad. I'm not saying I've tossed the kid in the crib while muttering that someone's going to learn to put himself to sleep and then leaving the poor, overtired kid to sob for 20 minutes. I'm not saying I've gotten pissed and popped him on the butt and then felt like the world's crappiest, most undeserving parent because what kind of mother spanks their kid? I am saying that the kind of mother I want to be and the kind of mother I sometimes am have been going ten rounds lately. I haven't figured out the balance between being in charge and being in control. I keep forgetting that he's an actual person, one who's learning to make his needs known. (Which is great until they bump up against my need to sleep or go to the bathroom.) I just know that I spend an awful lot of time worrying that I'm f-ing up my kid. Maybe that's a mother thing, I never hear dads talking about that. I know they have other concerns (are they spending enough time, making enough money) but that sense of shaping (and therefore potentially damaging) their kid's life, I'm not sure that they fear that the way mothers do. (Correct me if I'm wrong, dads.)

Anybody else go through this b.s.?


crowded tub said...

Oh ya. Been there. Actually, we are still there. And the longer Monkeyboy is on this earth, the longer I realize this is a permanent state of being. How to balance doing what is best for him with what is best for me. Sometimes they dovetail nicely. Other times I can convince myself they dovetail better than they really do. One thing: your sleep and using the restroom ARE actually important things and actually DO trump holding him all night long.

Also, he's going to pull shit with you he wouldn't pull with others. Along with his "I'm the boss" attitude is a newly formed realization that he is the boss of YOU, and not as much other people (hello dad! Howdy Grandma!), so of course it's so much more dramatic with you. Hold firm. Stay your course. Trust yourself. And when you've reached your limit, put him in his crib and let him cry. Give him a time limit, then go back if you just can't deal. Stop worrying about bad habits. Most of them are bullshit. And I have a "rule of 3", which means that if I do something 3 times in a row, it becomes a habit (ie: 3 nights in a row of going to him every time he cries without waiting first to let him figure it out = new habit). Anything less than 3 times is a free pass in my book. Which loosens things up a bit to try things, or do whatever works by any means.

Hang in there.

jessica star said...

I am there with you, 1000%. Times infinity. Plus 100. Amen. Seriously, if you want to share war stories, you have my e-mail. The dumb shit I've done will make you feel tons better.

Elizabeth said...

Yes. Every day. Every day.

I am also a Type A mom with one of those "I'm A Gonna" babies. The only thing that gets me through sometimes is leaving him in his crib to scream. Or repeating under my breath "He won't always be this way." Or enlisting the hubs to tire him out.

But seriously, it gets so much better, I promise it does.

Also, for me, reading the "How to Parent" books help a lot more than reading the "how to have a baby" books ever did.

elisava said...

hi ~ i read your blog time to time.. i'm a friend of hatchets'.i am a sahm to two girls, a three year old and a nine month old.

i'm glad to hear you aren't considering spanking an under-one-year old. he seriously won't get it, it'll just hype him up, and in my experience, teahc him that he who is bigger gets to hit to get their way. i'm not looking for a debate, that's just what i've seen.

however, as a mother of two stubborn little divas, i am a fan of hey if it's naptime, it's naptime. put him in there, put on your ipod or similar earplugs, and time in every few minutes. maybe pat him, maybe not. but kids get to a point where they will not sleep unless they are "made" too. and truthfully, sleep begets sleep. if he sleeps like crap during the day, he won't sleep well at night.

i hope this helps, it sounds like you are going thro a crap time. i remember that with both babies. you get to a point of "honestly, is this my life until they go to school?". it sucks, but try to look at it as a challenge. when you were a well-groomed, well-rested professional in your field you were great at it, right? you can do this, too. just show him what you need to happen. he won't just automatically learn it any other way.

sorry for the rant. you're one funny gal and i wish you the best of luck.

Dana said...

I think we have the same baby. She was up at 5:45am with a gleam in her eye and a smirk on her lips. She would not take a nap, but was obviously tired (picking at the scuff marks on the floor - is that a sign for tired now??), so I finally just put her in her crib and shut the door. She started to cry, but I didn't feel bad at all, but then I felt bad for not feeling bad... btw, she is a very "sprirted" 8 months & only sleeps in 45 min - 1 hr chunks of time day and night. yarg.

