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#61 of 913 Old 09-09-2005, 12:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by craftykitty
Hey! You just wrote a whole paragraph about *my* daughter! How did you know? Heeeeey.... do you have cameras on us?
Oh shoot! You caught me! :LOL

Seriously, this is why I love MDC: just when I think I'm alone in the world, I find another mama here who can totally relate.

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
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#62 of 913 Old 09-10-2005, 12:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,
Just checking in tonight. I have for loon, craft, TEAKS (of course!), hhurd. HUGS and lots of them to all of you struggling mamas.

I have a question tonight that may or may not pertain to many of you. So, if it does, good. If it doesn't, I'm sorry to be so self-absorbed. : And this one is probably for Maureen. And I'm sure sledg has some wise words, too. So, here it goes: If one has guilt and shame about how they've parented...OKAY, if I have all this guilt and shame on a daily basis. Even when it feels like I'm trying so, so hard every day to change (and sometimes making minuscule changes when MONUMENTAL ones are needed). Well, what do I DO with these feelings? B/c I think, more times than not, THIS is what trips me up. I get caught up in my own crap so easily. And I don't/can't just "get over" stuff easily. How do I get over the deep shame I feel from the last year of my son's life?

I feel like I need a do-over. Isn't it called a Mulligan in golf? Well, I need a mulligan.

Love and hugs to all of you.
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#63 of 913 Old 09-10-2005, 01:55 AM
 
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I am not what I would call an experienced mama, but I have struggled most of my life with how to deal with guilt and shame over mistakes. I can relate.
And parenting certainly highlights it, doesn't it?

In fact, ... <whispers> there's a small part of me that tells myself I want a second child because "I can do better this time, I won't make the same mistakes I did with dd." : :

I don't think you are self-absorbed. Guilt and shame are very powerful emotions. They are designed so to make us stop and reflect on our actions and consider that we need to change them.
I'm trying not to deny them but feel them. Stuffing them only makes them build up over time.

I'm trying to use these feelings. I trying to use them as an incentive to do better rather than using them to berate myself and tell myself "I am crap, I can't do anything right."
I'm trying to shift perspective and think "What I have done is making me feel guilty. Okay, fine. Is there a better action to take? A different action to take? What can I do to change directions?"

I also try to keep in mind "How would I help dd if she were struggling with this?"
I have told her before "It's okay to make mistakes, and it's okay to feel disappointed when we make them. But mistakes help us learn how to try to do better the next time."
Of course, then I feel hypocritical because I'm not believing that with myself. So I try again.

So many times I will look at her sleeping after she has (finally!) fallen asleep for the night, and I will start to mentally kick myself for what I did wrong that day. I have to force myself to stop that line of thinking. I try to find at least one positive thing that happened that day. Then I make a goal for tomorrow. "Tomorrow I'm going to try to..."

I remember reading somewhere that we do not need to be perfect for our children because that only gives them an impossibly high standard to live up to. Our children need to see us making mistakes and then deal with those mistakes. We need to role model that, just as we role model good hygiene, safety, etc.

This is by no means an easy thing of course. For me it's something that I need to practice, practice, practice.

Sorry to ramble and . As you can see, I'm still working through it myself.

BTW, do you notice how many times I have use the word "try" in this post?

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
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#64 of 913 Old 09-10-2005, 09:54 AM
 
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So, here it goes: If one has guilt and shame about how they've parented...OKAY, if I have all this guilt and shame on a daily basis. Even when it feels like I'm trying so, so hard every day to change (and sometimes making minuscule changes when MONUMENTAL ones are needed). Well, what do I DO with these feelings? B/c I think, more times than not, THIS is what trips me up. I get caught up in my own crap so easily. And I don't/can't just "get over" stuff easily. How do I get over the deep shame I feel from the last year of my son's life?
So glad to hear from you. Sometimes I feel like you are my pop quiz... such powerful questions that so many mommas are dealing with. I hope you are aware how valuable it is that you are strong enough to put your darkest stuff out there, even it is here. So many mothers are reading these words and finding strength to admit their own struggles...

Ok- Shame and Guilt 101. Shame is a learned response to the idea that mistakes are not ok. That making a mistake makes you bad. That you are bad not your behavior. This is why we are all trying to use GD, because we hope to raise children without shame. I am pretty lucky that my parents didn't use shame. I feel lots and lots of guilt (which I am working on) but very little shame.

For me that means my good Catholic upbringing said you should always try to do your best, try very hard not to "sin". So when I mess up, I always feel like I could have done better... but I never feel like sh#t. (Hardly ever ) I feel like a basically good person who did a bad thing. See how powerfully different that is?

Shame is a deep dark hole of despair that convinces us that we aren't even worth trying to redeem. Here is all I can say... DONT GO THERE. Learn to identify the horrible sick feeling in your gut that is shame and get out of there as fast as possible. I know it is easier said than done. Use your best mommy voice and tell yourself that "I don't always love your behavior but I always love you." A million times a day until it sinks in.

As to guilt... guilt is supposed to illicit action. I am driving down the road and see a cop car in my rear view mirror and immediately take my foot off the gas pedal. Then I check my speed and figure out if I actually have anything to feel guilty about. The problem with most mommas, me included is that we feel guilty and can't figure out if we are "speeding" or not. Are we wrong or is this normal? I think we should feel just a little guilty about losing it with our kids because it helps us try to do better next time. But feeling guilty about everything gets kind of ridiculous, right? You have to try checking yourself and figuring out if you have something to feel guilty about or if you are just going to guilt out of all sorts of social pressures that are highly destructive to mothers.

