Wednesday, January 14, 2009

this, too, shall pass

Still sick. But, as of Monday, each day I feel a little better, so I can finally see the light. I'm easing my way back to normal life. Normal life punctuated with coughs.

Losing all of last week has really thrown my new year for a loop -- I feel as if it hasn't even begun! I missed two SPTs due to being sick and looking really, really scary (really). I haven't made any progress yet on my goals for the new year, but I'm trying to be easy on myself and remember that change can occur just as easily on January 15th as on January 1st.

Yesterday was one of those days when I just wanted to run away and not be the mother. Since that's not an option, I had to stay and stick it out, but I found myself in tears and on my knees more than once.

Eva and I seem to be going through a rough patch. At least, that's what I have to tell myself to be able to survive right now, not that she's just a mean girl or that we already have insurmountable mother/daughter issues (are either of those possible at age 3?).

Most of the time, when she looks at me, she has a scowl on her face. She talks with a bossy and/or mean tone. She flat out refuses to do things that I ask her to do. So far my response of calmly and matter-of-factly telling her that we don't talk like that in our family/she does have to help out/etc. has not been very successful.

I need a new strategy, as I fear I might be the one scowling and not talking nicely if this continues. If (when) things escalate, she has to go to her room until she calms down and is ready to re-join the family activities/living space. Several times, she has crumpled into believable tears after I've reprimanded her. Yesterday, I rocked with her for awhile and reassured her that I loved her. When I said, "you know that I love you so much, right?" she just shook her head with tears rolling down her cheeks. What the?

Why is motherhood so trying? I can't think of any other job that would tax me to the limit like this one does.

{The cherry on top of my day was Lucas's homework: he brought home a stack of tangrams and we had to try to form them into a circle, a square, a triangle, a rhombus, etc. I couldn't do one. single. one. Nothing makes you feel better like feeling you're NOT smarter than a 4th grader!}

I have to borrow Denise's mantra that this, too, shall pass. I have to believe that.


Jessica said...

i'm a friend of kristi's, so i found your blog through hers. i don't know if i've ever commented before, but i just thought i'd recommend the book "raising your spirited child." someone recommended it to me when i was going through a particularly frustrating time with my middle child, and i really loved how it helped me understand ALL of my children better because they are ALL spirited. and apparently i am too, which is partially i think why my kids can be so trying to ME sometimes.

anyway, i enjoy reading your blog and love how you make time to be creative. that is one of my goals for this year. hope you keep feeling better!

Amy said...

I'm glad the light at the end of the tunnel is glowing for you right now. And I'm sorry that Eva is such a trial. Kaitlin's the same way, so I know exactly what you're going through. I think it's the transitional months between ages, or something. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.

At least you have a beautiful photo for your blog! ;)

amy m said...

Michelle I feel I'm in the very same place with Megan. We are not seeing eye to eye and think we are bugging each other. The only thing I can think to do is be as calm and consistent as possible, but I'm not seeing the results I want either. If they're testing us, when does the test end and we pass?

I wish I had an answer as to why motherhood is so trying. It's definitely teaching us and learning is not always an easy thing.

I'm sorry your going through this while feeling ill. That's the worst. Love your mantra.

Amanda L. said...

Oh Michelle. Being sick and dealing with the emotional throws of motherhood is enough to tip me over the edge. You seem to be handling Eva calmly though.

I too felt the "Raising Your Spirited Child" was helpful with my kids...I also just began "The Power of Positive Parenting". I'm way too negative and need to try and change that.

You will make it through!

Your photo is bone chilling and beautiful.

Holly said...

In this, as with many things, you are not alone--even though it might feel that way at times. I'm not sure, but I think there can just be something between mothers and daughters that brings out the worst at times (and the best, thank goodness). Even though our daughter is 5, she has known my *buttons* since she was 2.5. I don't understand it, but try my best to get through it.

I'm sorry too that you had to deal with MATH on top of everything else. I would not have soldiered through that with your grace I'm sure.

I hope you are feeling better very soon.

Jill said...

I am so sorry you've been sick for so long, that's definitely not a great way to start the new year. You're so right about being able to make changes any day, not just starting at the new year. Maybe your year should start in refreshing would that be?

Oh dear with Eva, what in the world? It's like she was born a teenager or something. Just remember, you're the boss!

