Aug 26, 2009

I won't be offended if you answer NO to the question at the end of this post

So this post will probably lose me a lot of respect and friends and possibly even a few phone calls to the Health and Welfare department. But I just feel like posting it, it's kind of like saying it outloud, but without having to watch someone's face react to the horror. And today, I really feel the need to say it outloud. So if you read this and don't feel like being friends anymore, I get it.

With everyone's kids going back to school (and our school district being the last to start in the entire world, so I'm still sitting here dealing with summer child overload) I keep reading the posts about how mothers are sad to see their kids go, and how much they're going to miss them, and how much they absolutely love motherhood.

Want me to tell you what I think about motherhood?

I hate it.

There are times when I hate it more than any other thing on the planet.

And there goes most of my friends. But I'm sorry. I do. I hate being a mother.

I don't hate my children. And I don't hate the idea of motherhood in general. I just hate being a mother.

Not that there aren't moments when I feel all happy inside because the kids have done something cute, or wrapped their tiny arms around my neck for a hug. Those moments are good. It's just the rest of it I can't handle or stand.

Mostly I think I blame this on one of my particularly challenging children. I don't want to point fingers, but if you have been a long time blog reader, you'll know that I had nicknamed one of my brood "Screamer" so it probably wouldn't be hard to figure out who the challenging one is. Not that I'm pointing fingers. Because I'm not. But HOLY COW is that child hard.

He's an "almost" special needs child. Where nothing is really wrong with him (that we can label), but he's not entirely your average child.

And you know how it is when one of the kids is a complete uncontrollable mess of emotionally charged tantrums? The other kids have eyes and brains and bodies. They mimic. They push buttons. They see if they can get as far as....you know....the one kid, who seems to have no end to his tirades.

So all day I'm dealing with four (because even the baby is old enough now to throw her own impressive tantrums) out of control children who contend with me at every request.

I say, "It's time to get dressed."

And I get wailing and gnashing of teeth in return. Only two of my kids can dress themselves anyway, and one of them isn't very good at it. So after dressing myself, it's quite a pain to get 3 other wiggly human beings in clothes. And heaven forbid if they don't like the shirts I've picked. Or if they want to wear the pants that got covered in jam which I haven't washed yet. (Because the loads and loads and loads and loads of laundry that go along with motherhood is definitely on the list of what I hate.)

So then I say, "It's time for breakfast."

More wailing, teeth gnashing, and also pushing away of bowls if they're not the right color, or we don't have the right kind of cereal or if their spoon doesn't happen to be the kind with roses on it. And Monkey, being two years old and frustrated easily, has decided that even if the cereal is acceptable, it's still absolutely necessary to yell at it and throw it EVERY SINGLE MORNING.

That's just the beginning....of my mornings.

Heaven forbid if I have any expectations of my children, other than sitting in one place while I wait on their every need.

I say, "It's time to clean up."

And not only is there wailing and the teeth thing, but there is full on torturous screaming and tears and kicking of feet and throwing things, and Captain Hard Child has to physically be escorted to the toy room to clean, which involves much kicking, punching and head butting directed at me. And then things still don't get clean. The tantrums last hours.

I've tried methods.

I've tried reward and/or punishment systems.

I've tried screaming at them until I have a headache.

I've even tried what I thought I never would - - the spanking of bare butts.

Nothing phases these kids.

So this morning I took every single toy we have and put them in the already destroyed toyroom, then stuck the older two kids in their toyless rooms (I have to have a child safety door knob lock thingy to keep Captain in his room) told them they are completely grounded from toys, tv, games, computer, friends, bikes, EVERYTHING until they decide that they want to clean up their own mess. But guess who gets punished for that?

ME.

Now that the day has gone on they're just hanging on me, whining and demanding to do all of the things they're grounded from.

And amidst all of this, Captain Hard Child has decided that although it took over 2 years to potty train, he still would like to totally and completely refuse to poop. Not in a toilet, not in a diaper, not in the middle of a train station (although we haven't yet tried this one.) He just won't poop. So he holds it. He clenches his butt cheeks and holds it in.

He's been doing it for years, but it's gotten so much grosser, because now he's in underwear. And despite his best efforts, a little poop always squeezes through those cheeks. Multiple times a day. Until we give him an enema and he has no choice but to let out the much too huge turd (grown from all the holding.)

Very frustrating, I tell you.

Being a parent is hard. There's all those diapers to change. All the teaching. The countless meals to prepare and watch your kids NOT eat. Having absolutely no freedom to do anything without dragging an entire clan of little screaming things into public. The never ending cleaning. Not getting a full nights sleep for YEARS. A completely destroyed body from pregnancies.

MONEY. I haven't bought myself new clothes in like 5 years - unless you count the maternity clothes I bought when pregnant with Number Four because I wore the rest of mine out- because ALL of our money goes to the kids and their medical bills, and their ever changing shoe sizes, and their ability to drink enough milk that if we owned a cow one wouldn't be enough. And I still have to work from home making as much money as humanly possible in this crap economy, taking even more of my energy and time than I had to give in the first place.

