Do you ever feel mothering/gd is more complicated than ever? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We all post 'help me' questions for gd and we all share advice on methods. 'Do this, don't do that'; read these books; try this, try that, etc... For the most-part, we are all dealing with the same issues of gd for toddlers & children. Reading this forum can be exhausting & confusing!!

So last night laying in bed, after a bad bed-time episode with my 2 boys (5 & 3.5) and realizing my mistakes, but wishing they'd just do.what.I.say!, lead me to realize mothering is waaaaaayyyyy more complicated, harder, confusing than I ever thought. No one (friends, family) ever said it was like this. (and this is not the first time I've had this thought!)

So does anyone have similar thougts like me...that given how complicated mothering is, did you really know it was THIS complicated? Where is THE mothering bible/test pre-exam study packet? The exhaustion is like taking the SAT test everyday and knowing I must score a 1600 every time!
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#2 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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YES!! I remember very clearly when I had the realization that this is going to be hard forever. DD was just about to turn three and we had gone through a particularly rough time and I remember thinking: WTF?I thought this was supposed to be getting easier. Now I feel like I peaked when she was about 14 months. I think that I really expected the first year to be really hard, which it was, but I think I did OK b/c I felt like if I could just get through infancy it would be smooth sailing. Ha! That's quite hilarious to me now.

Anyway, now DD is 3.5 and I don't really believe that I am a "bad" mom, but I do end up most days feeling like I often knew the right thing to do and did the opposite. Not a great feeling. I'm really trying hard to subscribe to the "good enough" parenting philosophy and that certainly helps.
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#3 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 01:13 PM
 
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It's funny because I really haven't found mothering/discipline to be all that complicated, it has been through some rough patches though. I am the mother of three, the eldest will be 20 in a couple of months . My other two haven't yet reached their teens but one is just a few months away. The rough patches with my eldest, I can now see are largely a reflection how I reacted to to her triggering my issues and insecurities. My reaction to our conflicts was always result of my agenda which always got in the way of me seeing her beautiful, it made her wrong and me right. Now as a young woman making her way in the world, it is much easier to see her beautiful and I am so proud she is who she is. I also subscribe to the "good enough" school of parenting and take no credit or blame for how my children are, because they are who they are, and I love them unconditionally. This of course is a work in progress and I mess up a lot, but I am able to admit my triggers and apologize when they get in the way of my relationship with them.

I am going to link to my absolutely favorite parenting blog, Pure Joy Parenting, I always find such wisdom in Leslie's words, and her most recently entry, I think, is very relevant to this issue.

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#4 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 04:29 PM
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I think unrealistic expectations and maybe holding on to authoritarian ideas while trying to parent in a non authoritarian way make discipline complicated. I don't want my DD to "just do what I say". I want her to make good choices based on valid reasons. She's only 4 but it's still happening more and more. We mostly use modeling behaviors we value and discussing the consequences of possible behaviors to guide our DD. We still stop dangerous behaviors and sometimes say no, but we usually suggest she do stuff and give her reasons why.
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#5 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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I don't think being a mom is always easy, though it has gotten easier in many ways as my dd has grown older, I have grown more comfortable with trusting in what feels right for our family, and I have let go of most of my bossy and meaningless ideas. I didn't have any illusions about it being easy though because my mother told me about her struggle to improve as a parent and her guilt. It also helps that everyone I know who has kids also struggles at various points no matter what parenting style they choose.
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#6 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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I never feel that mothering is complicated because i love taking care of my children's...........
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#7 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 09:03 PM
 
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I never feel that mothering is complicated because i love taking care of my children's...........
You can love taking care of your children and still have a hard time dealing with some issues, days, or even weeks. Loving your kids and taking care of them and finding mothering to be complicated are two completely unrelated things. Coming from a violent background I have had to do a lot of work on myself to be the gentle mother I want to be. Hopefully all of your days with your children continue to be simple and uncomplicated. Not everyone comes from the kind of background where they can have that, but all of us love our kids.
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#8 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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I never feel that mothering is complicated because i love taking care of my children's...........
I don't really understand why/why you are saying that...

