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VENT/support needed: IS it WORTH it????????????

863 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Bearsmama
HELP! I am in desperate need of some support and encouragement right now.

DS (21 mo) has always been sleep-challenged. We nurse, co-sleep, and have been AP parents from the start. There have been many tough times, many times when I didn't think I could do some of these things b/c my DS is so challenging. And then, amazing, whatever issue was happening would stop or go away or he'd outgrow it. And I'd then have the strength to feel confident about all my choices again.

I should say that we think that DS is probably starting on 2nd year molars b/c he is acting like he does when teething. That said, and knowing that this is probably just a phase like everything else, I AM LOSING IT!!!!

This was our night: to bed at 8pm, wake at 9:30 (nursed and went back), wake at 12:15 (nurse and up for about 1/2 hour), wake at around 3 (up for about 1 1/2 hours), wake at 5:45-UP. I know that there are many of you that have frequent wakers-so this may not seem so bad. But when all else in the day is sooooo hard, and he is soooo spirited, it is hard to slip back into old patterns.

DH got really frustrated with DS last night and I know it's bad when that happens. DH is the most patient guy in the world. DS wakes now and asks for certain toys, water, etc. And will cry if these things are not gotten. He also will sometimes THROW the item that we JUST gave him. We try very hard to maintain that it's nighttime and that we need to all be sleeping.

So, when he wakes at 5:45 today, and proceeded to bash his head into mine and literally try to roll on my face and talking at the top of his lungs, I yelled. I sat up and yelled, "STOP IT! You are hurting mommy! If you keep doing this, I am going to sleep on the couch!"

I know this is a threat to take ME away, the thing he desires most, and it's a bad, bad mommy thing, but I can't take it anymore. I literally came downstairs to a dark house and could not even close my eyes as I lay in the dark. I then picked up the computer to write this message.

So, I've been outta bed for about 1/2 hour or so. And I heard DS asking DH to "get mommy" for him, but I am not ready to go back there. I know this is horrible, but the intensity of our relationship, and these trying times with whatever DS is going thru is really killing me.

So, right now, is I want to ask: IS THIS WORTH IT? Is it worth it to have DS see all aspects of mommy-unfortunately the spent, exhausted, mean mommy right now, in the hopes that he'll somehow be better off in the future? If he was in a crib, or didn't b'feed, he wouldn't know how to push my buttons so well, wouldn't know the limits (or not know) the limits of my body and patience, etc. Is it worth it to be AP and all this if your kid has to see what such intensity and closeness sometimes brings out in mommy?????

Please keep in mind that I am having a rough time here. I knew from the start that I couldn't parent any other way, but really, is it all worth it????????????????
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Oh, gosh, yes, its' worth it.

Especially with spirited kids.

Artificial feeding and CIO and other such behaviors would have made him even worse. My sister did that with her spirited son and he is 18 and still so needy, and yet rude to my sister!

I have 2 spirited kids and I used to fear for them; their emotions, their physical activity levels were so high. As hard as it was for me, i imagined and still do, being in my dd's body is worse for her than for those around her. She takes everything so to heart.

Yes, I hit the wall with her many times. She was so over the top, I would end up screaming sometimes, esp when she was horrifically teething and I was sleep deprived. She would cry/scream at the top of her lungs 7 times a day. I am a fairly quiet laid back person and it was a whole new world for me.

To keep my sanity, I went to LLL and shared war stories with other moms of spirited kids. even the area LLL conf had panels on GD for spirited kids.

Of course, I read Raising your Spirited Child, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, Kids Are Worth It, and anything else I could get my hands on. When she was about 2 I could leave her and her older sister with an afternoon/early evening babysitter. My dh and I would go out for our short date, and spend the first 45 mins just venting about her!

My ds was spirited too, but physically. If you have both in one kid, that has got to be the worst!!!

Maybe the homeopathic chamomilla would work on your ds? Sounds like he has the sypmtoms, wanting something then throwing it away, for ex.

BTDT, and you have my sympathies!! (dd is a teen now and hoo boy the angst! But she is calmer than my nephew, and more balanced. And more loving/healthier connected. and more respectful of me and others. She doens't curse or do drugs. She has joy. )
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I can't say for sure whether it is worth it--my ds is only 5 months old. I can however offer a hug and say that it sounds like you are going through a rough rough time. You sound like an amazing parent and I strongly suspect that in the end it is worth it. How could such love, attention and availability not have strong results? Hang in there.
DaryLLL-thank you, thank you, thank you. I think you have responded to my posts before re:my spirited boy. It's sooooo hard. I don't have any IRL friends who have a child like him. And, unfortunately, I only have 1-2 friends who chose to b'feeed and co-sleep, etc. I can't imagine what he would be like had we just ignored his needs all these 21 months. I was able to get out of the house this morning for a few hours to do errands and such. This always gives me some perspective. Although it's usually when the emotions really hit me. I was almost crying in line at the Acme thinking about him!

It's so nice to hear from someone who has older children and has seen some of the benefits of their parenting choices. Grant it, I don't lose it every day (although this week was close), but I just wondered about the trade-off. Like, maybe the kids of other parents get the pleasure of seeing a well-reseted, happier mommy and daddy. Ones that aren't so short-tempered some days. But I guess all of this somehow, in a roundabout way tells your child that you love him/her or they wouldn't be making you so nuts!!!

I will try the chammollia and try to get back to my LLL meetings which I've missed in the past months. You would think with a spirited kid we would know that this is typical and has happened before and we WILL get through it. But it's so hard to have perspective. It's such a bad cycle: hard nights/days with spirited kid, frustration, then feeling like a bad mommy. Is there any herb I can take to boost my self esteem? LOL. Thank you for the encouragement. I'd also love to hear what else has worked for you with your spirited child/children.

