Monday, February 28, 2011

A Girl Less Distracted

A girl less distracted would be able to figure stuff out.

A girl less distracted would be able to buckle down in her job and focus.

A girl less distracted would be able to be calmer with her child and maybe not snap as much.

The result of being a mean mommy.
A girl less distracted would be able to give her husband the affection, the attention that he craves.

A girl less distracted would be able to devote more of her time to God, to her church, to her bible and her faith.

A girl less distracted would be able to juggle a lot more balls and not let so many of them drop every day.

A girl less distracted would be know how to style her hair, her outfits, effortlessly.

A girl less distracted would always be able to put her best face forward and say the right things.

Unfortunately, I am not a girl. Apparently, somewhere along the way, I lost the girl and grew up. I don't feel like a grown up, in fact, I don't even think that I look like a grown up, but as the calendar keeps telling me, I am definitely in the grown up category.

I am not sure if I qualify to be in the "woman" category though. Women are sexier, more accomplished, more capable. I definitely don't fit in there, either.

So, where do I belong? I have a lot on my plate - mother, wife, volunteer, full-time employee, and the list goes on and on. It's a lot to juggle, I just don't understand why I can't do it with as much grace as others appear to. Do all women feel as though they can't handle all that life throws their way? Is everyone just a better pretender than I am?

Every day feels like another uphill battle, another day that I have to pick myself back up by the boot straps and drag myself up the hill just to slide all of the way back down to the bottom each night.

I would like to start embracing the girl a little more again. Perhaps be a little more fun, a little more spontaneous (is that even possible with a kid?), maybe even start to care about my appearance, about make-up, about style and fashion.

Perhaps when I figure out how to be the girl less distracted, I can become the woman that I am sure is lurking in here somewhere.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


"Get. Over. Here. NOW!"

I am done chasing a giggling 3 year old. She thinks that running from me is a game, something that she can get away with. I am done.

I walk away, tell her good-bye and leave her behind. She comes chasing after me, begging me not to leave her, letting me know that she is right there with me. I am tired of the threats, the bribes, the warning and yelling. I don't like to yell, I don't like feeling like I am talking to myself and I especially do not like to be ignored.

I know that passers-by and little old ladies are judging me and that they find my parenting skills lacking. And, at this point, I am not sure that I care anymore. They do not know that I deal with this behavior everywhere. At home, at the grocery store, at church, restaurants - you name it.

If I should I actually snatch a grasp of her defiant little hand she will wrestle herself down to the ground. She has laid herself out in the middle of floors, parks and (my personal favorite) parking lots. I am not doing this anymore. If I allow her this type of control at 3 - then I will be battling it at 4, 5 and beyond. And I refuse.

I critique myself often and I always come up short. I am jealous of women that can talk to their children in a calm, rational, soothing way. I am afraid to get down to her level (at times) because she has been known to spit, hit, scratch or bite my face. (Yes, really.)

Things weren't always this way. I used to be able to speak to her, to rationalize with her, but as she has grown stronger and smarter, her ability to push every.last.button has intensified. Other children love me, this kid hates me from sun up to sun down and I cannot fathom her reasoning.

I have reached my breaking point and it is not pretty. I am exhausted. My body aches. And she is still pushing. It is ridiculous that it is Sunday night and I am looking forward to going to work tomorrow.

In my critiques of myself, there is a lot of guilt.

I should not want to go to work (and I used to not want to). I should want to be at home taking care of my child.

I should not yell at my child or (dare I say it) threaten to spank her when she gets out of line (although the few times that I have managed to swat her, she has laughed at me - or hit me back). I should be able to reason with her, talk to her about her behavior, something.

I should be a better parent. Statistically speaking, we did everything right - we weren't high school drop outs, we waited until we were older, she has been in church, literally, since she was 6 days old, we read to her constantly, I breastfed the whole first year, we co-slept for, like, forever. I don't understand it.

I hold myself up to these ideals, this idea of Michelle Duggar who believes that you should not have to raise your voice, bargain with or threaten your children in order to raise well-behaved children that grow up to be honest, hard-working, virtuous adults. And she should know, she has 19 active children that seem to know how to behave in public, how to speak to adults and respect their parents.

Instead, I find myself idolizing Kate Gosselin, lately. I am pretty sure if I were in her shoes when 6 of her children were 3, I would have been in prison for murder. I cannot imagine what it would be like to wrangle 6 children all going through this same (I don't even know what to call this)stage as well as twin 6 year olds and a cheating husband. And to be able to keep a clean house, cook organically sound meals, plan exciting events for TV crews and (did I mention?) keep a clean house. The woman should be called a saint, a martyr instead of a B (but that's a story about double standards that I may blog about in the future).