Has anyone ever read "A Potent Spell" by Janna Malamud Smith? It is so powerful. She traces mother guilt and how society has made mothers so overly responsible for their children's well being that we can't ever get it right. She goes back to Puritan beliefs that if a child died, it likely was a result of the mother's sins. Boy is that idea still alive and destructive for women. She says that after that, it transformed into the idea that a children's emotional well being and behavior was all about the mother- Freud and Spock and society in general puts everything on us except the real power to create healthy communities for our families. Powerful stuff... makes our mother guilt a political issue and I refuse to be held responsible for our societies failure to serve children well.

Ok... you hit my most favorite soap box so this could go on for pages and pages. Heal your souls mommas.... your guilt and shame is not serving you or your children. If you are going to "get" GD, you must do it for you... in your heart. Heal yourself and your kids will be just fine.

Maureen
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#65 of 913 Old 09-10-2005, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Loon-Thanks for sharing. More later...

And Maureen-THANK YOU. I don't have much time, but thank you. Someone once described shame to me in much the same way as you just did. That it's like having "secret swiss cheese insides". Someone also said to me once that shame sort of festers in those dark areas, and bringing it to the light lets it "dry up". Can ya tell I know a little bit about this feeling??? irked:

Healing myself is my life's greatest challenge and my second biggest is raising DS#1. I'm sure those two endeavors or more closely linked then I even want to believe.
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#66 of 913 Old 09-10-2005, 04:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Healing myself is my life's greatest challenge and my second biggest is raising DS#1. I'm sure those two endeavors or more closely linked then I even want to believe.
I can certainly identify with this.


Ok, so as long as no one minds, I'm gonna vent for a moment. I'm having a particularly challenging time with Cole in kindergarten. I posted a thread about his issues with his teacher in GD that explains what's going on with him but I think the even harder part is dealing with myself. I'm aware that I'm overly sensitive about him. I know how frustrating he can be but I've never had to deal with other people caring for him. He's been home with me except for preschool. His preschool teacher was wonderful with him but he only went one day a week AND he was with his twin. Kindergarten is completely different for us. I met with his teacher about the notes she was sending home and sorta thought things were gonna be alright. Then yesterday I received another note about him making noises in class. Now to keep anyone from having to search for my thread, the teacher was having trouble with him staying seated while the other kids were finishing their work.

I feel so responsible. I feel like she's sending home this notes expecting me to do something about this and I feel completely powerless. Goodness knows if I was able to get him to tone down his personality I would probably have already done so. It certainly would've made my life easier for the past few years, that's for sure. It's just kinda like those people who look at you in the grocery store when your child is running up the aisles, arms stretched out, like he's at an airport... they get those looks on their faces like "OMG, can she not DO anything with that child?!" Yeah, well there I am... staring it in the face and sheepishly shrugging my shoulders.

The good part of it is that I'm at a place where I'm comfortable with him. I know he's gonna have to follow the rules at school and I also know he's gonna have trouble with that. But what I can't seem to reconcile in my head is how much of that do I try to fix? I don't want to seem like a parent that doesn't care at all and just ignores it but I also think that the issues she's having with him are small potatoes for Cole. I mean, I was glad when he came home the first day and the school was still standing <she says only half joking>.

Anyway, I just had to get that out of my head. I this thread.
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#67 of 913 Old 09-10-2005, 04:43 PM
 
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I love this thread!

I too am mother to a challenging 3yo daughter. She gets so angry these days and I can easily blame myself for recently leaving her dad, moving out, and then reconciling and moving back home. I've tried to be patient with her but with all of the stress I was under, I know I've fallen short. She gets so angry about anything these days. But I'm tired of feeling guilty about everything. Yes, my actions affect her groth and development, her memories and her life. And the fact that I acknowledge the damage done and am willing to find a way to make it change shows me that I am a mindful parent doing the best I can do. We also have a 1yo, and the stress of dealing with a willful 3yo and a needy baby isn't easy either. So far no one has told me it will get easier, so I assume I'll just have to get better at mothering them.

I try not to have expectations, but society has set these expectations for us and they are hard to ignore. I do not have docile obediant children. They are curious, strong-willed, free-spirited, and a tad defiant at times...but would I have it any other way?

Back in the days before I had children, I remember loving a song because it made me think of the kind of children I might have. It's on the Live album, Throwing Copper. The song is the last one and isn't titled or listed, but the chorus goes like this: "She rode a horse into my head. She won't discipline the children...and now they're running wild on the beach, and I don't care...no, I don't care." It may seem silly, but whenever my dd gets that crazy look in her eye with her hair flying all about, if I think of that song, all I can do is love her.

"The best things in life aren't things."

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#68 of 913 Old 09-10-2005, 05:48 PM
 
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Hey Bearsmama, I've read nothing but your OP, but wanted to quickly say that yet again you and I are living parallel lives! (Is oceanbaby going to show up later in this thread . . .she's my other doppelganger!) A RL friend sent me a link to this thread bc she sees the similarities, too, primarily that the past year since ds2 was born has been utter HELL and I feel I have screwed things up ROYALLY by not being loving and/or kind enough to ds1. Ay yi yi. I've been so out of it that I haven't even been around MDC enough to know that you were going thru the same thing! I will say (also in case it's while before I get back) that things suddenly are lightening up around here . . . so there is light at the end of the tunnel. We've seen a big shift since ds2 became a toddler (i.e. more "human" like than baby like, I think).

It may take a while to get thru the thread, but I'm eager to (why can't the world just go on PAUSE sometimes?!?) so I can chime in. Thanks for your honesty, as usual!

