Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My mothering skills, or lack thereof

Right now, I have a horrible headache. My throat hurts terribly. I'm exhausted. No, I'm not sick. I'm describing how I feel at the end of every single day lately. How did this mom thing become so hard suddenly? I used to have control over my kids...they used to listen. They used to care when I spoke. Now it's like I live in opposite world around here. Or maybe I'm the invisible woman, or a fly on the wall, because for some reason, whatever comes out of my mouth rarely even registers in the ears of my two older children. Where did I go wrong? I spent years teaching them please and thank you, be soft, be kind, share your toys, clean them up. What happened to all of that?

Okay..I have a confession. That horrible headache, that sore throat, those are not symptoms of a sickness...those are symptoms of my awful parenting skills. That headache, that sore throat, they are a result of my YELLING. Yes, I'll admit it. I yell at my kids, on a regular basis. Somehow my dominance, my presence, has withered away into almost nothing. My 7-yr-old boy tests me like a courtroom attorney. I say one thing, he rebuts with an almost perfectly executed argument that I'm sure would take at least a couple years of law school to come up with. Where did he learn this? How does he always come up with an answer that makes my request seem futile? HOW DID HE GET SO SMART? And why can't my mom brain come up with a good response to his clever statements? Oh, that's right, because I usually have a headache. And I'm tired. And my house is ALWAYS a disaster.

And then my daughter on the autism spectrum with her intense sensory needs...and her desire to follow her peers...having a brother like him does not help very much. Yes, they usually play well together, which I am grateful for. But if he doesn't listen, she doesn't either. If he's acting out and being too rambunctious in the house, she will do the same. If he's standing up to my requests, she will, too, in her innocent way. She wants to be like him. She models what he does. She is learning social behaviors from him. And that is not always a good thing.

I'll admit right now...I have an anger problem. Like, a serious anger problem. I probably should be taking anger management classes, because my anger is always there. And this leads to the yelling. And then the headaches, and sore throat. It's a vicious cycle. Where did this anger come from? Why am I so angry all the time? I never used to be this way. When my daughter was a baby over 10 years ago, I remember taking her to the grocery store, and I saw a mother scolding her little boy very firmly, too loudly, I thought, for a public place. And my thought was, I will never treat my kids like that! If only I knew what the future held for me...

So this anger...right now I am trying to figure out where this anger comes from. Some nights I end up crying to sleep--the anger actually is so much that I'm tearing up about it. I don't like feeling this anger all the time. I would say 75% of that anger is because of the lack of control that I have. A few years ago I had the privilege of meeting with a wonderful therapist. He sat down with my husband and I, and after hearing about our then two kids and what we were dealing with, he looked me in the eye and said, "You need to realize something right now...you will never have control over your situation with your daughter. The behaviors she displays often cannot be controlled. Instead of trying to fix them, put on ear-cancelling headphones and walk away. Come back when she's done." I've tried so hard to take this advice, because it's so true. I don't have control, over a lot of things. My kids have their agency, their ability to make choices, good and bad. My job as a parent is to help them know the difference between good and bad, and guide them toward the good. So why do I just get angry instead? Why do I explode like a teapot? All that hot air around the house surely can't be good.

The other 25% of that anger is from sometimes feeling hopeless about my situation. My children have challenges. My daughter's future is unpredictable. My son tests me to my limit every day. My little baby's future is also uncertain, as far as surgeries and speech and development go. I don't have all the answers yet. I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER ANY OF THIS. Of course every parent wants perfect children, children that have no disabilities or surgeries or health issues. What I am starting to realize is that my role as a mother is harder than I ever imagined. And most days I just don't have it in me to be that perfect mom that I wish I could be. And those days I am not perfect, the guilt sets in, big time. Most days I feel like I just can't do it anymore. But then I wake up the next day, and try again.

I told you all I'd tell it like it is. This is how I am feeling, right now in my life. And I'm thinking some of you might feel the same way, for different reasons. Being a mom is hard! I know things won't always be crazy and chaotic. I know that eventually my son will show more respect. I know that my daughter will reach the potential she is supposed to reach. I know my baby will as well. So I just need to find a way to let that anger go, and the yelling. Because going to bed every night with a sore throat and a headache just isn't fun at all. I know that this life is a time to be tested, to prove that we can endure to the end. These precious children I have been given are to help refine me, to shape me, into the person I need to become on this earth. And to help in that, we are given the greatest gift of all, the atonement of Jesus Christ. It's so easy to forget this gift, to forget that it can relieve us of our burdens and cares. I know that the atonement can take my burdens away. Here is a wonderful video on the atonement.


No comments:

Post a Comment