Monday, May 19, 2008

Warts And All

I was thinking of posting this in The Basement, but decided to put it here instead.

Things have not been going well at all around here. Last week was hell on wheels between me and the two girls. I am completely frustrated by Boo and she seems to know how to push every. single. button. I have. Repeatedly. 90% of the time, I can handle it. Not well, not prettily, but I manage, clinging by my fingernails to rationality and sanity. The other 10% of the time, I lose my shit. Last Thursday was definitely a Losing Her Shit day.

No matter what I said, Boo wouldn't behave. If I told her to sit in her chair, she ran around the house. If I told her to stop standing on the couch, she'd start jumping on it instead. She took defiance and oppositional behaviour to a whole new level, one I'd only heard of until last Thursday.

And I am not proud of the way I reacted. I screamed, I hollered, I came thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to spanking her, hard. It was ugly with a capital Ug.

Once I got her to stay in bed (after two hours of peeling her off the windowsill and putting her back in her bed), I sat at the computer and cried. For two hours. I sat here and I looked for help online. I finally found something, but they only meet once a month over the summer and I missed the first meeting.

On Friday, I called her pediatrician, called a parent help line and called a therapist (for myself). Of course, no one called me back, so I spent the entire weekend as well as Monday and Tuesday beating myself up and working very hard not to lose it. I went to the gym a lot, logging 19 miles on the treadmill, which helped a little bit. I spent a lot of time breathing in thru my nose, out thru my mouth, again and again and again.

I finally talked to the pediatrician, who recommended the same book I already have (and haven't finished yet). And I got a therapy appointment for next Thursday.

I'm really hoping that all of this helps because I'm at my wits end. I feel like I'm drowning.


BandK said...

You must have a two-year-old. You think they're bad now? Wait until she's 14 and pretends to hate you and everything and then there's the whole eye roll thing...

Okay I'm not helping am I?!? LOL

First of all, watch 342 episodes of Nanny 911 and realize your kids are not. that. bad. They are perfect angels compared to those spitting, hitting, kicking, hellcats that are supposedly children but are really some very angry monkeys in kid suits.

So, the reason she can push your buttons so well is because your her mom. The reason the Nanny can keep it together so well while the Mom looks like she knows why some animals eat their young? Is because Nanny isn't emotionally involved with the children. She has the ability to be emotionally disconnected from the behavior.

So honestly, honey, it's not you. You just need some tools to help you deal with the behavior. And stop blaming yourself for her bad behavior; half of your frustration comes from feeling like she wouldn't behave this way if you were a better mom. Not so.

Disconnect your guilt feelings and it will be easier. I know; easier said than done. But the therapy if nothing else will give you a blessed 50 minutes of conversation with another adult.

I'm a lurker and I know you don't know me, but I've been there, done that. I was a single mom for most of my kids growing up years. Even when their dad was still living with us, I was a single mom b/c he was so uninvolved.

Anyway, hugs for you and best of luck!

Life As I Know It said...

Oh, I'm so sorry things are rough right now. You sound like you need a break.
Hoping things get better. Hang in there. Mothering is hard and frustrating and unrewarding a lot of the time.
Hang in there.

Josie said...

This is so not about you. Please stop beating yourself up.
I have been there, when WB was little and I was on my own.
You are doing everything right but seeking help. Keep your appointment and know that by doing this, you are being a GOOD MOTHER.
Take care.

Anonymous said...

I wish there was something I could say or some advice I could give. I can only offer you some sympathy and empathy and tell you that they get older and outgrow this.

Eventually reasoning and rationale actually mean something.

In the meantime. Hugs. and more Hugs.

Zazzy said...

Just another person out here thinking of you.

SUEB0B said...

I KNOW it sucks to be you but...this is part of her development. She is learning to be strong willed, independent, etc. Frustrating as hell, but they're good kids, really. And you're a good mom. Other ppl are probably right - a few more skills and all will be well.

Elan Morgan said...

You've been featured on Five Star Friday:

Angewl said...

You know... I think her ped could do something else besides recommend a book. Is there some kind of evaluation or something to try and figure out whats going on?

I could say this is normal, but I'm not. I think she should be checked out.

No one wants to hear something is wrong with their child. Maybe nothing is, maybe this IS normal for her. Maybe she WILL outgrow it. But, who knows. Maybe there is something that should be checked into?

I think all avenues should be explored before the road you're on leads you to the nut-house where I currently reside.

I don't want to piss you off. You know I love you and and those beautiful girls of yours. And... well, I just want you to be happy DAMN-IT!

Anonymous said...

I completely, totally feel for you. I've been reading and following what's been going on with you for the past several months. And I've been very worried about you. Not about your skills as a mother, or about the safety of your kids, but about your state of mind. You are seriously depressed. It's so good that you're going to a therapist, but tell her the truth about how you feel, and tell you her need help right away. I know from former posts that you're opposed to going on medication, but please, please take yourself seriously and get as much help as you can, as fast as you can.

This is what happened to me recently. My husband and I decided to get a divorce. I started to get depressed, but wanted to handle it myself. I became more depressed, and my therapist and good friends told me that they were worried, and that they believed I should go back on medication (after a break of 6 years). I absolutely didn't want to be on meds, and upped my therapy appointments. I became more depressed. Finally I ended up having a total breakdown, being taken to the hospital by the police, narrowly avoiding being committed against my will and instead having to spend 2 days in a halfway house where I could be supervised. The court almost took my kids away from me (I didn't do anything to them, but was threatening to harm myself). My parents were required to live with the kids and me by court order, and I had to be evaluated by a court appointed psychiatrist in order to be allowed to be alone with my kids. It took over a month for the order to be lifted (which actually had more to do with my asshole ex than my state of mind, but still.)