Love,
Breathe
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#69 of 913 Old 09-10-2005, 06:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Healing myself is my life's greatest challenge and my second biggest is raising DS#1. I'm sure those two endeavors or more closely linked then I even want to believe.
I would go farther and say that for me, parenting well is all about getting to know myself, healing myself and accepting myself. When I thought of the two as separate things I had a much harder time. It was an incredibly long and painful labor for me to reach the point where I recognized how intertwined the two were. It was a really amazing moment the first time I was aware of the thoughts, feelings and desires I was having that perpetuated the very patterns I was trying to break in my parenting. It was a little shocking, and not really a pleasant experience. But this was really the start of making my relationships with my kids healthier. And ironically, the more time I spent trying to be aware of what was going on within myself and coming to terms with it the better, more focused a mother I was. What started out feeling very self-centered became the key to giving more generously and compassionately to my children. When I began to heal and forgive myself, I had more to give my children.

The next and equally important step was forgiving myself, which went hand in hand with accepting myself "as is." I really like what Maureen said about shame and guilt. I think shame is not only not helpful, but really keeps us down. I agree that a big part of motherly shame is that cultural message that we are totally responsible, 100%, in every way for what happens to our kids and how our kids behave and the type of people they become as adults. It really does come from a culture that believes mistakes are not okay. It's being graded in school and learning that mistakes are not acceptable, it's the message in much media that children are so fragile and easily damaged for life by common parental mistakes, for some of us it's religious background or the parenting we received. As Maureen said, shame is a value judgment: we're bad because we make mistakes. I think that overcoming shame and finding forgiveness for myself has been one of the hardest things I've ever done, and I though I've reached a point where it's a lot easier I still struggle with it. I think the key to overcoming it is to recognize that mistakes are okay, that being human is okay, and that there is so much more to ourselves than our mistakes. It's hard work. It helps me to remember that to forgive myself is not to say that what I did was okay, but just to let go of the shame so I can move on and do better things.

Guilt has it's uses, as Maureen said. It's a signal that something needs attention. You've recognized you made a mistake and you need to do something to make it right.

I say take your Mulligan. Tomorrow is a new day. Do over. This has been my mantra many days. "That sucked, I so did the wrong thing. Time for a do over." It's not easy to let it go, but each moment is a chance for a fresh start. You can't go back, so you have to let it go. It does no good, and maybe a lot of harm, to keep dwelling on mistakes-it prevents you from moving on and making changes.

I will take this moment to point out my new sig: "By seeing the ideals as a path rather than a destination, I could relax and enjoy the journey." Ideals are a model, a guide, an inspiration. Ideals are not a prescription or a means of measuring our worth.
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#70 of 913 Old 09-10-2005, 07:24 PM
 
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I'm really sleepy, so I may not be too coherant.....

In regards to shame and guilt ~ I look into my childhood when I feel the thorns of guilt or shame stabbing me. When I think of my stepfather, I get a bad overall feeling. I feel like a scared child again, like nothing I do is right (in fact I feel shame when I think of him). When I think of my mother, I feel warm and loved and I smile. Why the different sets of feelings for two people who lived in the same home? My stepfather did not parent me with love. He parented me with an iron hand (or belt or stick or whatever else he could find) and a sharp toungue. I don't remember him ever saying "I love you", even though he had raised me from 2 yrs of age. My mother screwed up plenty of times, for sure. I do remember a *few* times of crazy PMS and locking herself in her room crying, etc., etc.... She also spanked me with a wooden spoon (that's what she thought was the "right thing to do" at the time. I know that the difference in feelings that thoughts of those two people conjur for me is solely based on the love factor. It all boils down to feeling intense love from my mother and not from my stepfather. I won't go as far as to say that you can't screw up if you tell your kids everyday how much you love them and shower them in kisses and hugs, but I will say that I think it would be hard. Of course we have messed up. of course we will do it again. The thing is, we are here together talking about our babies and how we can be better mamas to them. That says it all right there. We LOVE our children and they know it. They do. When it comes down to it, one day as adults, when they think of us - they won't get a sour feeling in the pits of their somachs because occasionally we screwed up and screamed, yelled, tantrumed or maybe even popped their behinds. They will have warm fuzzies when they think of us, because that love supercedes all else.
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#71 of 913 Old 09-11-2005, 11:47 PM
 
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Thank you to Bearsmama (Hi!) and all of you moms who have posted such well thought, from the gut, in the trenches, and inspirational posts. I have had this thread on my computer for the last two days, reading it when I could.

I don't know if I would label Gavin as having high needs personality, or if he is just high needs for me (as in I can't handle normal 4 year old behavior). I am not familiar with boys, and I think this is part of my problem. I do not think by any means that Gavin is an "easy" child or ever has been. But I think that in many ways our personalities clash and make it harder than it has to be. Anyway, I too have felt such a sadness since dd has been born, I second the notion of the feeling that the past year for Gavin has been lost in so many ways. I did delay having a second child for a while, because I wasn't sure I could handle another before that. Gavin was 3 1/2 when Nora was born. He was a child that needed almost 100% of my attention, and of course after the baby was born he went down to about 25%. It is starting to get easier every day. I do see some anger in him yet, as in many times when I am not looking or not in the room Nora will usually start crying as Gavin has done something yet again to hurt her.

I feel split because I don't feel like I can coo over Nora as much because it seems that Gavin takes it as a negative towards him every time I give Nora a complement. I always give him a complement as well, but I can tell it doesn't mean as much. And when I am always after him about hurting his sister, etc., it is hard to be glowing towards him at times.

