How do I even begin to write what I'm feeling as a parent in this moment? Some words that come immediately to mind: failure. disappointment. angry. frustrated. tired. overwhelmed.
There's nothing happy about that list. And that also makes me feel like a failure, like a disappointment, frustrated and overwhelmed.
I'm just so tired of the constant struggle. It's getting harder instead of easier. The battles are more often and more intense. The help is less and less. I feel stranded on an angry island with only aggressive little boys for company; little boys who want to screech "MOMMY" at me, want to kick me, pinch me, bite my hand and pull out my hair. Little boys who look at me, reach over and hit the cat and then look back at me and smile.
What happened to my sweet baby? Where is the little boy that would make me laugh and was a joy to be around? Where did his mother go? All that's in their places are two angry & sullen people who are constantly fighting over who is in control.
Sadly, I think the 2 year old as won. The mom has lost. She has lost control and has no idea how to get it back. She yells too much. She grabs him up too roughly. She sits him down too harshly. She cries entirely too often.
Who is this woman? Who is this person I've become? This is not the kind of mom I thought I'd be. I wanted to be a fun mom. A mom who always had cookies in the cookie jar, was always willing to get down on the floor and play. A mom who delighted in her child.
I feel like every day I cannot wait until nap time. Then nap time is over and I cannot wait until bedtime. I've begun to resent my child and his constant demand for everything he's not allowed to have, touch or do. I dread taking him any place fun because I know a violent tantrum waits at the end of it.
I keep telling my husband I need help. I don't know how to handle this. I need him to be there for me, and not have his face stuck in front of his computer every night, working until well after I've gone to bed. I need him to think about taking his dirty dishes to the sink, instead of leaving them at the dinner table. I need him to think to say "it sounds like you've had a rough day. why don't you go to (insert appropriate activity here) and I'll take care of Ben for a few hours".
I love my son. Please don't get me wrong. He's adorable. He's so sweet when he's in a great mood. He has the best sense of humor and makes me laugh. I love his hugs, his cuddles and smelling the top of his head. I love when he calls for me when he's hurt or scared. I love listening to him laugh and play.
I feel like maybe I could deal with all the nastiness a little better if I got MORE of the sweet, happy Ben I used to have. It feels like those moments are less and less. I feel like it's a constant struggle to maintain peace and sanity.
At the beginning of the month, I hung this little calendar up in his room. My intention was the very next day that we had a whole day with no hitting, I'd make a huge deal and put a sticker on that day on the calendar. Today is the 14th. I stopped writing frowny faces after the 6th. We have not had one day this month that didn't involve hitting, pinching, biting or pulling hair. That is two full weeks of tantrums and violence every single day. Some times more than once a day.
The most frustrating thing is that I know 90% of these problems are my fault. If I had more patience. if I had more tolerance. If I was more easily able to control my own temper and not yell or grab him too tightly. It shames me. I don't want to behave this way. I don't want to lash out at my kid in anger (or ever).
By the same token, I feel like I'm trying so freaking hard. I try so hard to be calm, to say the right thing, to set the right example. I try so hard to reward and praise every single time I see him acting appropriately. I give high fives. I tell him good job. Nothing seems to work. I can't seem to deter him from the undesirable behavior.
People tell me "oh you're such a good mother" and I want to laugh and cry at the same time. I feel like I have every one fooled. I feel like a terrible mother. The way Ben & I behaved today, I would have hated to have some one like me as a mother.
I think of what my life is going to be like in a few months with an aggressive toddler and a newborn. I can't even get excited by this little baby. I'm so overwhelmed and filled with a sense of dread and feeling of "why did I do this? why am I putting myself through this?" that I simply cannot find any way to be excited or looking forward to another child. I'm filled with dread and regret and that's not an awesome environment to bring a baby into.
I feel like I'm the only one that feels this way. I really do. I feel like I've reached my breaking point and am struggling not to fall apart completely. I feel like I've given up.