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My Challenge, My Love - Page 13

post #241 of 913
Hey all... haven't had anything to add lately but I'm still reading.

I have big issues with expectations. I'm fairly sure I've mentioned it already but it's such a factor in my relationship with my son. My daughter (the oldest) has just always been so much easier to relate to. She's the kind of kid that you get what you expect with her. You expect a lot, you get a lot. Don't expect much? She won't give you much. So when Cole came along, I, of course, parented him the same way in the beginning. His twin responds more like his sister did but him... wow. I've worked on removing expectations from situations before, but for some reason it took me a long time, and is an ongoing struggle, to see that I needed to do that with him too.

My littlest one seems to have that mama radar, as well, and any plans for any lovin' usually get shot all to hell. Which brings me to the point about being present in the moment and how the expectations hinder that. I recently realized that when I am able to steal 10 mins. with my husband, sans children, I'm ALWAYS thinking of other things. It's really frustrating for me but I'm not sure how to stop it. So that's my latest challenge... being in the moment.
post #242 of 913
Thread Starter 
Hi Ladies,
I must sound like a broken record, but I am still BLOWN away at the life this thread has taken on.

Maureen-I come from a fairly dysfunctional household, so the co-dependent stuff rings true to me. So, my therapist friend, how do I get over this desire when it crops up? You know what's funny, I always think of myself as someone who tries to help the kids be okay with their feelings, whatever they are. But as I look at things closely, I realize that there are certain emotions that come up in them that make me nutty.

sledg-I am trying really hard to tend to my needs better. I am trying to remind myself that it's okay to tell Bears that I need him to leave me alone for a few minutes b/c I feel myself getting angry. I just have to remember to use an *I* statement. I have, unfortunately, said *You* many times before. That doesn't go wel, as we all know.

Justine-No need to apologize! As far as your theory goes, Bears has been a spirited kid since birth and YES, YES, YES, his labor was tremendously difficult. Very hard, vaginal delivery with Bears having some breathing difficulties right at birth. Assisted by a vacuum extraction. :

loon & UU-I LOVE ANNE LAMOTT. Great quote.

emblm-Being in the moment with my kids (and DH, too) is a tough one for me, too. Although I have been much better with it lately. I've been taking a lot of mental snapshots of moments with the kids. And actually, I am not that anal about household expectations at all. So pretty much chores, cleaning and other stuff can ALWAYS wait for just rolling around on the carpet with the kids. So, actually, I guess I'm better at that then I think! We have some financial difficulties going on right now, so I really have been trying to remember what's important in the moment.

Ladies, I have so much more to say, and I don't feel that I am ever eloquent or articulate enough to really say what I feel. I always leave this thread thinking that I have a novel to write on what all you great mamas have already posted. More when I can...Love and thanks to you all.
post #243 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Maureen-I come from a fairly dysfunctional household, so the co-dependent stuff rings true to me. So, my therapist friend, how do I get over this desire when it crops up? You know what's funny, I always think of myself as someone who tries to help the kids be okay with their feelings, whatever they are. But as I look at things closely, I realize that there are certain emotions that come up in them that make me nutty.

Well as usual, admitting it is half the battle, isn't it? I think if you watch for your discomfort with other people's "negative" feelings, you will learn a whole lot about what you are not allowing in yourself. Sometimes I just try and sit with my 3 year olds' hurt without fixing it or minimizing it... just feeling how hurt he really is. (You know, the horrible hurt of being out of popcicles!) It is good practice for me.

Honestly I learned so much from my clients. There is something about sharing trauma with people and learning to really respect the power of pain and suffering. I try to remember that people almost only grow through struggle so why would I want to keep my children's lives free of struggle?

No one moves forward until they feel heard. No one wants to change unless they know someone sees what they are. So... just stop trying to fix and change and help and just experience... pain and frustrations and disappointments.

On another topic, this thread has me struggling with my own thoughts about expectations. In marital work, I work a great deal on resentment which is deadly to marriage. Especially resentful wives... we can get pretty cold when we are holding onto the past. So if expectations grow resentments... and I can certainly see that... then how does one actually marry with no expectations? Is that possible? And isn't lowering your expectations for your marriage (especially for women) kind of selling out?