And you roll all of this up into a tight little mommyhood ball, and guess what? I would like to toss it. Most days I feel like running away as far and fast as I can. Clearly I'm doing a horrible job at this. CLEARLY I can't handle these children. Especially that one. I don't like motherhood one little bit at all.

But I do love my kids. And I promised to do my best with them. So I don't toss it, or run. I just stay here, getting farther and farther away from sane.....

Are we still friends?

22 comments:

Heather said...

Yes.

But you need help. And I don't mean the mental kind. You need real actual HELP. Humans are not solitary creatures who are supposed to conquer the world on their own. We are pack animals. You need support from your "community". Go to your Relief Society President (I'm being serious here) and see if there are any elderly ladies or women whose kids have left home would would mind helping you out one day a week or something. Doing dishes, taking the kids to the park, or even just letting you take a trip on your own.

You're not a horrible mother, Melissa. I venture to say you're even NORMAL. ;)

I'd also add, "this too shall pass," but I'm afraid of getting my eyes blacked. Because trite condolences are EXACTLY what you need, right? haha

Chief said...

Yes, because I feel exactly the way you do...sometimes. I had to make the decision to go to work so that I would have an excuse as to why I am an unfit mother. I am not nurturing at all and I have a really hard time when he kids are upset.

You are not terrible, you are normal, because I want to be normal

the MomBabe said...

School hasn't started for us yet either. September 8... I think I can, I think I can.

Seriously though, you need a friend that you can call at 8 in the morning, say, can we play at your house today? And go and crash at in your PJ's. You need a friend like that. It's the only thing that got me through that first year of having 4 kids under 4.

Jaron and Michelle said...

You make me so excited to be having a baby! I'm sorry I live so far that I can't come help you. Are there any play groups you can get into that way you can interact with other moms and the kids can play with other people? You could also try putting them in the backyard and tieing each child to different sides of the yard then they can't get away or hit each other. It could work...

Rachel Sue said...

YES.

I wish I lived closer. Our kids are all close in age. You could come crash at my house for a few hours with them.

In all seriousness, I agree with Heather. Find someone in the ward willing to help you out. You can't do it all.

And honestly, despite the fact that you hate it, despite the fact that you want to run away, I still think you're a good mother. Why? Because you are still there. You are still teaching. You are still fighting to get them to clean up their own messes. And as long as you are fighting you will be a good mother.

Emmy said...

Yes definitely still friends.
Thank you for being so honest. Motherhood really can suck. I wish I had some magical solution.. I wish there was one thing that could be said that would make it all better, but I know better than that.
Yes ask for help, yes keep going and yes you and your kids will survive.

cc said...

Yes.

And I agree that you really are a better mother than you think. I see and know your deep concern and caring for the well being and opportunities of your children. That counts for a LOT. The frustrations are inevitable with that much to deal with and some days I really wish we could see what everyday home life was like for the pioneers with their toddlers and infants. They had to have had sanity issues most days as well.

You are truly doing your best and I wish I could do more for you somedays. You know I'm here for you (and crashing is acceptable, btw...just give me a heads up). But I agree with talking to the RS to see if there is anyone with time and no kids that can help in some way. With a ward this big it seems crazy that people can't be more involved with each other.

Nothing says we have to love it all the time, and don't always believe the people that seem to have it all figured out...

wonder woman said...

Yes yes yes YES.

And I only have two.

But there are days that I am just DONE. Done with the hitting. The messes. The never-ending chores. The exhaustion. The no money. (Espiecially that one.)

You are not the worst mother in the world. Just the most honest. ♥♥

Claire said...

Stop reading my diary.

MommyJ said...

If anybody isn't your friend anymore after that post, they weren't actually your friend in the first place.

Would it make you feel better if I told you that missing my kids after they started school lasted about five minutes, and then I was gloriously rejoicing in the new found cleanliness and quiet of my house?

I've been where you are. It sucks. One of the things I resent the most in mothering is the implication that in order to be a good mommy, I have to love everything that I do. Ha! I love my kids. But I hate housework. I hate the maintenance. I do it because I love my kids, but that doesn't mean I love doing it. And admitting that doesn't make you a bad mom.

Do you read Inkmom at I'm Not Crazy Mommy? She's my sister and has been through a lot with one of her children... your description of your hard child reminded me a bit of my nephew. My sister is awesome and is great at exchanging emails and offering support. She is always willing to be open about the process that they've been through trying to decide if her more difficult boy needs a label of any kind. They've seen doctors. She's read books. She's struggled. But I think she's in a good place now. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'd be happy to put you in touch with her.

You're normal. I promise. And though it hardly seems like it from where you are now, they do get older. And it does get easier.

Lourie said...

I found you through Rachel Sue's blog, and let me tell you gal, you are surrounded by women who feel the same way! I am one of them. Get help whenever you can. Sometimes we just need to let it out. But you are never alone, and never without friends.

