Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekends Are....Hard. Birthday Parties Are....Hard. Motherhood Is....Hard.

Okay, so first, I just have to give a little disclaimer.  I really do love my life.  I realize that I'm very  blessed and that lots of people would love to be in my position.  I used to hear or read things when Annie was a baby and (arrogantly) think "so you hate staying home with your kids.  Well, stop." And honestly, a part of me does still feel that way. I kind of hate it when Oprah panders to her audience by saying that staying home with kids is "the hardest job in the world".  I've come to believe that it may be the most emotionally draining, but really, try telling somebody doing manual labor in a third world country that my job is harder than theirs and we will have words, Oprah.

That said, in real life and in blogging, I believe there is a line.  On the one hand I want to be positive and count my blessings and not for one minute gripe about the burdens of this BEAUTIFUL life.  On the other hand, I want to be real with my feelings.  I appreciate that in others and I've been told that it's appreciated in me.  So, tonight I'm doing the latter. 

For some reason, the weekends have been particularly hard lately.  Peyton has to work two weekends a month and then he usually picks up an extra Saturday.  It makes a big difference in our finances, but it's also about connections within pharmacy and we've always agreed it was best for this season and when the kids got older and more aware of his presence and more involved in things on the weekends, he'd stop.  His Saturdays are longer than his weekday shifts and for a long time I thought that was why I dreaded them.  But Saturdays really aren't that much longer, actually.  Then I convinced myself that it was because everyone is hanging out with their own husbands/family on the weekends so it's hard to do stuff with other people.  I have several single friends, though, and my family is in town, so that's really a cop out, too.  I'm not sure what makes them so hard.  Maybe it's just being jealous of other people who have their husbands at home on the weekend.  But that's not it either because he works a forty hour week like everyone else, and he makes up for the weekends with days off during the week.  Which I've always maintained that I preferred anyway. So, I'm really not sure what it is.

Last Saturday was kind of "eventful", but this Saturday topped it.  It was all stupid little things (a pooped in tub, a rusted iron, a stubborn toddler who refused a desperately needed nap, and a cranky baby who did nap well but wanted to cry almost the entire time he was awake). It just all added up.  We had a birthday party to go to and I knew in my mind that when Annie misses her nap she's not the most well behaved.  As I've said, though, I really don't want to be a slave to toddler naps, so of course, we went ahead and went to party- in matching gingham chick outfits that coordinated with the party's barnyard theme, no less. was a disaster.  Ann Peyton was well behaved at first, but things went downhill once we started eating.  She didn't want to sit down and eat and Graves started fussing in the arms of the sweet lady who offered to hold him.  We did time out several times, talked about the consequences of not being on your best behavior at a friend's birthday party (going home and missing cupcakes), and I even did my non-spanking, but still Dobson recommended shoulder pinch (which we reserve for more major infractions and which in the past has worked like a charm).  Nothing worked.  She screamed, ran away from me, and spit in my face.  It was the first time in my life I have ever felt like I didn't have control of her in public and one of the few times I've felt that way in general.

I left the party and the three of us cried the entire way home.  The people there were the sweetest people and were all super understanding and were trying as best they could to help me.  They all have children or grandchildren and I know there is nothing new under the sun, as Solomon would say.  I guess that's part of what bothered me- that I needed anyone's help.  The birthday boy's dad ended up having to catch Ann Peyton when she ran away from me, his mom had to help me get them to the car, and as previously stated, a precious lady I've met one time before held my son for half the party.  I've said it before when I was on bedrest and when I had a brand new baby and that time at Target when I couldn't get my buggy out of the bathroom- I don't mind people helping me...unless I feel like I actually need their help.  Isn't that THE stupidest thing?   I just felt like I was that mom.  That incompetent, overwhelmed young mom who was being given the run around by her two year old.  I was so embarrassed by her behavior and after apologizing to the hostess later tonight, I legitimately thought about calling every other guest and apologizing to them as well. 

I got home and everyone was still screaming or whining and my head was killing me and my arm literally hurt from clutching Graves so tight because I was that anxious during the whole thing.  And I wanted to throw up.  Fortunately, Peyton got home within the hour and we went for a walk and talked and everyone was able to cool down.

Peyton and I did have a conversation about hoe sometimes I really think that he believes his job is much more difficult than mine.  And truly, most of the time it probably is.  But it still stings that he feels that way because I want the validation that what I'm doing is not easy.  I've said this to very few people, but there are days (not frequently, but it happens) when I do wish I was teaching school.  Even if I felt that most days, though, I don't know that I would do it.  I just feel like this is right for our family in this season and it's what I should be doing.  [Not to say it's right or wrong for anyone else.] When Annie was a baby, I hardly ever felt that.  I can count on one hand probably the number of times I felt that in her first year of life.  I can count on one hand probably the number of times I felt that in Graves's first month.  Like I said, that's not to say I would ever do it differently and it's usually a fleeting thought, but it's there and I hate it.