See I think I do a way better job of unconditional love with my kids then my dh... although knowing that has helped a ton. Now I try to love and give and accept him as much as possible the way I want to love them... fully and generously. But that expectation thing has me messed up. I suppose it is just impossible to think about going through life expectation free... that would be something wouldn't it?

Boy this thread has morphed into a philosophy of life class. Thanks for all the brilliant ideas.
post #244 of 913
Thread Starter 
Maureen-Sitting with the feelings is something I've worked on. I actually *usually* do this okay, like when Bears is upset that his favorite shirt is in the wash. Or I have to take something sort of dangerous away from the little one and he freaks out and is so sad. But I think there's some expectation for me about "doing my best" (I'm having an epiphany here while I write this, ladies!). So, when I think on some level that I'm doing all I can, my "best", and the kids are still a mess, I find that I get angry. "Doing my best" was an ongoing theme of my childhood. My mother always said that all we could do was our BEST in whatever it was. But of course there was some not-mentioned level to this. I was never sure that my best was actually GOOD ENOUGH-like she was saying one thing, but meant that I better do WELL. Does this make any sense? How much do I owe you, Maureen?

Have you heard the term agape love? Well, my DH has this for me. Since the day we met. He loves me unconditionally and I've felt that every moment of my life with him. For me, too, Maureen, although of course I'd say that I love him unconditionally, I don't show it in the same way that he has shown it to me.

About expectations: I know that for certain people in my life when I've given up expecting anything from them it's been freeing to me. So, when they've given of themselves in some way to me, it's a surprise and pure and it doesn't hang on my expectation. I don't know how I'd be able to do this in the same way with my partner?? Like, our marriage is based on an expectation of trust, support, love, of course. Should we be giving this up? I don't know how that would work. Unless of course we're talking about giving up the expectation that our partners will be anything less or more than they are.

I think I'm rambling here...Gtg.

Oh, Maureen, one more thing. About learning through struggle. I absolutely agree with this. And I think it's one of the most intimate things to be able to sit with someone who's going through pain. I don't always been *physically* sitting with them, but going through it with them. Just going through it. You know that old saying, "The only way OUT is THROUGH"? Well, I can imagine that doing the work that you do must really be amazing. Being able to really BE with someone who's struggling. That's HUGE. Btw, my DH's family makes me nuts b/c they see no benefit in pain. YKWIM? Their lives are attempts at avoiding pain, discomfort and struggle at ALL COSTS. This is so foreign to me that it's actually sometimes painful for me to be around them. MIL is really quite a glaring example of someone who does not want to feel any pain EVER. A little
post #245 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
So if expectations grow resentments... and I can certainly see that... then how does one actually marry with no expectations? Is that possible? And isn't lowering your expectations for your marriage (especially for women) kind of selling out?
I think it may have to do with the type of expectations you have. And certainly there's a difference between letting go of some expectations and lowering your expectations overall. For my dh and I, there were some very important key things we both needed in marriage-to be treated respectfully always, to know we are honest and faithful with each other and to know we can rely on each other in times of need (that there is trust), to enjoy each other's company and spend time connecting with each other, to know that we communicate well, and to know that we are both giving 100% overall to the marriage (there are times, of course, when each of us has a turn giving a little more probably but we don't keep score). These are our biggies, our needs (oh, plus we need to be safe-so no substance problems or violence). We don't let go of the biggies. Each person has their biggies, and I think it's important to know that and make sure they're there before you get into marriage. If you don't know they're missing because you didn't communicate about it well enough, or if you know they're missing but disregard that, deny it, then you have problems. Sometimes your biggie expectations are met in the beginning but not later, then you have a problem.