We went through some bad times in the past year. We have improved so much. I will admit that I was swatting him several times a month for awhile, but thankfully that is over. I posted for help on mothering, and I regained control of myself, and now am just working on the yelling and giving him the angry face all the time. What has helped our family is the book "Kid Cooperation" by Elizabeth Pantley. I know many of you have read dozens of books, but this is what worked for us. I am not sure what gentle discipline completely entails, but this book did give us the idea of posting house rules and consequences. We picked five things to become house rules and posted them. There were some easy ones and some harder ones. Big one was no screaming or whining. If he does that he has to spend five minutes in his room. We do give him a chance to rephrase his request the appropriate way (and we model it for him), and if he can't handle it then the time out. This was just the thing that drove me bonkers, and after about a week he did so much better. He was screaming at me constantly and bossing me around and had basically no manners. I heard him having a tantrum the other day (I was rocking Nora to sleep and dh was with him), and realized that he hadn't had a tantrum in weeks. In our case, Gavin needed a little more structure. He also liked knowing upfront what was expected of him rather than trying to guess every day what we wanted. He may also be a little older than some of your children, he is 4 1/2, so I thought it was time that these behaviors improved.

I went off on a tangent, sorry. I did want to say that I appreciate the discussion on shame and guilt, because I had so much of it myself. I have major issues with feeling like I need to be the perfect parent and have the perfect children. Someone on page one I think talked about her worries that if her child is angry, then he will grow into an angry adult, etc. That is so me! Every time Gavin goes through a stage, I worrry that he is going to get stuck in it and become a horrible person. I am extremely hard on myself. I do have to step back and like craftkitty said, know that he knows that I love him, and would do anything for him. He does get lots of hugs and kisses and back scratches and etc. I agree in the end, this is what he will remember the most.

Thank you all for helping me realize that, and sharing your stories. I think I am going to print this out so I will have it to read when I need it in the future! Thank you again!
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#72 of 913 Old 09-13-2005, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas-
For some reason, I wasn't getting the updates, and I didn't know there had been any replies since I last posted. I am reading, reading, reading, reading, trying to catch up and I'll post more asap. Thanks for keeping this thread going.
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#73 of 913 Old 09-13-2005, 11:09 PM
 
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Well I just got back from 4 days with my mom and my two little ones. She lives 5 hours away and I somehow can't stand to spend much time with her without feeling unloved... no matter what she says. This time I chose to go with the idea that I was chosing to go, chosing to have an adventure with my boys and keeping my expectations low. All I asked of her was to take time off to just play with us. I went in a very good place and it worked out pretty well.

I did figure out within about 2 hours that my mother is very critical and judgemental and somehow I had thought she only did that to me. Maybe I only notice when I am in the receiving end. But she is critical of everyone, and I know that this critical nature is really destructive to her. She has been in AA for like 15 years and sober but still really struggles with finding any inner peace. I got to accept her this weekend and not make it about me. Now I know she judges my parenting because she judges everything. EVERYTHING. Nothing in her life is just ok. I will never be a good enough parent because she can never be a good enough parent... and now that is only her problem... not so much mine.

She told me a story about my sister's husband who is a bit of a hovering father- they adopted their only child at birth 18 months ago... who can blame him for hovering. She hates that he sometimes has a hard time when the baby cries when he leaves for work. My mother has always preached say goodbye and then just go, staying around just makes it harder on everyone. I don't really disagree with my mom but her statement was "He doesn't know what kind of damage he is doing to that boy." Wow! No way is hovering "damaging" in any sense I can make. How sad that this is how she thinks about making mistakes or doing things less than perfect. It also explains why she can't really face any mistakes she has made, they would just be too big.

I am not sure how that fits with all this but I am kicking that judgemental part of my mom out of my head. That means I am going to work on being more accepting of people, not run around with some kind of measuring tape of parenting.

I think my adventure was fantastic. I really did playful parenting the whole time. I do believe that the thing that messes up my parenting most often is housework. I had such a fantastic time enjoying the kids and they were perfect... well perfect kids. If I never clean my house or try to get anything done, I rock... well my goal is more playful minutes and more housework after bedtime....

Hang in there mommas.

Maureen
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#74 of 913 Old 09-14-2005, 10:32 AM
 
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Ack. I am back. We were having a couple of "good" weeks. Actually they were not good but dd has been sick which somehow softens my temper.

She has turned into an absolute monster during the illness and now that she is better, it seems that her behavior is getting worse. I am at my rope's end. She will not sleep! She pulled every last thread of patience yesterday and dh had a band rehearsal so he did not get home until her bedtime. I seriously needed a break and dd is her most challenging at bedtime. Dh agreed to take over. No dice. She screamed mommy mommy mommy for about 5 minutes until i caved and went up there. I was very angry at this point. I have been running on empty for weeks and here I cannot even get a shower break. I just could not put on a happy face for two hours of sleep evasion. I lost it. after one hour she was still getting up and singing songs. I was so mean. I told her she was a "very bad girl" and that she would have to go to sleep alone because I needed to leave the room. She of course screamed her head off and I had to go back in before the door even shut all the way. This made me even more mad. I kept not-too-gently laying her back down getting madder and madder until dd actually asked for dh. Phew. So he went in while I cried uncontrollably downstairs with regret and guilt. I KNOW these things are wrong and damaging but there seems ot be this line at which once crossed, I cannot get rational control of my temper. So far no spanking but it seems to get closer and closer every day. At 12:30 (three hours after this fiasco started) dh finally came back down. Even though I am very sleep deprived and dd wakes at 7am no matter what (not to mention about once eveyr two hours during the night as well), we stayed up to talk about strategy for a while.

