Friday, October 3, 2008

Phobia Friday: Being a Crap Parent

I've had a rough week. In spite of all the help I've gotten from family and friends, I'm exhausted. The kid has run me ragged. RAGGED. Today has seen the worst of me. Today makes me feel ashamed and embarrassed and inadequate and unworthy of having a child who's so sweet and loving and adores me so much, and unworthy of having another.

This morning, I looked at my son and said much too loudly, "I've had enough!" And I left the room. I fled to the kitchen where I burst into tears. Apparently 75 minutes of non stop whining is my limit today.

"I just want to shower or get dress or go to the bathroom or eat something or drink something without being whined at," is what I said to myself.

He was fed, watered, dressed, had ample toys to play with. All I wanted was to drink a glass of water and eat one bite of my bagel. And I feel so guilty for it.

My brother came up seconds later and sat with Oscar, who did not whine once, until I returned to the room. And then, there it was, full tilt. The happy babbling baby was gone with his first glimpse of me. Super.

After 10 more minutes of the whining, I just put him down in his crib. He's up there now, playing, talking to himself, content. I have a few moments to sit here and write about this and try to get over it. Try to get over feeling like a failure because I cannot cope with my own child today; a failure because it's not his fault but still I blame him; a failure because he's only one for chrissakes and this is how a one year old behaves; a failure because if I can't handle him, how am I going to handle two; a failure because he is a good kid and deserves better.

Once when I was about ten and my brother was about six, my mom walked out on us. We were fighting and she just said, "I can't take this any more," and she took her keys, got in the car, and took off. We were crying and chasing after her. She came back five minutes later, having regained her composure and just went about her day.

I'm not angry and I don't blame her for this. My dad worked long hours and so did she and she never had any help. But, I always knew this was not something I ever wanted to do to my kid, to make my kid feel abandon and afraid and alone. And I fear that that is where I am headed.

Sometimes I am not the mother I imagined myself to be.


Susanica said...

Wow. In some odd way this reminds me of when I was a teacher and I had had such a miserable day that in the last period of the day, I started crying. I left the room to gain my composure and my 9th graders were shocked. I went back in, they behaved better, and the final bell rang. A few minutes later someone came up to me and said "I'm so sorry to hear your mom died". What????

You see the kids could not imagine why a fully grown person would do that. So someone came up with the explanation that my mom must have died (now it's more than 20 years later and my mom is still perfectly fine.)

But in someone's thought processing, probably based on their experience, this was the only possible explanation.

All I'm saying is that our life experiences really do influence how we make sense of our world. What you and your brother experienced that day as MUCH OLDER KIDS is very vivid and real and you probably think that now little one year old Oscar will carry that same scar because you got upset this morning. Not true.

I say all this to tell you that you are a great mom even though you don't feel that way all the time. I hope you have a really wonderful weekend and I have a feeling when Nelson gets home you'll feel a great weight lifted. Talk to you soon. -Monica

Anonymous said...

JENNI. You should not feel embarassed about not always being able to deal with your child perfectly. Motherhood is tough and you have a right to get frustrated. I can tell by the way you wax ecstatic about Oscar that you are a great mother, and you aren't going to hurt him by losing your cool occasionally. You are doing the right thing.

diana said...

You are worthy. The Mom's that are not worthy are the ones who don't fret about all of this. The ones who don't even think or introspect about whether what they are doing is right or wrong. They just do. You don't just do. You are just having a bad day (or week - and I completely understand getting scared or angry at my child even though it's not his fault... he's just trying to figure out the world), you removed yourself enough to realize that, and Oscar will understand. You won't leave him, or his sister/brother. You've already given him so much love that he is comfortable and independent enough to be in his crib happily playing for a while. He probably senses that things are not quite status quo - meaning you are about to have a baby and daddy's away...he doesn't know how much his life is about to change. But again, he'll be fine because he has your love. Hang in there!

steenky bee said...

Sister: You need to email me. I've been going through the same. We can totally vent to each other.

But I can tell you this, all those kids need is love. Everyone reaches their breaking point. I've reached mine and then some.

You are a teriffic mom. A crap parent wouldn't care about always wanting their child to be safe and healthy. A crap parent would have lost it and then gone on with their day. You're not that person.

Don't feel guilty about taking or needing "me" time either. That sounds cliche, but it's so true. You know it deep down too. You are just too giving of yourself to think you deserve the time for you.

It's how moms are wired. Here I sit at home today, both kids at grandmas so I can get more work done from home. I keep instinctively turning around to see where my babies are. My house is eerily quiet. I so want to go to grandmas, grab the kids and then try to balance them and work at home in chaos. It's how we're wired.


Anonymous said...

Awww, Jenni, you're just a mom to a soon-to-be-toddler. That's what it's like, one second all giggly googly mushiness, and the next the constant whine, whine, whine. It's crazymaking, and they do save their worst behavior for mommy most of the time (we are supposed to be flattered by this, apparently). I've been there, let's see, yesterday afternoon!

You are doing something that people weren't meant to do alone. I don't want to get all cheesy, but it really does "take a village," and we SAHMs try to do it alone and then beat ourselves up for being exhausted. It's normal! You are still a good mom, and the fact that Oscar adores you is your evidence.

Mike said...

You know what? We are never any of the things we imagined we would be (spouse, parent, worker) because in our mind we can be perfect. In the real world, however, it is a lot harder. I had a really tough day today too. Maddie has been crying all night the last three nights and then clingy all day, and I have a writing assignment due soon and it is...well, I felt the way you did.

Hang in there. No need to feel guilty as long as we keep trying our best, and acknowledge there will be days like this.

Anonymous said...

I think we've all had these days and people who say they haven't are insane. I've had about ten of them in the past month, days when I felt like I was going to snap at any minute and I felt like a failure for thinking this way. My son is doing the same thing as yours, he ONLY whines at me and if he's in my husband's care (who works from home and is with us all day long) and he sees me, he starts whining in my direction. I can't take it sometimes, I want to lock myself in the bedroom to get a break. I read somewhere that whining is a way of releasing frustration and you should be honored if they do it at you because that means they feel the most comfortable with you. I think it's a load of crap but I guess in a small way it makes me feel better.
I quit my job when my daughter was born so I could stay home and raise the kids. I had a completely different image in my head, I thought it was going to be all peaches and cream, we were going to play all day long and have the Norman Rockwell family. It's taken me awhile to realize that it doesn't work that way and I have to try really hard to appreciate the good moments I have with my kids and overlook the crappy ones. I hope things look up for you soon, I really understand what you're going through.

Baby Bunching said...

Hang in there....really. We've all been there at one time or another. It's important to take a break for you when you can.

We've highlighted you over at today.

geekymummy said...

Hang in there. I believe that it is actually good to teach our kids to be able to amuse themselves for a few minutes. Putting him in a safe spot with some toys while you take a breather and do something for yourself; paint your nails, read an article, write a blog post, that IS being a good parent. He is learning self sufficiency and you are taking care of you, which means you'll be better able to take good care of him.