I think that kind of expectation is different from expecting a partner to make huge changes or expectations regarding more "trivial" things. My dh has always been very uncomfortable with crying, for example. This is something I didn't really realize when we were dating because there was no crying that I can remember. But once we married and I struggled with depresssion and then we had kids (who, of course, cry), this became problematic for me. I had expected that he'd do the warm, fuzzy hug and comfort thing, which isn't really his style. He's a fixer (as many men are, I think) and he gets a little panicky and frustrated when he can't fix the crying. So when I realized that my expectation did not match reality, I had to let it go and just work with reality "as is." That meant communicating about what I need ("I just need a hug right now), accepting his type of help as well and recognizing it for the love it was (rather than trying to change him), and working to make sure that between the two of us the kids' needs are met when they cry. Likewise, he knew I was a slob while he is a neat-freak. I think he expected to live in an always very neat home, but that just ain't happenin'. He could get all upset and we could have major arguments, but instead he decided to let it go and cut a deal-he'll keep the place clean if I do all the laundry (I mean, within reason-I can't just let the place go completely to heck while I'm home all day, that wouldn't be fair). These types of expectations are not deal-breakers unless we allow the expectations to take on a life of their own and breed resentment and hostility. These are the expectations we can let go of.

Biggies and smallies, deal-breakers and things you can work with even if they aren't what you had in mind. I have no idea if I succeeded in saying what I was trying to say. I always think I'm not the best person to talk about marriage. Dh and I are very happy, no problems, no complaints (other than minor ones like the way I leave closet doors open), love to spend time together, and we have each other's back always. We are on the same page, always (though maybe not quite the same paragraph at times). We feel like freaks, but we are blissfully happy freaks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Unless of course we're talking about giving up the expectation that our partners will be anything less or more than they are.
YES, YES, YES!!!! That's it!
Just as important as letting go of the expectation that our children will be anything less or more than they are.
post #246 of 913
Thread Starter 
sledg-I just had to laugh while I was reading your great post. It makes DH crazy b/c I leave closets open and drawers, too.
post #247 of 913

Oh yeah, drawers! I do that, and cabinets too. I tend to give drawers and cabinets a shove so that they're mostly closed, but not completely. Drives him batty! He's even got my oldest dd riding me about that because she's heard him complain so much-"mommy! you should close the cabinet!" or "mommy, you left it open again, you know you should close it!". It's really funny.
It's a good thing his motto is more or less "don't take life too seriously, it's not permanent."
post #248 of 913
Is it actually possible for something to be off topic on this thread? What actually is the topic of this thread? Boy- it has grown. I think it is because being a parent, especially of a challenging child, is about being human and being human is very complicated.

Thanks for the support about marriage and expectations. I think it helped me think some things through. Honestly, here I am a marriage therapist, and actually of all the things I do professionally, this is the most rewarding, most challenging and seems to be that I am unusually good at- but I have only been married for 5 years. Divorced once- started marriage...long story. And since we have been pregnant or nursing through our whole marriage I don't have a lot of confidence that we have a wonderful marriage. I mean, I am happy- more than I have ever been. But I really wonder about the long term health of our marriage, my own long term ability to face the challenges. Especially as I see so many people give up so easily.

So all my pondering about marriage is mostly about me and then about how to take my own struggles forward into good therapy. And helping people and myself with being wonderful parents is all woven into this.

Thanks all. (Bearsmomma- we are so even! Believe me I get as much as I give.)

Maureen
post #249 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
So your kid doesn't sleep either? It's like mine know when we have "plans"...it's some kind of pheromone-sensing sibling-prevention alert system. (Uh, not that we're planning on more siblings...don't want to leave that impression.)
Sleep? What is this sleep thing you speak of?

The hardest expectations I wrestle with are of dd and sleep.
Dd is a great sleeper...once she falls asleep. But she cannot go to sleep a minute before her body tells her she's tired. I have seen the child in the middle of playing a very involved made up game, suddenly stop in mid-sentence, walk to me and say "Mommy, I tired. I want Mama nummies." Then she will nurse for 30 seconds and fall asleep. Lately, she hasn't even been nursing, just cuddling and closing her eyes and conking out.

I have no problem with having dd fall asleep when she's tired. It just seems that her bedtime tends to creep later and later each night. Her circadian rythym (sp?) is on a 25 hour-schedule not 24. I have had good luck with waking her more or less the same time everyday. But it also helps if I have something planned for us to do: like a playdate to go to or storytime at the library. But there have been quite a few times when she has clearly said "No I want to stay home and sleep."