I don't even know what a tangram is!

patsy said...

oh my- sick for so long!!
there is so much of it going around... I am so sorry.

being sick is so hard especially when you are the mom!

I don't even know what to say about Eva, except you are right - this too will pass- and you really are a GREat mother.
that book title sounds interesting...?

Crystalyn said...

oh michelle! big hugs! i hope you can get over your cough and sickness once and for all. goodness.

i totally know what you mean about having a day you don't want to be a mother. even in the rare even that we get a "day off" we still don't entirely get a day off.

about eva, i feel your pain. hanna will often tell me, "I don't even like you anymore." and she'll get the mean and scowly face too. there is just something different about girls. hopefully you can know that it isn't you and eva...she is a girl. at least for me it's a lot different than it's been with my boys.

you're right...this too shall pass.
hang in there.

Barb said...

"Normal life punctuated with coughs" made me cringe, but it is the rest of the post that has the empathy flowing from me to you. You are a good mother. You can do it.

Denise said...

Oh dee. Your description of Eva sounds so much like Sarah. At times she talks to me in such a manner as I would never have EVER dreamed of speaking to ANY adult--let alone my mother. I have often wondered if it just comes with being one of those valiant latter-day spirits, or if maybe it's a result of watching too many Disney TV shows with obnoxious role models. I'm sorry you have been having to deal with Eva's sassy attitude on top of not feeling well. Wish I had some good advice for you, but I'm struggling with the same thing myself. I think I'll look for that "Spirited Child" book at the library.

Love the "prayer needed" label!

April said...

I have a few things to say, forgive me.

First that picture is just downright incredible. Beautiful winter scene...could be a banner next is just so lovely.

Next, what is it about the universe serving up the exact opposite as the "word of the year"? It's hard to "progress" when you're just trying to stay out of bed. I always feel like I'm "asking for it" when I announce my word.

And lastly, I think you are a wonderful mother...and yes, this phase will pass. I had moments like this with my girls (still do) but I hardly thought we would survive the toddler years. Picturing you in the rocking chair with her, and on your knees, has me soft and tender inside and wholly convinced that you are one of the best mothers, and the very best one for Eva.

Laurie said...

Does it help at all to know you are not alone in your feelings about motherhood? There are those days...and then there are others, luckily.

Amazing photo, by the way.

rmt said...

I've been sick this week too. I'm on the mend and glad to hear that you are, too.

I've had a lot of rough patches with Daniel (mostly thanks to my ex and his habit of bad-mouthing me, grrr!) and I wish I had some amazing wisdom for you, but I don't. I think you are doing the right thing with being patient and reassuring Eva that you love her. And it WILL pass, eventually.

Good luck!

Michelle D. said...

My comments, when I leave them, are always too long - sorry in advance - I am not a skilled blogger. First of all, The Self-Esteem Trap, best parenting book ever!! When you have a moment (ha ha) - read it. (I read a lot of these for work) Also, You are a great mother. And I will tell you why. You are very consistent with Eva - calm, loving but firm when necessary. Children at this age have realized that they are their own person - and not a part of their parents. This is unsettling, so they try to figure out how and where they fit into the whole scheme of things. this usually involves pushing limits, which is how we find out where the limits are. When children have "loving limits" as Mr. Rogers calls them, they feel secure. When they feel secure they tend to feel comfortable enough letting their growing number of feelings out. This is especially trying if there is not consistency in where those limits are - because one person ends up with all the feelings. I love Marc to pieces, but I think Eva has shown Marc the limits, instead of the other way around. Know that a lot of these challenges that Eva is going through now will turn into great qualities as an adult because of the parenting you are doing today. She will be independent, empathetic, creative and strong willed (which as an adult woman is not a bad thing). She is lucky to have you!!

Fred/Dad said...

Hope you are about over your bout with sickness....
I looked out your back door many times and it did not occur to me to take a great photo with the icicles and mountain!

Liz said...

Oh so sorry you are still sick!

I wonder if this trying time with Eva is just an age thing. Because my Jared (same age) has been really pushing my buttons lately too. I hope it gets better soon!

And that math! Oh my! I had to hold Lindsey's hand through her homework was a page of the 2 multiplication tables with the same problem over and over mixed in all over the page. She was so mad that she had to answer the same questions over and over...and I was trying to get her to see that it actually made things easier because when she got to a problem she had already solved earlier she would already know the answer! But no, she was not taking the easy route with it. Tears of frustration through it all. Oh dear!

