Thursday, September 8, 2011

'That parent'

Today has been a bad day. And it's only 2pm. And as I think about it, not just today but pretty much since moving we have had one long, only shortly interrupted with happiness, bad day.

Especially with Henry.

I think I have spent more time crying on the floor in the hall or in Henry's room than I can remember doing since he was born.

Today was a continuation of the bad day. Here is a quick run down: Henry is up for an hour in the early, early morning (2-3:30am), will not cooperate with getting dressed, throws a tantrum, has several time-outs which result in him hitting me several times during the time-out since he won't stay in time-out and I have to hold him; screaming, and crying ensue on both parties' ends. Finally some calm is restored, a couple books are read, clothes are put on and Henry goes to preschool.
Then I pick him up from preschool only to find out that he has thrown a rock at a boy's head and created two gashes on said boy's forehead while playing at recess.

I have to stop here first to say that I don't think Henry is a bad kid. He does have a good heart and he is a good boy but somehow he is always involved in the trouble. One of my cousins who worked at the preschool said, "Oh the boys are always throwing rocks and we always have to get on them about it." But, of course, Henry is the only one to nail another kid in the head with a rock and cause gashes.

Just like he manages to be the only little boy who wants to always play with the biggest boy in the preschool and end up getting knocked over or pushed off the slide.

It's like he's a magnet or something.

A while back a friend of mine wrote a great blog post called "Unfit" wherein she discussed some of the frustration she was feeling surrounding her emotions about parenting. I think today's post will be a bit reminiscent of her post in that I feel completely unfit to be a parent at this moment.

Like I said, I don't believe for a second that Henry's is bad. I just feel like I am failing him somehow: not giving him enough structure; disciplining him too much and not advocating for him enough; not disciplining him enough; not finding ways to help him sleep; not finding ways to get him to eat more; worrying too much about him;not worrying enough about him.

I mean, I blew up in the car on him. I yelled. I mean yelled. I told him he knew better than to throw rocks, what if that boy has to get stitches, how could he have done that, no shows for him and certainly no treasure from the treasure box this weekend even if he earns enough magnets etc.

Then I fee like I over reacted, I mean, kids will at some point throw rocks right? If it had happened to him I'd be unhappy about it but if they were all throwing rocks at each other and Henry was the unlucky one I would just tell him to not play where kids are throwing rocks next time and give him some ice cream or something.

But somehow, now I feel like Henry is, again, "that kid" like he became in nursery and swimming lessons-even though he wasn't malicious but just, I dunno a kid; getting ouy of his seat or not staying on the step.

I guess what it comes down to is that I have this nagging feeling that never wants to leave that I have ruined Henry or done something to make him 'that kid.' You know, the one primary leaders and teachers will always dread coming into their class. Then I have another nagging voice that says I'm a horrible parent for even thinking of letting myself see him labeled as, 'that kid' and I should stand up for him more in every perceived slight towards him.

I don't know what to do. I want to help Henry but I feel like I don't know how. I need him to eat more and sleep more in the hopes that it will be easier for him to have more good days. Mostly I feel guilty that we move so much and have to change his routine all the time based on moving and then school schedules.

Then enters the big guilt which says this is just another reason why we shouldn't get to have more kids-look at the horrible job I'm doing with just one.

I know I'm viewing things too emotionally and not rationally enough but it is still painful and frustrating. So what do you do when you feel like a failure as a parent so you don't just crawl into a hole and cry?


Megan said...

Oh Deb I am so sorry. I have those days...and many of them. The more kids you have the more "those" days you have and the more tears you shed along with more time on your knees. I have to say I always come back to the book "Christlike Parenting" by Dr. Latham. I read and reread those chapters. They inspire me. Also I found the visiting teaching message for this month so comforting and helpful right now. It will get better...and then worse...and then better again. Hang in there - and Henry is a cute kid with amazing parents. I am sure you are over thinking things. Let me know if you need sometime to chat with - we all know I have some crazy monsters in my house!

Mika said...