Tangent story....sorry back on track. I have posted about this situation before, in other places, if anyone wants to discuss more or ask me questions about it, just pm me...'kay?

But yeah, it's usually worse when dh and I have time planned because she just seems to want to be awake, awake, awake.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
And yeah, this thread has evolved into a fantastic discussion of self-awareness. Who would've thought?
Wonderful, isn't it?
post #250 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Ladies, I have so much more to say, and I don't feel that I am ever eloquent or articulate enough to really say what I feel. I always leave this thread thinking that I have a novel to write on what all you great mamas have already posted. More when I can...Love and thanks to you all.
Bearsmama, You are plenty eloquent and articulate. Beside have you forgotten that this thread is not about being perfect?
It was your simple outpouring of HONEST emotion that drew me to the thread.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
My mother always said that all we could do was our BEST in whatever it was. But of course there was some not-mentioned level to this. I was never sure that my best was actually GOOD ENOUGH-like she was saying one thing, but meant that I better do WELL. Does this make any sense?
I know you addressed this to Maureen and not to me, but I wanted to chime in if I could.
I know what you mean. I had that feeling in my childhood too. It was more lip service for my parents to say "do as best as you can" but there was a tone that came through loud and clear that they expected "ONLY the best". And sometimes even though I did do my best, it wasn't good enough either.
I always had the feeling that I was falling short. The focus was always on the things that I could do better or fix, not on the things that I had already done well.


Maureen, regarding expectations in a marriage or in a family, etc. :

I think certain expectations are fine. For instance, like sledg and Bearsmama said about respect, and love and trust. If they are expectations that affect all of you, then there needs to be communication about them.
Otherwise, I think it is simply very helpful to realize and be aware that you are having certain expectations. Sometimes we need to let go of them, but sometimes there are principles that we need to stand ground on.
post #251 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
Sometimes I just try and sit with my 3 year olds' hurt without fixing it or minimizing it... just feeling how hurt he really is. (You know, the horrible hurt of being out of popcicles!)
Maureen, I thought of you last night when my little boy was crying sorrowfully and was inconsolable when he couldn't have a second helping of corn for dinner because it was all gone. I tried to just sit with him while he hurt, but it turned into an ugly scene because it was dinnertime and dh has a really hard time just sitting with someone while they cry and hurt. To dh it's just corn, to ds it was a big deal (and probably a symptom of some underlying hurt, judging by some of his other behaviors these days). Then dh feels like the bad guy, and he needs someone to "sit" with him while he hurts too. Oh well. Dh took a time out of sorts, I held ds, then ds and dh had a hug and it was all better.
post #252 of 913
Still reading...........still inspired, grateful and moved by everyone's input to this thread. Everytime I read I have a warm glowing smile - just such a strong feeling of connection to what is being said here.

Would love to post some thoughts but don't have time - was just checking in quickly and now it's time to nurse DS to sleep.

Thanks to you all...........
post #253 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by sledg
Maureen, I thought of you last night when my little boy was crying sorrowfully and was inconsolable when he couldn't have a second helping of corn for dinner because it was all gone. I tried to just sit with him while he hurt, but it turned into an ugly scene because it was dinnertime and dh has a really hard time just sitting with someone while they cry and hurt. To dh it's just corn, to ds it was a big deal (and probably a symptom of some underlying hurt, judging by some of his other behaviors these days). Then dh feels like the bad guy, and he needs someone to "sit" with him while he hurts too. Oh well. Dh took a time out of sorts, I held ds, then ds and dh had a hug and it was all better.

What do you bet that no one sat with him and let him have feelings? What do you bet that there are very few men that have been allowed that respect? What would the world be like if men were simply allowed to have their feelings?
post #254 of 913
As always, you all hit just the right cords with me. This has been such a hard week and it has taken all of my strength to just be there with my girls as they have hard moments. My 15 month old has been, umm, following in her sister's footsteps lately. ABKA is proving that another easy babyhood does not yield an easy time thereafter.