You can absolutely be over the moon in love with your children and feel that mothering is complicated.

The complicated part for me started when my ds needed open heart surgery and I had to orient myself with hospitals and medicines and giving my child over etc. etc.

Now he is a rambunctios 2.5 year old and i know EXACTLY what the op is saying. It IS hard when he refuses to listen 35485748 times in teh last half hour to stop hitting the cat, pick up his duplos, etc. and no matter how fun/gentle/playful/ignoring/ etc. etc. i try it sometimes FEELS like NOTHING is working. So yes OP i hear ya!!!!!

me, dh and 2 boys = our family (oh and a cat...who is also a male...lol)
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#9 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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Yes!

Everyday my children get older, I realize how hard this is. And that no one has the answers. People can only offer me what they did, or what I should/shouldn't do based on their experience. There's not a right answer, or a right book. The whole thing is a crash course...and you don't get do overs. The ramifications can be totally overwhelming to me.

It helps me to remember that much of what they do, and will do, is not because they are trying me, or because they are trying to be...I dunno...difficult? Anyway, almost always it is just a progression of their growth, and if I can help them to find who they are, and give them a little guidance along the way, I will consider my job well done.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#10 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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#11 of 17 Old 04-25-2010, 11:41 PM
 
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I do get the sense that I am constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. My own parents were not big on discipline or home management and DH came from a different culture and had a crazy mom and an absent father. Very little of this is intuitive for me and we have family in town but no family 'help.' No matter how many playgroup friends I make I feel like I am parenting in a void.
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#12 of 17 Old 04-26-2010, 11:51 AM
 
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I do get the sense that I am constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. My own parents were not big on discipline or home management and DH came from a different culture and had a crazy mom and an absent father. Very little of this is intuitive for me and we have family in town but no family 'help.' No matter how many playgroup friends I make I feel like I am parenting in a void.
I think this is really true. In a sane. coherent culture, I think it wouldn't be so complicated. If we'd all been treated correctly by the adults who parented us, we'd find it fairly intuitive, I think, and do exactly what was done with us. You can see this in cultures that have not been so radically altered by the upheavals of industrial civilization-- that parenting happens fairly effortlessly, because there's an agreed-upon consensus about what's right for children, and about how children should be treated, and new parents have fairly clear models to emulate.

I think it's the feeling like we have to make it up as we go along, and our convictions that the cultural "consensus," such as it is, about children, is not a healthy one-- it's all that that's making it so challenging. If we could just ask our own mothers, "how do I handle this," and know we're going to get an answer that is true to our own set of values, then we wouldn't be daily challenged by the ideas of a zillion conflicting opinions from "experts."

It's always an struggle when you're trying to go uphill against the crowd...

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#13 of 17 Old 04-26-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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Everyday my children get older, I realize how hard this is. And that no one has the answers. People can only offer me what they did, or what I should/shouldn't do based on their experience. There's not a right answer, or a right book. The whole thing is a crash course...and you don't get do overs. The ramifications can be totally overwhelming to me.
Yes! I think the internet just compounds things. (I think that's the right word!) There are a million ways to do it, everyone thinks they are right. There are hundreds of books to read, almost an overload of information. Frankly, I've totally lost sight of my natural intuition and I think that having so much info bombarded at me is not really all that healthy and it makes me rather crazy. For me, I need a simple method for discipline. I personally can't be constantly trying to come up with something new to try and get my 4 yo to cooperate when I need him to. Sometimes, it's just time to xyz and I don't really care that you don't want to. Kwim? I probably am a bit more authoritarian than some here, but any other way would just make me more

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#14 of 17 Old 04-26-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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Absofrickinlutely.