I feel like such a failure every day. I cannot keep my cool. Every little thing she does seems to have the sole purpose of pushing my buttons. It starts upon waking and except for a one hour nap that usually requires I sit with her the whole time, I am on. she sleeps less per 24 hours than I personally need myself. So even if I go to bed with her and put up with the two hour mess-around-a-thon, I still do not get what I need.

Sorry to vent. It has been a bad week I want to get better. I want to be a better parent. I fear that she is going to grow up with memories of a frustrated and angry mother.
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#75 of 913 Old 09-14-2005, 10:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Bears has major issues with allowing us to take care of his basic hygiene. Tooth brushing, hair washing, bathing, hand washing before dinner, YOU NAME IT. I know with some other issues, his behavior has improved when we've stopped making it an issue. But how can we stop making his hygiene an issue? We've given up so much in terms of trying to parent him. We don't micromanage, really, we don't. But are we supposed to give up this basic stuff, too? Won't his teeth fall out? .
BTDT

As for his teeth falling out, I'd say it depends. When I had young babies I went a long time without brushing regularly sometimes. No cavities and in fact the dentist said I took really good care of my teeth

I've been through all those struggles.

This sounds crazy but singing silly songs sometimes helped. I'd make up the silliest song and sing it. It worked for diaper changes and later tooth brushing.

I had huge hair combing struggles. Oldest went around looking like a wild animal for years. He has super curly hair that gets all dready when it's not combed. When he was 5 he decided to cut it rather than get it combed.

With the other 2, I started combing daily when they were babies. It worked for them.

In our experience sometimes things have to be done and there will be screaming (as there was for several years with schoolwork and the oldest) but it does help if the adults can remain calm.
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#76 of 913 Old 09-14-2005, 10:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEAK's Mom
And, potty learning...I have a 3 year old who can read better than many 8 year olds, but she refuses to potty learn. I refuse to push the issue because I just don't want the power struggle and I don't think it will help. But, when every other 3 year old we see is out of diapers, it can be hard. I even had one mother tell me that her daughter couldn't interact with mine because she didn't want TEAK to cause hers to backslide into diapers. .

I'm in feisty mood today so watch out

The other mom is full of it. 3 is on the young side to potty train. If she were 5, then I'd be making sure there's no physical probelm but not at 3.

It's none of their ____ business if your daughter is trained or not. Sheesh.
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#77 of 913 Old 09-14-2005, 06:14 PM
 
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Wow, can't believe I missed this thread. Thanks for sharing your stories. Our 5.5 yo ds fits right in here too. Sometimes I think my head will explode.

Our biggest challenge right now is transitions, esp leaving playdates when he's having fun. He sabotages his own friendships by yelling 'I hate you, you're not my friend anymore, I had a terrible time' when I tell him it's time to go. Warnings (20 min-1 min) don't help. Anyone got strategies for this one?
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#78 of 913 Old 09-16-2005, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey Maureen : I totally spaced on responding to you question about the parenting utopia center. I have a three word answer: YES, YES, YES! I can't find the link to your actual thread on this topic, but if you're reading, I think it's a wonderful idea. Also, if you are reading, please post me the link again and I can check out your plans.

Oh, and there have been some additional replies here since I last checked in. Thanks again for keeping this thread going, mamas. I'll reply/post more when I can. Bed calls.
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#79 of 913 Old 09-16-2005, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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BTW, TEAKs, Bear is not "potty trained" either. He is 3 years & 8 months old. We're working on it, but he refuses to wear underwear for the moment.
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#80 of 913 Old 09-16-2005, 01:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
BTW, TEAKs, Bear is not "potty trained" either. He is 3 years & 8 months old. We're working on it, but he refuses to wear underwear for the moment.

Hey, trust me... don't worry about it. Analiyse is 3 yrs and 4 months and is potty trained. She gets my my LAST nerve every day about once every two hours when she shows up in front of me in nothing but a t-shirt. I ask her where her panties are and she runs off. She goes through about....oh, 8 pairs of panties a DAY? I don't think it makes much of difference for her to use the potty. I wash more panties than I would diapers. :LOL She's going through some private area obsession phase. She's just fascinated with her girl parts right now. A couple of days ago, she colored her vulva with a purple marker.
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#81 of 913 Old 09-24-2005, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,
Just checking in on this thread. I've returned to see some posts that I think I missed responding to.

Marybeth, yooper, chicago, BREATHE-Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope you find some support here in parenting your challenging child(ren).

Well, Bears started preschool last week. We may still very well be in a "honeymoon" phase, but he really, really likes it! Surprise! Actually, I really wasn't surprised. But just so relieved that this transition so far has gone well. The 3 hour/day break for me from Bears is amazing. It makes me appreciate him so, so much more. And while I'm home parenting the other child, and sometimes even getting some time in for myself ( ), he's in a great environment learning so much. I've found that just this simple structure to our day has really helped me have a different framework to our lives. I said to DH last week that I can't believe that I've done this non-stop, no break, no structured activity, little outside help or diversions for almost 4 years!! I really do think this is going to be a good thing for my boy and a good thing for our relationship.

Tonight we had some issues with bedtime. Which isn't that unusual. But we have a sick baby who needs some extra TLC and Bears just doesn't do well with too much attention placed elsewhere. I said a few things I regret. No, I'm not a name caller, but I sometimes channel someone (maybe my mother? I'm not sure.) that is a threatener. Tonight, like many nights I said to Bears when he was giving us a hard time, "In order for all of us to sleep comfortably in this bed, you have to realize that we all have needs. Your brother needs to go to sleep. Mama needs to have a less-stressful time at night. And you need to go to sleep". When his behavior worsened, I said something like, "You can go sleep on the wood floor in your room if you don't blah-blah-blah if you don't like it here". Now, up until yesterday there was no furniture in his official bedroom, just the wood floors, b/c we were doing some home renovations. But I REALLY DON'T KNOW WHERE THIS COMMENT CAME FROM AT ALL. I was so angry. SOOOO ANGRY. When he woke his brother up, I said something like, "This is your fault". Well, it was, but I could have been a little less harsh about the whole thing.