Elizabeth said...

I think Real Simple got it's current cover inspiration from your blog banner.:)

I hope you feel better soon! It will all be easier again when you are feeling back to normal.

emily said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you're having such a tough time, Michelle. I too think that you are an amazing mother, and such a strong woman. I hope that you continue recovering, and that you're able to work through your difficulties with Eva. :)

Melinda said...

I really feel for you with Eva. What you described is exactly what I am going through with Ryan. I was really hoping to be done with it by 3! I am going crazy with him and I am nervous that I have a terror child? If you come up with a solution please let me know!

Susan said...

The very fact that you have 19 comments should cheer you up!

You have many darling friends who support and love you. Eva does too, but it's hard to really believe that when she treats you this way. There isn't much as hurtful as rejection.

I wish I were there to help you somehow (cook, do the tangrams...ha ha, what the heck are they?) But for now, my prayers will have to fill in the blanks.

Love you so.

wende said...

i'm sorry about the sick - i only had the bad flu for a few days and that was ENOUGH for me! it's so hard to be sick and be the mom, sometimes a sick day with this job would be so nice. i hope you're better soon and back to taking gorgeous SPTs - although i'm certain you don't look as scary as you think you do!

sorry about eva, my spencer was SO hard at that age, and he was my number three - coincidence? anyway, i just had to be hard nosed and consisted for a while until he finally relaxed and stopped trying to rest the fences all the time. it was exhausting for a while but now he is the best kid. it was worth it. and i love jill's reminder that you ARE the boss!

get better!

wende said...

ok, that was a comment that needed proofing before posted! sorry - it should read "consistant" and "stopped trying to test the fences" - sorry!

Claudissima said... think keeping in mind that you should not engage and you are the boss should come across blundly and if doesn't it should. Tell me about it, I am a whimp lately with Alexei. It has been very difficult to the point where I am questioning myself. I think sometimes a mean mother comes better in the long run as a fun mother that is been walked all over. I am praying for you...just keep up the I'm in charge here...Until it subsides...Mark your territory.! Ohhh my! I agree with you, it is the very hardest thing I have ever done with so little recognition even from those that love us the most.

TX Girl said...

I'm sorry you are still dealing with this nightmare illness. I for one am anxious for spring and this terrible sickness season behind us.

I have no recommendations for Eva, as I'm still in the throws of it with Lulu (although on the brighter side it does get better in some ways, but worse in others).

Amie said...

This is such a sad title. I hope you really are on the mend. I'm sure it has been really hard being sick for so long.

I know I have many hard mother/daughter times in my future but I still think it gets easier. The irrational "big toddler" days were hard... then I felt guilty yelling at her, especially when I look back at how little she could make me crazy. I still can get a little crazy but I guess she has mellowed and so have I. I don't know my point here... but maybe an... I kind of get it... it gets better.... I'm sorry...

Kelly said...

I'm so sorry to hear that this sickness has just taken hold! What a discouraging way to start the year. I hope you begin to feel much better (no cough punctuation) very soon.

About Eva, Brynlee brought me to my knees at that same age. Strong-willed does not even begin to cover what she was at that point. It was very very difficult between us, and made harder because she adored Keith. I felt like such a mother failure. But, somewhere between 4 and 4 1/2, she had a serious mellowing. I have no idea what it was, but she was pretty easy after that. So, I do think there's hope! Of course, now that we're getting hormones added to the mix she bursts into tears at breakfast with the exclamation "toast just doesn't work out for me!", and I feel like I'm heading into scary uncharted territory again. Taxing for sure. I think you are a wonderful mom, and I hope you can find some peace soon.

carlo said...

hugs for you.

motherhood is hard, no doubt about it.

your day sounds familiar, i think we have all been there.

(though it doesn't help you to feel better to hear it when your heart hurts so much, right?)

again, i am playing catch up so i am sure this day is off of your radar but know we are here for you!

Anonymous said...

Mya and I are in this ditch as well and some days the failure of it is almost too much. I can't understand why some days motherhood is such a joy and ease for me, and others I feel completely lost. I guess when the other party can be prone to extreme mood changes and fits of rage, it is hard to expect anything.

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