Rebekah-your note of encouragement brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes we all just need to know that we are doing okay. I need that now more than ever.
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Bearsmama -- It is totally worth it. It is some much easier to discipline an older child when you are attached to him. My 7 year old is strong willed and has his own mind -- and required hours of intsense nightime parenting when he was a tot. But he and I know each other inside-out-and-backwards. We can read each other's thoughts with a look. It makes it massively easier to get through to him when we face the every-day struggles that parents and kids inevitably face. He trusts my opinions and he trusts my motives when I ask him to do something or not to do something. Does that makes sense? The way I nurtured him when he was less than 3 became the foundation upon which I am able guide him as an older child. And the same is proving true of my younger son as well.

I also just wanted to mention that your reaction to being head-butted was NOT a bad way to react. It was a very human way to react! You didn't berate him, you didn't attack or insult him. You carried through with a very natural consequence and now he knows something new -- when you head butt people they don't want to be near you for a little while! Don't be hard on yourself. You did what you needed to do in the moment to take care of yourself and get some perspective, and in the long run it will make you a better mamma.
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mamaduck-thanks so much for your thoughtful reply to my thread. I do agree that what we do now will be the basis of our relationship with our children later. But like I keep saying, it is soooo hard, especially with a super spirited kid.

It's hard to have any perspective when it's your first AND you feel like you're doing things differently than the people close to you. Plus, MOST people don't want to hear about the everyday challenges of parenting this way, especially if they just fundamentally DON'T get it. So, I think that that's part of the reason I am always questioning myself with my reactions to DS's behavior. It also just goes against my pre-baby thoughts of being this all-loving, all-patient Mother Theresa type (hee-hee, FAR from it!).
Sometimes I just need to know that there's a "payoff" at some point. And that my reactions are normal.
I really am soooo tremendously thankful for this board. It has helped so much. And responses like yours and the others I have received make me feel OKAY.
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Originally posted by Bearsmama
. Like, maybe the kids of other parents get the pleasure of seeing a well-reseted, happier mommy and daddy. Ones that aren't so short-tempered some days. But I guess all of this somehow, in a roundabout way tells your child that you love him/her or they wouldn't be making you so nuts!!!

I do not know why you would think if you quit bfing and started CIO that you would be a well-rested happier mom. It's a fantasy. First of all, if you quit bfing, you would have a sicker child. And a sick spirited child will really let you share in his misery. (my sister did not bf for more than 6 weeks, used antibiotics regularly and dn had croup for 7 yrs, keeping her up at night in a steamy bathroom.)

If you try CIO with a spirited child, let me tell you, they can cry for hours, leading to vomiting and sore throats and laryngitis. A persistant physically adept spirited child will also be able to climb out of any crib arrangement you may devise to cage him, possibly injuring himself in the process.

If you somehow managed to contain him successfully, you run the risk of breaking bonds of trust, and breaking his will, which can lead to him becoming depressed. Depression is not a good thing, and does not lead to a happier child, or a happier more well rested mom.

If you say, I will not co-sleep, but then give in grudgingly anyway on nights when you just can't stand it, you will be inconsistent and non-trustworthy, which will make him not able to trust you, which will lead to testing behavior, which can endanger his life.

It's such a bad cycle: hard nights/days with spirited kid, frustration, then feeling like a bad mommy.
I ust made this point on another thread, mistakes and exhaustion leading to a short temper and being pushed to your limit and beyond does not make you across the board a bad mommy or a terrible person. You are a good mommy in a very difficult situation. In good moments, shower him with all your love and the bond will remain. Make opportunities for pleasant moments, physical games, baths together, rocking when he is calm, etc. Whenever life gets too crazy, your spirited child is your barometer. he will let you know, slow down, reconnect, remember your priorities.

Is there any herb I can take to boost my self esteem? LOL.
Well, some people love the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, which can safely calm frazzled nerves!

Thank you for the encouragement. I'd also love to hear what else has worked for you with your spirited child/children.
A consistent routine. Daytime, and at nap and bedtimes. Always prepare well them for transitions between activities. Spirited kids have a hard time with transitions. Lots of physical activity. Go out every day, parks, stores, hands-on museums, apple picking and other seasonal activities, friend's houses. Altho I hate McD's and Burger King, I logged hundreds of hours in them for the ball pit and playlands in the winter. Germs be damned, the risk of being cooped up indoors with the kids practically killing each other was far worse!!! :LOL We would often bring our own food.

When home, I devised activities for indoors like a big bin full of dry rice for playing in with toys. Put it on the floor over an old tablecloth. Use playdough, water colors, rip paper for collages. Start a co-op playgroup with a couple LLL friends for the kids to entertain each other. Take baths together. Sometimes we would end up with 3 baths a day. Etc, etc. (The Spirited Child Workbook has tons more ideas to keep your smart little guy happily stimulated.)
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DaryLLL-thank you, thank you, thank you.

I just said to DH that I've felt more camaraderie/support/encouragement here than with most IRL friends. Your words about feeling like a bad mommy are those things I KNOW in my head on the good days, but on the bad days these thoughts creep in.

Also, your suggestions are great. We try to get out a lot. I try to think of new activities we can do each week. We have a few friends locally who I can get together with on short notice for park/museum dates. I like the rice idea.

He is an amazing, beautiful, smart little boy. I am learning so much about him and myself every day-however how challenging. DaryLLL-if you think of anything else that has helped you with you spirited child/ren, let me know. And once again, thank you for all the encouragement and support. It makes a HUGE difference.
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