Okay, I'm being completely self-absorbed here. There are many of us, I know that could share this minute details of our lives as parents. But I guess I felt the need to share and get this out before it sits for too long and festers. I don't want to continue any of this shame crap with my children, and sometimes these little bits of nastiness come out. UGH. :

Thanks, again, for listening, mamas.
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#82 of 913 Old 09-25-2005, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Paging Maureen???

For tonight's outburst, I immediately apologized to Bears. I held him and said that he would never have to sleep on the floor (unless he wanted to). That it was something silly that I said b/c I was getting so, so angry and I wasn't dealing with it well.

I have a therapist friend who says that parents need to love their kids and be accountable for their actions. The rest is details. I'm hoping that I'm holding myself accountable by apologizing.

I realize that this thread has sort of veered off course and has become more of a general support thread. Mainly support for ME!!! :LOL Is that allowed? Entire threads dedicated to helping one mama through???
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#83 of 913 Old 09-25-2005, 01:20 PM
 
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Bearsmama, I can so relate to the nighttime thing. E (my spirited, challenging, intense blessing) has always had a difficult time going to sleep. For the past year or so the main problem has been just talking-too loudly and too much. We have 5 people in our family bed. At the kids' bedtime, I lay down with all 3 kids until my youngest is asleep. There are times now, and there were innumerable times in the past, when E has interfered with the other children falling asleep or has woken one of the other kids with her fussing. It is extremely frustrating and irritating. I don't remember when it started to get better. She has chosen to sleep in her own room for periods of time off and on for a couple of years now. But at some point we said "It's not fair for you to keep the other kids awake. If you continue to make noise you will have to go to your room." And then that's just what we did (and of course that led to tantrums, even when we were right there willing to help her sleep). Since we made that rule, we've also had to escort D to his room a couple of times (they are always welcome back in our room when they're ready to rest quietly). We seldom have a problem anymore, though we often have to remind E or D of this rule. We really hesitated to do this, because we want our children to feel welcome in our room and we don't want their own rooms to feel like a punishment. But it is the only way to keep any semblance of calm and an atmosphere that allows everyone to actually fall asleep, and I don't think it's unreasonable.

I will share with you my most shameful moment, not because it will make you feel better but because I think it's important for all moms to know that others make the same mistakes. I also have a problem with getting frustrated to the point where I make threats and say things I will regret later and blame my child for what's happening. I have this vivid and painful memory of the time when I was no older than 7 years old: I was crying about something-maybe wanting another story, who knows-at bedtime. I had come out of my room to say something to my mother. I don't remember what I said, but her response was "If you don't like the rules here, you can pack your bags and go live somewhere else." That was so awful to hear, and I swore that I would never, ever say that to my children. You know what's coming: I said it.

I don't remember what was going on. This was a good 2 years ago, so E might've been 3 or 4. Whatever was happening, it involved one of her stellar tantrums and I was completely frustrated and exasperated and feeling helpless to make life better in any way. And I said it: "Why don't you go find some other mommy to live with?!" Where did that come from? From the helplessness, from a feeling of wanting to escape, from the anger, from feeling like a horrible parent, from feeling like E and I didn't fit so well as mother and daughter. From memories of my childhood, from focusing on the feelings I so desperately didn't want to be having and on the things I so desperately didn't want to say that I couldn't see anything else. I felt like I didn't deserve children after that, I felt ashamed, I felt awful. So I did the only thing I could do, I apologized and told her that of course I didn't want her to live anywhere else, I want her living right here with me. And I told her how much it hurt when my own mother said it to me. She asked lots of questions, which I did my best to answer. And I told her even mommies make mistakes. I told her I said it because I didn't know what else to do, and it was wrong to say it. I hope she doesn't remember it, but if she does I hope she remembers that I was so very sorry. My own mother never apologized.

I have made threats, and I have blamed. I have said "It's your fault! Look at what you did! You woke him up!" Not good. I have found that I can say "You were very loud, and your baby sister woke up. She wasn't ready to wake up. Naptime is quiet time" and that's a whole lot better. This parenting stuff isn't easy, especially when your child is so very intense, so very difficult to parent. When all you want is for things to be easy for just one day, or even one hour. When you resent how difficult it is, and hate how helpless and incompetent you feel in the face of the most difficult behaviors. When the simplest things in life take so much time and herculean effort.

It gets better. It did for us, though we still have plenty of tough times (but I handle the tough times so much better now). I had to really take a look at where the threats and blaming and such come from. It's as simple as having a bad role model, and yet not that simple because it involved a lot of unrealistic expectations of both my child and myself. As she gets older, more mature, her behavior becomes easier to deal with. As I grow as a mother I find better ways of interacting with her.

It takes a strong parent to see their mistakes and apologize to their child. That is not an easy thing-it highlights our weaknesses in a way. And I think that seeing that mom makes mistakes and can (and does) apologize is a real blessing to children. I don't think my memory of my mother telling me to move out would've been so painful if she'd apologized and told me she really loves me and wants to keep me. Think of how much that apology means to a child-it shows your child it's not all his fault, it shows him you care, it shows him you love him, and it shows him that no one is perfect.