Sometimes, Deborah, you do just crawl into a hole and cry. I spent most of yesterday crying, even when I was on campus walking to class, which was really ridiculous. A few days ago I saw the BYU newspaper with a headline about Pres. Samuelson's recent devotional, "Worthy does not mean perfect." Lately I've been thinking a lot about the idea that as humans we're constantly changing - the Atonement guarantees us the possibility of change for better. Today is a lousy day, maybe tomorrow too and the day after, but it doesn't make you a lousy person. Because of the Atonement, we're never limited to being defined as any negative quality. If I feel like a failure, maybe I am actually failing at something (being patient, most often), but I am not that thing.

And really, cry about it. Then email me your new address because I have something to send you.

Brooke Self said...

Oh Deborah, I am sure you are an awesome Mommy! :) I feel I cannot say much because I am not a mom yet but I totally agree with Mika- sometimes we are hard on ourselves because we are not perfect. When in reality we can only do our best. Sounds to me like you are doing a great job with him and he is a such a darling little boy. At his age I am sure it is simply in his nature to be rowdy and aggressive. Smile and know that you are awesome! And you could prob parent 5 more if you wanted to and be great at it. :)

The comstocks said...

I know every mother has days like this and even weeks! I forsure do! For our bedtime routine we used the book Healthy sleep habits happy child. It is the best! Good luck you are not alone!

Mary said...

It seems like kids go in cycles. Sometimes, at the end of the day, I tell Chase I should win an award for simply not strangling my child. And then other times of course, she's--well, not perfect, but decently behaved and I like her very much.
It's so hard when kids don't eat or sleep well, because you know very well that they would be so much happier if they would just eat/sleep, but there's no way to force them! We do a lot of bribing with desserts to get Liv to eat healthy food. Probably not a recommended tactic, but it's really the only thing that will get her to eat more than a few bites of dinner. I also find that she'll eat a lot when we're out and about. They tell you not to let your kid graze all day like that, but that's another thing I choose to ignore.
And I do sit and cry sometimes. Or lock myself in the bathroom. I even found myself screaming into a pillow once (a lifetime first!). Parenting is hard, and every kid has something about them that is particularly difficult. Liv is actually really good at church and preschool, but she is quite terrible at home. Really. No one ever believes me when I tell them this, but she is just unbelievably defiant. And sometimes downright mean.
My only hope comes from knowing I was a similar child, and I turned out alright. In the meantime, I just pray and pray and pray some more for patience. I'm really terrible at patience. I yell at Livia more than I care to admit.

Jeff and Lauren said...
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Jeff and Lauren said...

I am so glad you wrote this post, because lately I have been feeling like I'm not cut out to be a parent either. I often loose my cool when getting upset at Ava and get so mad! At times I've resorted to spanking, which you know I totally disagree with, and yet I've done it a few times, and every time after wards I feel horrible. Then I breakdown and cry right in front of Ava, which I'm sure is not healthy for her to see. It's nice to see that I'm not the only one that has to deal with a defiant toddler. I frequently find myself telling Jeff, "I'm going to go insane! I'm going to pull my hair out!" I'll have to read that "Christlike Parenting" your other friend was talking about- I bet it's a good read. Keep your head up! All us moms are hear for you and understand you! And yes, you are not perfect, but who is? Despite all the "expert" advice we hear out there, we are still all trying to figure out how to be a good parent with the non-textbook children we all have. Oh and one more thing- did you know that Thomas S. Monson was a bit of a trouble maker when he was a little boy? If the Prophet was a rowdy boy, then I'm sure your little boy can grow up to be just as awesome as a man as the Prophet!

Jennie said...

I think it's important to realize that yes, it's hard on Henry to move and have to change routines, but that even if he weren't there, it's hard for everyone, and so it's an adjustment for you, and so having to adjust to that, while taking care of a child who is also having a hard time with that adjustment, it's going to be hard. But just take it easy and don't be hard on yourself, and don't feel like you need to be hard on him either, because really it's just an adjustment period. It may seem like it's going to be a perpetual adjustment period, but things will regulate and even out. He's always going to have those days, because he's a kid and he's growing up, and pretty much every day is a new experience of life, and things are changing all the time. Help him when you can, get Johann to help when he can, and when there's nothing you can do, there's nothing you can do. We feel a lot of responsibility for our children, and often think that there are things that we need to do, but sometimes we just have to sit back and let them be the change themselves that they need. And be okay with however long that takes for them. When you feel like there is nothing you can do, there probably isn't, but that doesn't mean that's a bad thing. It just means Henry has something that's his own thing to take care of.