Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I Need As A MOM

I started a post the other day that was going to be about some issues that my mother was having with my son.  I wouldn't say that the delivery would have been high minded--because I struggle with parenting too much for that--but it definitely had an air of "look at the lessons I've learned and learn from me."

That post is still in my box, unpublished.
I'm kinda nervous about the post I'm gonna publish instead.  I think that the thing I've tried to do with my blog is show my flaws, the things that I'm struggling with as I take my journey to become my best self.  People have been amazed at how open and vulnerable I've allowed myself to be but, honestly, I think this post is the only time that I've actually felt vulnerable.  My other rants have been catharsis, but I'm about to share my warts and all.  The side of parenting that I don't often see but I feel.  Most of the time I feel alone in it, but I don't think that I am.  I think that many parents have experienced this, but you let me know.

This  weekend was tough for me and my son.  Every single thing became a battle.  I don't know what the dynamic was but it started Friday morning with him wanting to wear shorts and continued this morning with him wanting to wear shorts!  I honestly felt like my head would explode if I had to deal with another issue with my 3 1/2 year old son!  He's 3 1/2.  Three and a half.  I have a Bachelor's degree.  I work in education...dealing with children.  I've done trainings on dealing with difficult children, for God's sake! I'm not a young mother, I'm 36 years old.  And yet, this weekend I felt totally incompetent and ready to give up on my child!

No, really people.  I said that this morning, to my parents, who I'm sure were just giggling a little bit, though they were gracious and loving enough not to laugh in my face and interrupt my meltdown.  Thanks guys.  I truly appreciate your restraint.  Mid rant, as my mother asked me what I was going to do, which was a response to me saying that I couldn't do this anymore, I exclaimed that in that moment I wanted to give my son away!  Even as I said it, I knew it was horrible, I knew that it may cost me my mommy blogger card, I knew with each word that passed my lips more of my name was being etched into the worst mothers list and the words came out anyway.

I've had moments like this before, when the frustration of the occasion has been at such a height that I knew why parents lost control and sometimes that has scared me to my core. To be that upset and beside myself was really shameful to me. But in the moment, I'm just at my wits end.  I've written before about the things that work against me dealing with my son in the way I want to (calmly, utilizing my teachable moments, teaching instead of preaching, talking instead of yelling, positive discipline instead of physical/punitive).  I know that positive discipline strategies are the best parenting choice for me because I know me.  I know that I need to improve my patience and work on how frustrated I get.  I told y'all that I'm in recovery, right?  Instant gratification rehab to be exact.

Just like my weight issues, I get it in my brain.  I get the concept, I can learn the theory but it's the practice.  I'm talking about practice! (Shout out to A.I.!)  There's a big difference between theory and practice and most of the difference is in the person practicing...at least that's what I'm finding out. 

Here's what I need to start to become a better practitioner:
  • I need to plan better--for example, having more time in the morning so I don't feel the pressure to rush.
  • I need to fill my toolkit-- for example, having more than one option for dealing with a situation.  Positive Discipline has 52 cards that each have a different PD tool--I need to start using them more effectively.
  • I need to manage my own emotions--my son feeds off of my frustration, anger and disappointment just as much as he feeds off of my joy, happiness and humor/fun.  When I lose control of my emotions, I lost the opportunity to teach him.
  • I need to utilize the resources around me--like my dad and my son's dad who both have very different relationships with Bboy.  I've been watching them lately and I'm gonna try to steal some of their moves.  I've underestimated them I think.
  • I need to keep it simple--Bboy is very intelligent and I think that it doesn't always serve him well because I tend to think that he can do or understand more than he does.  I must do a better job of understanding him from a developmental standpoint and then keep it simple.
  • And, I need to enjoy our time--as I've thought about it, I think that my son and I have not spent a lot of time together lately, just the two of us doing fun stuff.  We need that. He needs that.  I need that.
What do you need as a parent?


  1. Oh Ridi Bidi...I say let Bboy wear shorts till his little knees freeze...then he'll want pants. I'm cracking myself up thinking about his knees knocking.

    I like the idea of stealing some stuff from the men in his life - they've raised boys...try talking to the Mamas who've raised boys too.

    Of course, you can't give my Bboy away - I'd be very upset. :-) Who would I watch Scooby Doo with? How did your food urges go during all this upheaval?

  2. Well, the only thing I have to say about the frustration of parenting is what I've said for many years: any parent who hasn't seen the glimmer of a child abuser within themselves either isn't a real parent, doesn't care enough, or is lying.

    Parenting is HARD. It doesn't get the props it should from the culture at large, though, because everyone thinks that we're born knowing how to do it and what little we're not born with we can pick up from our own parents.

    I'm intrigued with your lessons, and I think they'll take you far. Or at least they're a good place to start.

    Keep pumping it out, Ridi. I'm always amazed at how and what you're thinking...

  3. Of course I will not give that boy away. It would be like removing my heart. It's just sometimes you get heartburn or palpitations:-) And, I have gone the route of allowing the shorts but I'm trying to balance that with the cold season (not relation right? well, in my head there is) and the asthma.

    Yeah, I think they're a good place to start...again and again until I get it actually:-) Thanks.

  4. I commend you for being so honest on your blog. Parenting is the hardest thing we do in life. Believe me. No magic. No handbook (dang it). And it is tough. Tough.

    I read a book a few years ago that might be helpful: How to Talk so kids will listen, not sure who the author is. But definitely gives some tips on working through difficult situations. Hang in there. It won;t get easier, but you will become more creative.

  5. Thanks Michele, I actually borrowed it from my son's daycare. It has some helpful tips in it. And you are so right.