I'm so glad Bears is enjoying preschool and that you're getting a little respite! Take care. Thank you for sharing all that you share. It's so important for moms to know others have a hard time and make mistakes. I spent way too long thinking I was the only mom to have the feelings and challenges I had, and I thought I was an absolutely horrible mom because of it. And I couldn't become a better mom until I realized that mistakes are part of being human and part of learning to be a parent.
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#84 of 913 Old 09-25-2005, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, sledg-Saying thank you seems so small in the face of what you've given me with your honesty. I only have a minute or two at the computer b/c I stealing time here, but your words MEAN SO MUCH TO ME. I, too, have many shameful moments from my childhood. And I swore I would not do to my son what was done to me by my mother. And I thought if I didn't say the words, the actual WORDS that my mother said to me, then I was doing okay. Well, I've had a few shameful moments with Bears. Okay, a lot more than a few. And it doesn't happen every day, every week, etc. In fact, it hasn't happened in a long time. But last night was one of them. I didn't know where it came from at the moment, but I certainly do today. It's my desperation, fear, everything coming through. I've said to him before that perhaps I should go back to work and daddy can stay home with him. And a few other not too wonderful things that I don't even have the time or energy (or humility) to share here right now. Suffice it to say that my mother never apologized, and I am doing my best to at least right that wrong. And I think being accoutable is a good start.

I will write more later when I have more time. Thank you, thank you, thank YOU, sledg.
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#85 of 913 Old 09-25-2005, 04:51 PM
 
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Hey a whole thread committed to Bearsmamma seems perfectly reasonable to me. Especially because you are brave enough to speak for so many mommas who will never post their mistakes, never risk being judged or questioned. I love sledg's post. If threatening to make a kid sleep on the floor or telling that "this is your fault" in frustration is going to damage a child, I don't think any of them would make it.

I was reading some stuff about dieting that said that your goal should be to eat really well 80% of the time and know that this is good enough. This should be our mantra for life! From now on lets parent fantastically 80% of the time and be proud.

nak... more later

Maureen

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#86 of 913 Old 09-25-2005, 10:04 PM
 
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Must be quick . . . dh waiting for romance ( :LOL ), but had to chime in and say that NOTHING raises my mama RAGE like ds1 waking up ds2. I actually see red and shake all over in my body's attempt to vent the rage so it doesn't explode out onto his 4-yr-old head. Or throat. Or rear-end. You get the picture.

Hugs to all you mamas who have raged over the premature end to a baby's slumber!
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#87 of 913 Old 09-26-2005, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Breathe-Glad to know I'm not alone. I, too, literally see RED. And this happens very frequently.

Like tonight, for instance. Bears is sick. Fell asleep quickly and soundly. When I left the bed (yes, I lay down with him until he's asleep), he started waking. And no coercing, no encouraging, no soft voice mama-speak could help him from screeching, screaming, yelling "NO!" when all I simply asked was for him to put his head back down on the pillow.

It just infuriates me. It's been going on for a year now. The "baby" is now almost 14 months old. I definitely have big triggers, and waking or disturbing the younger one, or daddy or mommy, when we're sleeping is a BIG one. The others happen to be any kind of physical pain (like when he's hit me), and breaking things. I can be the 80% okay mama until one of the above things happen. Then, I bubble over like a crazy woman.

Maureen-I love sledg's post, too. It resonated with me, like so much else that's been written here since this thread began. I like the 80% thing. Sounds like being "good enough". Isn't that a book? The Good Enough Parent?

Anyway, since Bears is sitting here on the couch with us now, pretending he's asleep while we watch the Dylan documentary, I better go. More when I can. And thanks for continuuing this discussion and for indulging me so often here, ladies.
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#88 of 913 Old 09-27-2005, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since everyone seems okay with this thread being completely and unequivocably about me, can I bring up another topic?

Resentment. I know as mamas we're not "supposed" to feel this toward a child. But gosh darnit, I think that I definitely harbor some resentment toward Bears. No, I do not show him this in our normal, day-to-day activities. But when I flip out, or yell, or whatever, I think some small kernal of it is my resentment coming out. Yes, I totally believe that most of my anger comes from fear, from feeling helpless, etc. But the R word is something that keeps coming up for me.

I think I resent that I KNOW in my heart and in my head that Bears is here to teach me something, and if I just sloooooooowed down to hear it, it might change and heal me. I don't want something else in life to be hard, so, so hard. I've had enough hard.

I think I also harbor this resentment b/c Bears turned my world upside down. He was an extremely high-needs baby. Never slept. I'm not kidding. I've spoken about this before, but he was about two years old before he slept "through the night". And that's our definition of through the night. He never allowed us to sleep, to rest, to recharge, to connect as a couple. And of course, I realize how this is sounding right now. But if I could pretend for a minute that you are all my therapists, and that I can say whatever I want, this is my truth. And when we thought things would get better, they didn't. He's still high maintenance, still highly-spirited, so challenging on a daily basis. Nothing is a given with Bears. Nothing.

So, all of this has made me question myself, my parenting, what I thought parenting was supposed to be, etc, etc. Out of this has come this small bit of resentment. I resent that nothing has gone "by the book" or come easily to us in parenting Bears. He has thrown us for a loop in every single way since the moment of his birth (and btw, his birth was really rough. Hmmmm?).

Anyway, so there. I said it. I let it out. DH and I have talked about this, but this is the first time I've really layed (sp) it all out. I know I have to get past this to move on, to free myself up to parent my best.

Thank you for listening. And I hope someone out there can relate to this.
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#89 of 913 Old 09-27-2005, 02:26 PM
 
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Ooooh, my favorite topic to get on my soapbox about is the negative feelings we mamas all have but that we're not supposed to feel. Ready?