I need a break, a vacation. Not a family vacation, maybe not even a spousal vacation (although that might be nice, for the hubs and I to just be a couple again, instead of parents). I need some time for me, a vacation to be able to read and speak and, well, whatever I want to do (karaoke, anyone?) instead of having my life dictated by a moody 3 year old.

I have been thinking about attending this conference. Aside from being fun to get away, maybe I will also learn to be a better parent.

And maybe, just maybe, I will find out that I am really not lacking by as much as I thought.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

God's Love

She bounds across the stage, completely self assured and confident in her 3 year old steps. She raises her arms above her head, lifts her face toward the sky and begins to sing.

"God, you are the greatest I have eber seeeeeenn."

She is not on the stage at church and it is not a song that she has memorized or learned. It's one of the many songs that she has made up on the spot lately. We have spent the day at the outdoor museum, hiking the trail, looking at animals, rejoicing in the beautiful Spring day that has arrived at the end of February. And she felt compelled in the middle of the playground to worship God.

As she sings and performs, a small crowd gathers. They stare with mouths agape at the tiny performer as she twirls and sings completely unaware.

This creative, imaginative, boisterous and passionate creature is a gift that God has given me and now, now I finally understand His love.

I thought I knew love. I even thought I knew unconditional love until I met her. Suddenly, I acknowledge that there is this raw, guttural love for her that I have never known for any other human being.

And she does not love me like that.

She loves me, but she does not understand the love I have for her.

Our relationship with God is like that.

When she stumbles, my heart skips a beat, I hold my breath and reach my arms out for her.

God's arms are outstretched each and every time we stumble, waiting for us to dust ourselves off and come to Him.

When she recites her ABCs, counts correctly, or is sweet to a friend, I beam with pride and joy for her accomplishment.

God rejoices in our accomplishments and basks in the glory of our acknowledgement of his assistance with those accomplishments.

When she purposely disregards my warnings and my threats (over and over and over), and jumps on the couch, writes on the walls, slams doors with the defiance of a spoiled 15 year old, I become so enraged, so angry and disappointed that she cannot (and will not) listen to me.

God is angered by our choices, our decision to not follow his word, (on occasion) to not even read his word, to keep secrets from him, lie to ourselves and our neighbors.

When she was first born and I stared into that beautiful face and marveled at a face that I felt that I had known forever. I wondered how people, how I, could see sin in this beautifully innocent child.

Then she turned 2. And she lied for the very first time.

And I cried because I knew. I understood that Sin lives within all of us, no matter how hard our parents work to keep us free from it or how much they pray that we will not fall victim to it, no matter how cute or smart or talented we may be, we are all sinful beings.

As disappointed as I was at this revelation, I can only imagine how hurt, dejected and angry God must have been when Adam and Eve disobeyed him, or when the Jewish people that he saved from the Egyptians blatantly disregarded his laws for them.

Becoming a parent has taught me a very small fraction about the neverending, never ceasing love that God has for us.

And I am so grateful for the lesson.

Friday, February 25, 2011

On Chaos

You see the two cute kids - I see all that shit on the counter. 
Chaos overwhelms me.

Chaos overwhelms my home, my life, my house, my job and my car. I feel like I am living in a constant state of upheaval, always waiting for the next thing to happen.

I have order within my chaos: I know where to find clean socks and underwear when we need them, I know where I most likely hid a crochet needle or the salt, I know where most things in my house are, but, the chaotic, haphazard, and (let's just admit it) dirty home that I live in overwhelms me. Housework is not one of my stronger suits, not only because I feel like it is a never ending battle, but because I am the only one that is battling it.

I long for order, organization, direction and control. And yet, I live with a 3 year old. She's a strange roommate, but she makes me smile, even though she has yet to chip in on the bills or pay me rent.

Until recently our living arrangement worked well. People would ooh and ahh at the smart, cute, funny baby and I would put up with vomit and dirty diapers. Until recently.

We have now reached the stage of "3-Year-Olds-That-Can-Not-Sit-Still-Lest-They-Should-Fall-Asleep-and-Miss-Something". I call it Hell. Or at least Earth's closest resemblance to Hell.

Case in point:
"Time for Bed, Z."

"Okay, Mom"

(Perform all of the bedtime rituals: pajamas, read a story, snuggle her down into her bed, say prayers for everything within eyesite (oh, and Grandma and G-Daddy, too), discuss what fun things she has planned for tomorrow, turn off light)

Walk out of room, pick up crochet work, do approximately 2 stitches, notice that child's bedroom light is on.

