21 days down, 344 to go!
Dear G.I. Joe (Jane),
Aren’t you the one who says “knowing is half the battle?” Well if I feel like half the time I don’t know anything about being a mom does that mean I have half a battle ahead of me for the next 25 plus years or just one hell of a big one? Do I even stand a chance of survival? If not, please come rescue me or at least send me more reinforcements in the form of friends, caffeine, babysitters and hot fudge ice cream sundaes.
The Orange Rhino
Yes, please come rescue me.
Rescue me from the Great Stomach Bug Infestation of 2012 that has my 7 month old, 7 month old!, vomiting every day for 7 days straight. All he wants to do is eat, and every time I feed him, he vomits. The poor thing isn’t old enough to eat Saltines, drink ginger ale, or take any medicine so I basically have nothing I can do to soothe him except hold him and even that isn’t working. So he just screams most of the day and at night, and well last night, I think he screamed on and off from 1:30 am until 5:00… I lost track of the time. I wish I KNEW what to do to help him.
And please rescue you me from 3+ weeks of my 2 ½ year olds sleeping habits progressively getting worse to the point of a 30 minute nap (instead of 2 hours) and being up 3-4 times a night inconsolable. My sweet #3 used to sleep like a champ: he put himself to sleep and put in some good solid hours for me. Now? It’s an absolute train wreck and it is pushing me to the edge. I don’t know how to help him overcome this whatever the he*l it is. Snuggling him is making matters worse, crying it out isn’t working, etc, etc….I am at my wits end with this one – both the problem and my son – because all I want is one night of uninterrupted sleep! I just wish I KNEW what to do to help him.
So I guess what I am saying G.I.Joe is…
Rescue me from the horrific feeling of helplessness that comes with being a mom.
Because right now, more than anything, I feel helpless. Truly and utterly helpless.
And all I want to do is scream. Scream scream scream until somehow I KNOW how I can help my kids feel better, how I can stop the madness so that I don’t lose it and yell at them unnecessarily. I hate not knowing what to do. I hate feeling so powerless in my ability to help someone I love so much. It makes me feel frustrated, so clueless,
so insecure in myself as a mom.
And this feeling of helplessness, of not knowing, isn’t unique to this week, to this situation. Every week (or is it day?!) I feel like there is a new parenting challenge, a new question that I don’t have the answer to. This week it happens to be the stomach bug, next week it will be something different.
Does he or doesn’t he have a Peanut Allergy? Do we get a second opinion? How do we move forward?
Does he or doesn’t he need to have his eyes checked? Or does he just not want to learn the alphabet? Should I be doing something different?
Does he or doesn’t he need to have Occupational Therapy? Is it a problem? Or just a personality quirk?
I just DON’T KNOW.
Sure there are books, and doctors, and friends and family members to ask for advice but at the end of the day it is up to ME. I am the one living in the situation, experiencing it firsthand. I have the most knowledge even if it doesn’t feel like a lot sometimes. I am the one who needs to ultimately figure out what is best for my child and our family.
And all this not knowing and “learning on the job,” well quite frankly, it stresses me out. My head is constantly bombarded with questions about what should I be doing as a parent? Am I parenting right? Am I parenting well enough? How do I handle this situation? The attack on my brain, on my self-confidence in my ability to parent, can leave me feeling so stressed and so helpless (and sometimes hopeless) that I just want to scream half the time.
And as a matter of fact, last night round about 3:48 am, when the baby was crying (again), #1 was crying from a nightmare and #3 was crying because that is what he does now, I did scream. I went into the guest room and screamed “What the F…” louder than intended. Because the pressure of all three kids needing me at once – and not knowing who to tend to first – was enough to make me explode.
Last night’s rant, even if in private, was too close for comfort. TOOOO close. It is so easy to slip into the rageful screaming mode when the pressure is on. When the kids are crying and you’ve tried everything and can’t stop them. When you are exhausted and know you can’t sleep because you are needed. When the kids are cantankerous and you’re on your own. Last night, it took all the will power I could find to scream at the guest bed instead of at my kids. And it is a good thing I did…
Because my kids didn’t need to be yelled AT, they just needed ME.
And me, I just needed to yell OUT, to release.
I needed to rescue me, from myself. I needed to stop my rant from starting so that I could pull it together and give my kids what they needed at that moment: to be held, to be rocked, to be snuggled, to be loved.
I might not know everything about being a mom, and it might feel like a huge uphill battle trying to figure it all out “on the job.” But at least there is one very important thing I do know now: that half the time, it’s my stress, my feeling helpless, and not my kids behavior, that makes me want to yell at them and “knowing (that) is half the battle” to winning this challenge.