I would like to know who decided we aren't supposed to feel resentment (or any other negative feelings for that matter). I haven't talked to a lot of moms about negative feelings, mainly because I don't feel close enough to many moms to do so. But when I have talked to my closest friends about negative feelings, they too have said they feel resentment. I feel resentment. Not every day, but it's there-though these days I feel it less and less often. Yes, especially when it comes to my challenging child. It's not comfortable. I resent that very few things are easy when it comes to this child-I've resented that a long time. I resent that every morning involves some sort of struggle over socks or pants or food or getting out of bed. I resent getting next to no sleep every night for the past 6 years. I resent that now that my oldest is in school she needs me on Saturdays, so the kids don't go to my mom's for the day which means I don't get a break-ever. I don't blame my children for these things, I understand my children's needs and quirks, but I resent these things.

Do I really resent my child? I don't think so, not really. I used to always think the resentment I feel is toward my child-but nowadays I understand that my resentment comes from other things and I sometimes direct it toward my child (kwim?). I resent the fact that I expected parenting to be easy-based on all the myths the books and media and people around me and the pediatrician perpetuate-and it has not ever been easy. I resent the cultural myth of Sleeping Through The Night. I resent encountering everywhere I turn the idea that I must be doing something wrong because this is so hard-I was too lenient or too strict or too inconsistent or, or, or...I resent doing this alone every day, especially when I'm so tired I can barely see straight. I resent being the only one who can get the kids to sleep at night and it takes almost an hour to do it-at the very time of day I most need a break (dh tries, bless him, but the kids won't do it). I resent being the one who takes on the lion's share of the parenting and housework with little help (again, dh does a lot when he's home, but he works long hours) even though I chose this path knowing it would be this way and I wouldn't do it any other way (and really, wouldn't it still mostly fall on my if I were working outside the home? It does for all the working moms I know). I resent the fact that we live in a society with no real support for mothers, and not much more respect. I resent the fact that in our society mothers are so often blamed for their kids behavior or choices or health, as if we have total control over our kids. I resent that when I need to talk about my feelings I get "well, you chose to be a stay at home mom" or "You chose to have three kids"-as if the fact that I chose it means that I don't get to find it challenging and I don't need support. I resent the attitude I encounter that I'm doing something wrong by trying to respect my children and their needs and to work with them rather than just "lay down the law" or "let 'em cry" or "ignore them, don't reinforce that crying". Then I resent the other (and often next) comment, which is usually something about my being too harsh because I am speaking firmly to my child about an important issue. I deepy, deeply, viciously resent the idea that mothers shouldn't feel resentful or angry or frustrated or bored or any number of other improper negative feelings. I think this cultural ideal of mothers having no negative feelings and being totally responsible for the children is a means of oppression. Who started it and when, I don't know (does anyone?), but it persists and we are all complicit in its perpetuation at some point. This persistent cultural ideal keeps women "in line" and it keeps us busy judging ourselves and each other instead of being a strong force within the culture. What would happen if we could just be human and that were good enough, and we could believe in ourselves and support and help one another without all this angst? What kind of force could we be?

Want a good read? Try Ourselves as Mothers by Sheila Kitzinger (I think?). It's great on the newness of the western mother-at-home-alone-with-children model of mothering (how different it is from the mothering experience throughout history and in other parts of the world) and the real feelings mothers feel. Also, The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood-this one's pretty good too.

Okay, spent too long on my soapbox. People, even mothers, aren't supposed to feel or not feel anything. Feelings are feelings. Period. It's good to talk about them and understand them, so they don't build up inside and come out at your children in inappropriate or hurtful ways. But the feelings themselves, they're not wrong. They may be a sign that something isn't right or you have unmet needs, but the feelings themselves aren't wrong. Feelings happen.

ETA that I'm really not as angry as I probably sounded in this post. I'm a happy mama who is finally (at least for now) feeling at peace with most things. Resentment is not a daily occurence. And though I've talked a lot in this thread about my problems yelling at my kids, it's been a long time since I yelled. I'm a much calmer, much more gentle mama than I used to be. I'm in the zone right now, and it feels good. Part of getting to this place was facing the negative feelings (instead of feeling ashamed of them and stuffing them away) so that I could grow, and that is why this is such a soapbox issue for me.
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#90 of 913 Old 09-27-2005, 04:29 PM
 
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I can totally relate. I have 3 very high needs boys. Bailey is 5 months old and very sensitive. If I cough while he is nursing he will cry for 10 minutes. If I walk too quickly with him in my arms he will panic and scream. I am constantly having to be aware of that. My middle son Aidan is 2.5 and very intense. (the exact opposite of his babybrother) He does not hug or snuggle or sit still. He bangs and roars and slams and yells and pounds. He is soooo defiant also. Everything is a fight with him. Just to get his socks on is a workout. He yells at me and hits me and responds to nothing when it comes to discipline. He exhausts me. Zane is 4.5 and more like Bailey. Very sensitive and mildly anal about many things. LOL. I love him but he can be very frusturating at times.
My point is, I can relate. But the thing is, I KNOW I am a good momma. And if you were not, you wouldn't be here venting. You simply would not care. The fact it is a struggle at times shows there is effort you are putting into it. At the days end, does your son know he is loved? That is what I aim for. Trust me, there are days I have to go into their room after they FINALLY are asleep and tell them in their ear how much I lovethem and how happy they make me. They stir enough to show me they heard me and then I am not left with the guilt of knowing the last words theyheard that day were yelling. I am working on my yelling...but I am still only human. (and a sleep deprived human at that)
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