But, I must have done something right. While ABKA is tantruming like crazy, TEAK has been sitting with her saying things like, "I know you would like to hold the lights, but they are too hot to touch. It's ok to be sad about it." That's a direct quote. Tears came to my eyes. Coming from TEAK, that is amazing.

More soon.
post #255 of 913
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
What do you bet that no one sat with him and let him have feelings?
Oh, I'm quite sure of that. It's sad, really. So many men were raised this way. That's one thing I hope we can do for our son, just let him have his feelings and show his feelings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TEAK's Mom
But, I must have done something right. While ABKA is tantruming like crazy, TEAK has been sitting with her saying things like, "I know you would like to hold the lights, but they are too hot to touch. It's ok to be sad about it."
That's so wonderful!!!! How beautiful. What lucky kids to have you as their mom and to have each other. These moments make all the tough times bearable.
post #256 of 913
Thread Starter 
TEAKS-What a beautiful thing! I have had a few moments like this, where what comes out of Bear's mouth is something I've said and it's just great. Other times, well, : Like the time DH was trying to get Bear's shoes on and Bear said, in perfect context, "These shoes are too f"*(&(*ing small." Yes. That would be one of my favorite curse words. Yikes. :

Ladies, today was rough. And it was so weird how things worked. Bear has been a little snarky this week and extra sensitive. But nothing horrible. Not like a week from hell or anything. And he has been excited about school (he LOVES going to school-go figure). Well, his assistant teacher today asked how things were b/c Bear seemed a little "off" this week. Which is funny b/c I just kept thinking that b/c he's been so happy and excited about school that all must be well there this week. They know that we're currently exploring what his issues truly are. And the teach said we could talk further about it on Monday. Hmmmmm??? : So, from that moment all things went into the proverbial toilet. I don't know if it's that I was expecting weird behavior then, or that it really was off. But whatever the reason, everything just went downhill. We had a date with our playgroup, women and kids DS has known since he was a year old. He cried the entire time. The entire time. Couldn't really verbalize why. Just cried. I have to say, I often have some resentment (we've talked about this before here, I think) about stuff like this. Like, all the OTHER kids are happily doing stuff, WHY CAN'T BEARS? Of course, this is why we're trying to figure things out. But he can't just EVER happily join a group or play or whatever. It's just exhausting. EXHAUSTING. I feel more compassionate about it lately realizing finally that there is something legitamately awry here. Sorry, ladies, I know I'm rambling.

loon-

Justine-Glad you've found stuff here that's resonated with you. I am still amazed at the life this thread has!
post #257 of 913
TEAKS, that is beautiful!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMoMpls
What do you bet that no one sat with him and let him have feelings? What do you bet that there are very few men that have been allowed that respect? What would the world be like if men were simply allowed to have their feelings?
Oh, man is that sooooo true of my dh.

It took him a *very* long time to be able to cry in front of me because his grandfather always told him that crying was weak and men didn't cry. : Even when he cries now, you can see it's really difficult for him, as if someone's jerking the tears out of him against his will and he's struggling to pull them back in.
My MIL, too, (the grandfather was her dad), laughs or smiles when she cries. One time she hurt her foot and she was laughing so hard, she was in such pain. I know her well enough by now to know, it's I-have-to-laugh-so-I-don't-cry harsh souding laughter, but if you didn't know her, you'd really think she was just laughing it off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Like the time DH was trying to get Bear's shoes on and Bear said, in perfect context, "These shoes are too f"*(&(*ing small." Yes. That would be one of my favorite curse words. Yikes. :
Bearsmama, thanks for the

And is it wrong of me to at the thought of such a sentence coming out of Bears' mouth? I'm sorry I know it's obviously something you don't want him doing right now, but it gave me a chuckle. Whenever I hear anything an adult would say coming out of a child's mouth, it really puts the whole comment in another perspective!

I'll give you all one back. One thing I try to do to acknowledge dd's feelings is to say "I hear you." Today, I was really frustrated because dd wanted me to play a game with her and I was having trouble understanding how she wanted me to play it. I told her so, and she looked at me and said with a sigh in her voice "I hear you, I hear you, but you made a 'stake [mistake]."