And it confuses me.  I'm not sure how much of this is that he's a normal baby and I'm just not used to that.  Or maybe that he's a "high needs" child as my sister in law would say.  Or maybe it's me.  I've read multiple posts lately from second time moms saying how much easier it was to adjust going from one kid to two than going from zero to one. I didn't expect to have two terribly easy children, but I did expect to have some of the extra confidence all those moms in the posts boast of and didn't expect to feel like I was doing this all for the first time much of the time. On days like today part of me really is inclined to go back to my anxiety and say that a lot of it is me, actually.  That this is hard because I'm making it hard.  That this would all be easier if I could just "go with the flow".  If I could have a cool as a cucumber attitude and let it all roll of my back the way Peyton often does.  I'm sure y'all will say "Well, he's a man!", but I know moms who can do it, too.  I'm so envious of them.  And then another tiny part of me gets scared that what if it's even more than that?  What if my anxiety issues are resurfacing as something else?

I feel like I don't have any of the answers, but I am glad that in one hour and thirty four minutes this day will be over and a new one will begin.

"...for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."~ Lamentations 3:22-23


Sarah said...

It IS really hard sometimes. I work part time at a high stress job, and let me tell you- it's like a vacation compared to the days I stay at home. I wouldn't change it for the world and being at home is wonderful, but lots of amazing jobs are also high stress and difficult jobs sometimes. Being a mother is certainly one of them. My husband also has the idea that I have it easy, staying home. That seems to be very common, and I guess it's just the way it is between a lot of men and women. The funniest thing is that he can't even watch Celia for a few hours without asking me if he can have a break! I feel for you. When I have a rough day I just look forward to bedtime, getting a break, and the next day being a new one. I think all moms have bad days like yours :)

Christi said...

Praying today goes more smoothly for you. (((HUGS)))

1. I agree totally with your first paragraph.
2. I totally understand about having people help until you need help.
3. We all have good days and challenging days and it's so good to be real and to talk/write about those days. Because when we've worked through them, it's so good to see how strong we are.
4. I'm sorry that Peyton isn't providing the validation that you need. Kurt is like that at times too. He does different things like that sometimes and it hurts.

My 2nd and 3rd were much more needy than my first. For me going from zero to one was still harder than 1-2 just for different reasons, but I've always felt that that was rare.

Anyhow, I have no answers but I'm thinking of you and sending you hugs.

Candy said...

Hey Sarah Denley, I love your complete honesty on your blog. And I feel exactly (I think) like you. Going from one child to 2 was super hard for me. And that really was when my anxiety issues got worse. I have blamed it all on me. I have resented my husband for being at his job. He has recently became the Executive Director at the clinic he is already a CRNP who recently finished his Doctorate in Nursing Practice(so he sees patients sometimes too). So, all that and add to Molly who even though she is 2, I still consider her our "new" baby and a dramatic but sweet 8 year old and it has been a real adjustment. Even still. I love my girls with all of my heart and feel too that this is where I am supposed to be. But just wanted you to know I also envy those moms who seem to just go with the flow and let it all run off their backs and I am a huge ball of nervousness and fussing at my big girl because she won't quit hollering at me for brushing her hair or when she is told to do her chores. I grew up with friends that I thought had "cool" moms and those that had those'weird,nervous" moms. I DO NOT want to be the weird nervous mom! I want to be the cool one (:
Anyway, I should have done my own post instead of making this huge long comment. But, I just wanted you to know I feel where you are coming from. Even tho 1 of mine is way older than yours, a lot of days are still hard. I really wish we lived close together so we could be buddies. I doubt you feel the same way but I think we have a lot in common with our kiddos and our hubbies.

Amy said...

i wish i had something encouraging to say or some enlightened piece of advice to offer, but all i can come up with is, "change ann peyton's name to libbi and graves's to laney and this post is my life." :)
i too think sometimes that i wish i were teaching school because that would be easier (ha!) and then i feel incredibly guilty that that thought even crossed my mind, because i fought SO hard to be able to stay home and prayed for this for SO long. how can i not want to be here some days?!?! weekends are hard for us, too. i've often tried to figure out why much in the same way you have. jeffrey travels a good bit (and golfs a good bit, too) so he is not home at least two saturdays a month. i don't know if it's because we don't have a "schedule" so to speak like we do on weekdays, or if it's because it's a saturday and i just feel like i should be able to relax and take a break (like other childless people) but, yeah, saturdays are definitely harder.

Carrie said...

Oh, goodness, so much I could say to about this post...

First, I feel TERRIBLE that the party was a source of such stress :(

Second, I totally understand not wanting to look incompetent or like you NEED help. I struggle with that same thing, but the reality is that we ALL need help at some point, and no one thinks any less of you for it. Also, I think we all have days where we just want to be somewhere else, and that does not make you a bad mom. You are such a good mom, and I promise that no one thought any different yesterday.

One more thing: I still have days where I feel like a first time mom and like I have no clue what I'm doing. I'm pretty sure I'll feel that same way if I have 10 kids. I think there is a lot of confidence that comes with having multiple children, but that doesn't mean that we feel confident or sure of our decisions 100% of the time.

Mallory Pickering said...

So sorry! I know I can't relate (obviously). But that sounds so stressful! XO

Sarah said...

Bah! Now that I read all the other comments I'm terrified of having this second baby :\

But in response to your question, I'm a speech-language pathologist.