Walk back to child's room, place child back in her bed, take away whatever toy or book (or scissors) she is trying to hide under pillow. Turn light back off, flash The Look one last time.

Sit back down, do 2 more stitches, hear child's imaginary play voices in bedroom, but light is still off, figure she is just talking herself to sleep.

Get through a row of crochet, feel someone staring at you...

"Momma, I need to use the bathroom..."

"You should go then." (She uses the bathroom all by herself, all day, but at night walking the 5 steps to me, or the 5 steps to the bathroom seems to be a hard decision.)

Moments later, notice that someone is trying to sit down next to you.

"What are you doing, you are supposed to be in bed."

"But, (fake cough)I had (fake cough)an idea (clears throat)..." This is how I know that she is A) stalling for time to come up with an idea, and B) about to ask or propose something that she knows I will say "no" to.

"What is your idea?"

(voice drops to an almost inaudible squeak)"I was thinking... I could sleep... next to you on the couch while you watch a movie?"

Pick up child, carry her back to her bed, where she commences to finally go to sleep.

(after talking, playing, flipping through about six books, jumping off of the bed onto the floor, running across floor to stand on chair, jumping off of chair onto the floor, running between the bathroom door and her door 3 times in rapid sneaky succession)

At 12:30, the noises stop, the movement stops, I step into her room and scoop her from the floor, the closet, the chair, the "hiding" spot between the chair and the wall and place her back in her bed, snuggle her under the covers, kiss her forehead and whisper, "I love you".

Coming back to my orginal point, I live in a dirty, loud, imaginative, loud, playful, loud world where people (albeit small people) randomly jump off of furniture, run quickly around sharp corners screaming "BOO", and there is quite possibly someone either wearing a shirt and no underwear or underwear and nothing else rolling around on the floor.

I am severely sleep-deprived.

Everything is in chaos. We are about to add more chaos to the mix (more on that later, and, no, we are not having another kid - at least not right away).

Chaos overwhelms me, but at least I pretend like I know how to handle it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Taking a Time Out

Being a momma is hard.

It takes dedication, patience, tenacity and perseverance to feel like you are actually doing it right.

How do we even know that we are doing it right? Most of the time we repeat a lot of the things that our parents did with us, even though, when we fully admit it we are all trying to parent differently from our parents because they are the ones that messed up so badly. Or at least that's what I hear from my friends and confidants. Numerous times I have looked at my child, writing on the wall, jumping on the bed, callously disregarding my threats of time out, punishment, and snack deprivations and thought, "Girlie, you are lucky you have me because my father would have..."

In the beginning, these tiny humans are relatively easy. In the first few days you have nurses, midwives, mothers and mother-in-laws explaining how and helping to do everything for you. There are people available to hold the baby and coo at the baby so that you can grab a nap or take a shower.

Even after the newness wears off (and everyone goes home), for the first few months, while physically and emotionally demanding, your tiny human is still pretty easy. Motherly instinct has designed us to be able to provide these very simple needs excellently. Tiny humans have relatively few and simple demands and it is easy to fall into a pattern. The slightest changes in routine can completely throw off your day (the first time they sleep through a feeding, a missed BM diaper, a potential rash, the first sniffle, etc).

You begin to wonder why everyone makes such a big deal out of being a parent, it can't be that hard, you've got it whipped.

At about 3 months, your child suddenly wakes up, stays awake, and is alert and focused on you like never before. Suddenly all of those routines and schedules are out of the window and you spend all of your waking hours cleaning up after, meeting the demands of and pampering your baby.

The Supergirl at 3 months (my little chunky monkey)
Things like long showers, facials, shaving one's legs on a consistent basis are all but distant memories of the not-so-long-ago past and you spend the next two years of your life in the trenches of Babydom and Toddlerhood. You have changed from woman to Momma and there is no going back.

I have struggled with dividing my life from the life of my child. As she gets older and becomes more independent, I have to find a way to become me again. I have to find things that interest me and take care of myself more. I guess that's why Momma's Time out is being born. While I adore my child and would love to play endless hours of beauty parlor, play kitchen and princess dress up, I NEED to have myself back more than I have ever needed anything. I NEED to not be three again. I NEED to detach myself from my daughter so that she does not view me as friend but as parent.

How do you tell your child - I love you and adore you and think you are one of God's most awesome creations, but I really need you to pick up your toys, go to your room and let me have some space?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...