...Sharon said...

Well, folks in my neighborhood would just pour several ounces of beer into his baby bottle and put him in his crib. He'll be asleep in no time. You then have plenty of time for yourself and the rest of that 6-pack. I'm not suggesting - rather just adding another perspective here.

And... so you now know why you've always heard that the hardest job in the world is that of being a mother. No one included the nanny in that statement either.

It gets so much easier when they start talking. Are you going to teach him to sign? (no! I don't mean in a rude way... those are the beer-babies!!!)

One day, one hour, one minute at a time.
Love ya,
-Aunt Shermie

BH said...

Do dads worry about these things? You have seen men in action, right? People who are say things like "Put together the space shuttle from scratch? Yeah, I've done that once or twice before; let me at it. Oh no, I don't need the directions. I know what I'm doing." And then at the end of the job say, "Oh yeah, I know there are some pieces left over. They do that, you know, give you a few extras in case you mess up."

I'm not saying dads don't worry, but their sense of masculinity prevents most of them from saying so.

Margot said...

Just back from "vacation" where I got to experience the joy of my 5 month old screeching and crying NONSTOP FOR 3 HOURS because he was so overtired. What did I learn? That it is not only OK, but sometimes absolutely necessary for all parties involved to let the little peanut cry it out and fall asleep. At 2.5 hours in, I picked up our little man from his hotel crib, looked him straight in the eyes and said "I'm sorry, baby, but there's nothing I can do for you at this point. I've tried nursing, soothing, rocking, walking, lying next to you, and nothing has worked. You need to work it out on your own, ok?

And I put him down and he kept crying and crying for another 30 minutes. And I cried too. And then he stopped, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief/guilt, and went to sleep. Sometimes there's nothing else you can do.

Colleen said...

Yes, I think everyone worries about their messing up their kid's life at least once a day. That just means you're trying to do a good job.

One of the best books I have ever read is by Mary Kurcinka, called something like "Raising the High Intensity/Spirited Child." I think you have one of those--so do I--and she will remind you that it's not terrible, just challenging. She says that these kids just don't accept lazy parenting and force you to be the best you can be. I found her enormously comforting and helpful--in understanding where your child is coming from, and how you can help them (and yourself). Lots of help on handling things like supermarkets, traveling, getting dressed (oh the nightmares--this hasn't gotten much better with my girls and I'm afraid I ain't seen nothin yet!), feeding, napping, separation anxiety, tantrums, sleeping, etc. AWESOME book and I'm sure your library has it!

Good luck to you--I hope tomorrow is better for you!

Michael said...

from an (older) male perspective:
street cred: 3 grown children and a 5 year old grandson.

At this's a learning process for everyone involved in your household..short of brain trama infant shaking, kids are very resiliant. If you pop them on the bottom once in a while, they are not likely to become Ted Bundys'spawn..BUT... you must let the little guy know who's boss..yes, you will feel like a bad ( and maybe horrid) parent. But keep those guilty feelings to yourself... don't show him that you soften quickly. The sooner thathe realizes you mean business, he will put less effort in trying to "undermine your authority".
Parenting is difficult in the respect that there is no adage, rule, technique,philosophy that is set in stone. The variables are unique to the myriad of personalities and upbringing of you,Matt and the collective upbringing that both of you are bringing to the table.
Your concern and worry for him proves that you are and will continue to be wonderful and caring mother.

it gets easier, better, more enjoyable as time goes on. if nothing else remember this.
"everything will be fine"

Cousin Michael

filthEdesign said...

it's a good thing they're so cute when they're little, huh!?! :)

i have to say i'm one of those laid back parents but even still i've wondered if i'm sending my kid on the path to eventual therapy...

but - i came to the realization that it is my job as a parent to provide job security for therapists :)

as long as you care, ask the questions - engage in a little introspection, and do the best you can with what you have at that moment - YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Every parent everywhere that actually CARES how they are raising their children is terrified that they're effing their kids up.

All of us.

Welcome to the club!

Keep in mind that no one remembers anything that happens to them prior to about 2 years old and a bad day here and there aren't the end of you or him.