As matter of fact, I *just* underlined a passage in Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting to this effect:
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It's harder to make sure children feel loved unconditionally than it is just to love them. It's harder to respond to them in all their complexity than it is to focus just on their behaviors. It's harder to try to solve problems with them, to give them reasons for doing the right thing (let alone to help them formulate their own reasons), than it is to control them with carrots and sticks. "Working with" asks more of us than does "doing to."
That pretty well summed up my feeling about how parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done. Worth it? Absolutely. But still very very hard.
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#15 of 17 Old 04-27-2010, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Great responses everyone! Furthering (a word? ) my thoughts:

I've wondered if there is an inate knowledge or gene for motherhood. Seriously. Some women seems to handle SO much...effortlessly and with smiles and enthusiasm. ANd they frequently say "omg, I just LOVE being a mom!!!" as their one-of-5-kids is hitting or pulling at them. kwim?

My mom is one of those types and although I do remember her frustrations as a kid (yep, I got a spanking or two), she handled raising 4 kids almost alone effortlessly (dad was often away). And because of her overly positive outlook, I don't feel I can ask for advice because I only have 2 and my dh is home more.

ANother pp mentioned expectations - yes!! My expectations were that parenting is fun, great, wonderful! - as was told to me. Umm.....it's been 5yrs and I cannot agree yet. It has been the ultimate challenge.

I think gender of your kids can play a part as well. I was with my moms group today and my boys and another boy were extremely active in the play gym. Non-stop. And one 4yo girl barely said anything, quiet, barely moving, climbed through the gym once or twice, slowly. I made a remark to the mom and she said her dd was always like this. I told her what she sees right now, the running, jumping, shouting, wrestling, etc.... is constant 12-15 hrs per day.

And info-overload, I agree!! The pressure to turn out a good kid. Like everyone's watching to see if you're successful at parenting. While many days I do wish there was 'the perfect book' to answer all my questions, it also back-fires to make me think that if I'm not doing what this or that book/author/PhD says, I'm not doing it right, and therefore a failure.

I just want my boys to stop hitting, pushing, spitting - same old daily grind....are these expectations out of whack? Am I pushing my agenda of wanting better behavior too much? or not age appropriate? (5 & 3.5yo) Just random thoughts....
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#16 of 17 Old 04-28-2010, 10:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nansense View Post
I've wondered if there is an inate knowledge or gene for motherhood. Seriously. Some women seems to handle SO much...effortlessly and with smiles and enthusiasm. ANd they frequently say "omg, I just LOVE being a mom!!!" as their one-of-5-kids is hitting or pulling at them. kwim?
I've heard a couple times on this board and elsewhere that for moms of many the toughest years are often the early ones where you have only a couple of kids and they are young. As the family progresses the older kids can start to help out and the kids play together more instead of relying on the parents for entertainment.
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I just want my boys to stop hitting, pushing, spitting - same old daily grind....are these expectations out of whack? Am I pushing my agenda of wanting better behavior too much? or not age appropriate? (5 & 3.5yo) Just random thoughts....
Rough and tumble play is to be expected. However you can establish ground rules for where and when they are allowed to play like that, and be sure that they aren't taking up your time by using you as a referee.

I think it would be crazy not to want better behavior...as our children get older it is our job to encourage certain behaviors and discourage others. Just because something is typical for a child of that age does not mean it shouldn't be addressed - just that it is nothing to worry about. I think that you consider age-appropriateness in how you address the problem and how much responsibility you give the child in finding and executing the solution.
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#17 of 17 Old 04-29-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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All I know right now is utter exhaustion and the vague realization that when I'm not being triggered and reacting badly I am appologizing alot and trying to 'say' I love you... I just wish oh wish I could magically 'do' I love you right now

financial stress...
teething...
ugh

So yes I agree, and I too op lay up at night realizing the better way, the mistakes, and how hard it is to get it right.

Tea drinking Momma::: Grady 8/06 and : Coralynn 8/09
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