As for Bears not being like the other kids in the playgroup, yep, I so relate to you on that, too. I feel like I spend more time running interference and helping dd to calm down than actually enjoying the playdate. Some days just seem to be like that. But it's really hard to not be stressed both because of the hard time your dc had and trying to help him or her through it as best you can, but also because your mind then starts spiraling along the "why can't my child be like other kids?" slope.

sledg, isn't is amazing how something as simple as corn can throw off our poor children? I'm glad you were able to help your little guy.

Justine, glad to have you here. Post whenever you can. I just too much sometimes.
post #258 of 913
OOOOOOOH!! I had reply and my computer ate it. :

Bearsmama. I can relate to the playdate thing. BTDT. There's a moms group I wanted to attend but avoided for 3 years because of my dd's potential behaviors. I was too afraid of what would happen, of being under a microscope, of having people think I was a bad mom (this is an AP group, so I was double nervous, because of my history of yelling and just generally feeling like a lousy parent). I'm finally going now that dd is in school full time. I still won't bring her if it's a day she doesn't have school. It's hard enough just visiting family with her sometimes, though I do have to say that overall it has improved dramatically.

Oh, and my kids' have been known to swear too. A few days ago the oldest two were playing a game where they kept saying "what the *ell are you doing? where the *ell are you going? what the *ell is that?" while they laughed. Then there was the phase ds went through when he was 3 years old where every time something didn't go his way he said "d@#n it!". At least they haven't said "f@$*ing" yet. : Apparently I have a potty mouth.

Okay, off to have a date with my little guy. He has told me he needs some special time with me, no siblings, so that's what we're doing today.
post #259 of 913
Thread Starter 
Hi Mamas!

Sledg-Hope that date with your boy was fun.

Oh, and sledg, I know now why buddhist monks don't have kids. They wouldn't be able to speak so eloquently and clearly about anger and being calm and centered if they did! Seriously, though, I've been reading a lot lately, and trying to remembe to breathe. And when I remember to breathe, I really can stay in the moment. And have that little, tiny space between reacting to something immediatly and taking a step back.

Although, that said, it has been a horrible week. Anyone else having a hard time this week? I had some kind of flu-y thing and had one entire day when I didn't think I would ever be able to move again. Luckily, DH was able to come home early that day and take over for a bit. It was getting a little 'Lord of the Flies-y' around here.

I freaked on Bears yesterday. Just freaked. I was trying to have a conversation on the phone (maybe 10 minutes) where I really needed him to be quiet and respectful (ha!). In fact, it was a dear friend calling with some helpful information about navigating through our local intermediate unit. Well, he deliberately peed on the floor. Stood there and said, "Mommmy, I'm peeing". This was all b/c I had to have 5-10 minutes on the phone. And I am rarely on the phone for this reason! I yelled and yelled and yelled. And he was scared and sad and crying. After about 15 minutes I was able to apologize, but that just set up the whole dinner hour to be sucky. SUCKY with capital letters.

Of course, after the kids were in bed last night I had my regularly-scheduled cry-fest with DH. Just sobbing, sobbing, sobbing about how
hard this is, about how I feel so alone in dealing with DS's issues, about feeling disconnected, about being worried, sad, consumed by Bears. So many tears my eyes were tell tale puffy this morning. I need my cry-fest, I really do.

Anyway, gtg. If anyone could have told me how HARD, how complex, how deeply emotionally challenging, this job was going to be, I'm not sure I would've signed up! There's just no way of ever knowing...

As always, thanks for listening.
post #260 of 913
Oh Bearsmama, a thousand hugs!

I'm sorry you're having a tough week. It's always harder when you're sick. I really, really think it's unfair that motherhood doesn't come with time off for being sick. The phone thing is really upsetting. Why is it children desperately need every ounce of your attention the moment you have to make an important phone call? It must have been so incredibly frustrating. I hope you're getting somewhere in making arrangements for an evaluation.

Quote:
I know now why buddhist monks don't have kids. They wouldn't be able to speak so eloquently and clearly about anger and being calm and centered if they did!


My date with my son was a lot of fun! I love "special time." It's such a nice way to connect.

Gtg, little one is up from nap.
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