Becca said...

so...you and I need to talk! Wait til you meet my kids and you will be thankful for yours :) Seriously. I feellike the crappiest parent a lot of days. Can't wait to see you when you guys come here! (and you better!)

Motherboard said...

Amen and Amen!!

You, my friend, have written what everyone else wishes they could, but were afraid to appear less than.

I did an actual jig all morning long while my kids were getting ready for school. I missed them for about 2.5 seconds. Then I promptly sighed a huge sigh and did what I wanted to do. Selfish? Sure, but so what?

I also have an incredibly difficult child...#3. She was the best birth control EVER! (I lost my mind and had another one...) The fits! Oh the fits! Everyone said it would get better when she turned 5... but for the love! She's 6 now, and we just had a huge meltdown not 45 minutes ago.

I LOVE my children, but I don't love being everyone's slave, referee, taxi driver, medic, cook, maid... Does that make me a bad person? No. It just means that God really did make all of us different. Besides a person can only take so many meltdowns before they--the grown up-- wants to have one too.

Everyone, that is normal and not a robot, dreams about throwing the towel in and running away to Brazil to sell leather on the beach (not you? Only me? dang), but the grown-up responsible ones are the ones that stay and do what we know is right.

Just know ♪♪♪you're not alone!!♪♪♪

DontYouWishYouWereUS said...

Wow! You are right, it must be really difficult to be one of those ladies who have the opportunity to create a life and bring it into this world. You have the opportunity every night to kiss, before bed, those who admire you dearly, a desirable opportunity not given to all. I am sure the gifts you were given get overwhelming at times. But next time you are struggling because your child is giving you reason to be impatient remember all the woman around the world who pray constantly to be able to have a child to potty train. You have been given a miracle, I am sad you aren't seeing them that way.

Deb S. said...

Hi! My first time stopping by. I have 2 grade schoolers at home and two in the army, one granchild and one on the way. It gets easy, then it gets hard again. It really does come in waves. You are just saying what some are to shy to admit. You will look back on this and chuckle one day!!!!

Deb S. said...

Hi! My first time stopping by. I have 2 grade schoolers at home and two in the army, one granchild and one on the way. It gets easy, then it gets hard again. It really does come in waves. You are just saying what some are to shy to admit. You will look back on this and chuckle one day!!!!

Alison Wonderland said...

Oh baby, you're singing my tune.

DontYouWishYouWereUS said...

I would like to apologize for my earlier statement. I realized after reading your next post that you were speaking out of fraustration. I am sorry.

DontYouWishYouWereUS said...

I would like to apologize for my earlier statement. I realized after reading your next post that you were speaking out of fraustration. I am sorry.

RhondaLue said...

K, so I'm totally NOT diagnosing your kiddos but because you mentioned the poo prob and the difficult child I thought I'd give you a couple of subjects to google to see if it sounds like something you might be dealing with because the first step to solving a problem is identifying it.

One thing to google about the "screamer" is Sensory Integration Disorder (SID). Sensory kids have behavior probs and meltdowns that are *not* normal childhood meltdowns. It sounds like you might be dealing with something that could use a label because with a label you can get therapy for the child. Just something to look up and see if it's way off base or perhaps hits the mark. I have a friend that has a child with Aspergers (on the Autism spectrum) but he also has SID and I'm not sure which (both probably!) causes all the meltdowns but he's perfectly smart and functioning..just screams and tantrums..a LOT. People think its bad mothering that causes him to be this way but IT. IS. NOT.

Another thing that caught my eye was the poop in the undies dealio. I thought my son, for the LONGEST time, was holding it in because he didn't want to stop playing but I found out that he was severely constipated which in turn causes encopresis, google it, it wasn't his fault at all. Dr put him on some long-term MIralax and we up his daily fiber intake and he does MUCH better. Not saying that's what is wrong but something to look into to see if it fits or not.

We all get overwhelmed, read my today's post about the craphole I'm living in at the moment, but we vent, we move on, we keep going. You'll get past these hard times to enjoy some better times. keep the faith!

Erin said...

One of my four is going through very similar tirades (over cleaning up toys or not getting to have one more glass of juice). It is VERY difficult for the whole family. I am not finding the rewards/punishment systems to work. I recently read an article by Alfie Kohn in the NY times about "unconditional parenting". I am going to check his book out of the library and see if it helps.

The potty training can become such a power struggle and it is really awful. My son has mostly grown out of that issue now (he is 6). When they are constipated they will get stuff that leaks out around the hard blockage and they really can't control that. That is really not his fault. If he can get regular, then that problem may go away.

Stacy said...

I just found your blog on MMB, and no. You're not the only one. I love my kids dearly, but there are times where all I want is. to. be. left. alone. All alone. There are days where I feel like I would give my left arm to have a night where I sleep without at least one small child crawling all over me. Its so validating to know I'm not the only one. Thanks for giving it voice. I'll come back soon!