Meds work for me, and I finally went on them when I was in care, which was absolutely the right thing for me. I'm not saying you need to go on meds, but please, please, please take care of yourself, hear what you're saying about the way you feel, and get help ASAP. You are a wonderful person and a fantastic mom, but you need help.

Major Bedhead said...

Holy shit, Anon.

I am on medication. I don't like it, but I do take it every day. I don't think it's helping all that much and I will speak to my therapist, as well as my prescribing doctor, about it.

I'm worried about myself, too. Which is good, I guess.

Thank you for sharing that story with me. I can't even imagine what you went thru.

LauraJ said...

thank you for letting us know how you are doing. even if it's not always rosey, so many folks do worry about you. i'm happy YOU are worried about you. it means you are being proactive to the solution. i think your girls are just being kids and you're having a hard time coping with your own issues. seriously though, it's not you or your mothering. i agree with the others here, you are on the right track but perhaps there's more that can be done to evaluate the children's behaviour.
are the kids in daycare? perhaps that would help?
(((((big hugs))))

Shannon said...

I've been where you are too, Julia.

Is there a park where you can take them if you haven't been already? Running my kids into the ground seriously helped with the behavioral problems which I believe were caused mainly by boredom and excess energy that needed to be burned up. My kids would come home after a few hours and be totally obedient....and tired!

I hope whatever help you get from your therapist and whoever else helps!! Hang in there girl and if you ever need to talk, let me know and I'll give you my phone number. Or call me on my cell if you still have the number.

MsPrufrock said...

I know this feeling, and the helplessness and lack of hope is what makes it particularly agonising for me. I can't tell you how sorry I am that you are feeling this way, and I hope your appointment helps you out of this. Please let us know how it goes.

Velma said...

I'm so sorry you are feeling this way. I recently had a kindergarden preparation meeting for my 5 year old, and someone innocently said, "Isn't it amazing how fast it goes?" I just looked at her and said, "It was the longest 5 years of my life."

I can't even express how hard the first three years were with him, nor can I express how much easier it is now. I'm glad you are getting some help, because it IS HARD - I know!

Maureen Fitzgerald said...

I wish I had some profound words of wisdom for you. The truth is that I have had sooo many days just like the one you described. They tell me it gets better, but the thought of dealing with this child as a teenager terrifies me.

What book are you reading? My ped recommended Raising a Strong Willed Child (which I bought and promptly misplaced).

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that you need help, that you can't do this by yourself. I'm so glad you're going to talk to someone, and I'm here for you if you need to talk more. Email me if you need to.

Also, I don't think her defiant behavior is a reflection on your mothering skills. I think she's willful, strong-minded, and stubborn and some day, those traits will serve her well. She may end up being the daughter you worry about least, being that she'll very likely be able to take care of herself quite well, thankyouverymuch. But that doesn't mean her learning what those traits mean to her is an easy process to go through.

Have you read Blog Antagonist? She has a very spirited child, her youngest son, and she could possibly provide insight into some of the techniques she uses to cope with those frustrating behaviors. She also has very unique parenting skills, the kind where I slap my head and think, "Why didn't I think of that? It's so simple and straightforward, and yet so creative!" Maybe you could talk to her for ideas.

I'm sorry I can't go over to your house and kick you out of it for the afternoon, taking your girls off your hands and giving you a break. If I lived in Mass. I totally would.

Hang in there. And write about it more if it helps you to feel better. No judgment from me, and I hope from no one else.

elizasmom said...

God, I'm so sorry you're having such an awful time of it. I hope the various people you have reached out to offer some concrete help.

In the meantime, in the spirit of make-her-run-around-until-she's-too-tired-to-be-defiant, wanna do a playdate next week at the park?

Anonymous said...


You're doing the right thing. Good luck.

Unknown said...

Hang in there J.

Paige said...

I'm really sorry, Julia. I know that the last thing you need is another book recommendation, but last month when I was crying at Barnes and Noble, I bought Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child and I did find it helpful.

Anyway, I am thinking of you.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I take it that nothing I sent helped any. I'm so sorry. Every child is different. You are doing your best I'm sure of it. If I had, had a blog when my kids were little, there wouldn't have been many posts for sure. Make sure that you are getting help from your hubby and taking time to fill your "cup". I try to imagine my cup half full when I'm finding a balance between what I do for others and what I do for myself. I'm here if you need to vent. I'm wishing you all the best and sending you big hugs. Hang in there!

MsPicketToYou said...

I can admit now that I put a lock on my second daughters door when she was 2 and beyond my measure of control. When the tantrums got so bad -- they lasted for hours -- and I would put her in there. And I would weep on the stairs. Weep. They were the deepest, worst days.

I hear you. Every.single.word.

Shannon said...

Hi Julia,

How are you doing???

Kelly said... know I've been there. It sounds like you're being really proactive about it though, which takes thought and effort.

One of the ways I describe being an at-home mother is by comparing this environment to a really hostile professional environment. Imagine if everyone refused to work together, or sabotaged one another, got into petty fights, refused to pitch in, etc. That's pretty much every day at home. It's our job to navigate that while leaving everyone alive. Hard to do. Some days, really friggin hard to do.

I hope you can feel this virtual hand on your shoulder.