Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Perfect Mom


Have you ever wondered how someone else would fair with your kids? I wonder that a lot when they are hitting each other in the head with Tootsie Pops or throwing full water bottles down the stairs. What would another mother do in this situation?

Would somebody else raise them much better than I do?

Sometimes I just reach the end of my mothering knowledge/patience/experience and don't think I can take another day full of smooshed bananas hidden throughout the house or piles of Dorito vomit on my shoulder or tantrums about wanting a Sponge Bob (not a Hello Kitty) bandaid, or 3 children crying during the entire 45 minutes grocery shopping trip (all true events from today).

What would somebody else do with this? Or would they lose it like I did and swear and kick the wall?

I just feel like I haven't found a balance lately. Too much cleaning up the same messes. Not enough pondering spiritual things. Too much yelling. Not enough cuddling. Too much anger. Not enough patience. Too much feeling sorry for myself. Not enough gratitude.

If my kids had another mother, what would she do differently? 'Cause I really need to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

20 comments:

K said...

Megan - listen to me. You are not the only mother who has sworn and kicked the wall. You didn't kick the children - there are plenty who do. And you didn't swallow the desperation and internalize it and poison yourself the way many do. But all of this is beside the point.

This is the absolute most difficult part of your life. When my kids (none of them twins, as you may recall) were little like this, I thought I was in hell. And I loved them. I loved them to the last gasp of my soul. And I felt so guilty and overwhelmed and alone and desperate. And my husband was not the support that yours is.

This is, as I say, the hardst part. Also the most important. Because here you lay the foundation of the rest of their lives - what they expect, what they learn is acceptable, when they learn social and emotional boundaries. And they won't know those until they've breached them. And they'll know they've breached them when mom kicks the damn wall.

They are learning constantly. And you pay the cost. You are now, as your mother and I and so many others have always been, a prisoner of love.

If you do well now - and that doesn't mean reacting on a day like today or yesterday or the day before - it means, if you stay faithful in the midst of frustration and fatigue, if you are determined to stay with them and love them and bear it all - then things will get so much better. SO much better.

It does nothing but get better - if you do the job now, and the job for every stage of the growing up.

Think of the relationship you have with your mom. Think of the relationship you had with her when you were in high school. Think of the family, sitting around the table, playing cards. That will happen for you. But not unless you are faithful now and endure to the end of this bit.

You are NORMAL. And you are doing WELL. And NO OTHER MOTHER ON EARTH could do as well for those kids of yours than you can do. I promise you that. YOu know them - all the tiny parts of them. And you adore them. What they do means something to you. You buy them with your tears and your blood and your time and your sleep. There isn't a woman on earth who could do better.

And I love you. And I believe in you. And I listen to you write, and I know your face. You will make it through these hard days, and make it up in laughing on the good ones.

It won't be long, little one. Already, the boys can be dogs. Soon they will be people, and you will have so much fun with them - I promise.

Sharlyn said...

Ditto to Kristen, and love you too! ((((((((hugs)))))))

MommyJ said...

Megan, I've been exactly where you are right now! My oldest was two and a half when my twins were born. It was SO hard! But I survived, and my kids survived. And now, it's easier. (the twins are 6)Everyone is older, more self sufficient, more self aware. Looking back, many of the really hard moments are blurred, fuzzy from lack of sleep and leftover tears. I'm not sure how we made it through. I'm sure I cursed, and kicked things, and event threw a few things.

I'll never forget hearing my three year old tell me he couldn't find his damn shoes. Gah! He'd only heard it come out of my mouth once! The thing is, your kids are better off than so many simply because they have a mother who cares, a mother who worries if she is enough for them. Your kids will feel that... they will feel how much you care, and how hard you are trying.

Just know you aren't alone, and you can do this.

Andrea said...

Let's be real here for a minute. I love my kids, but sometimes I want to run screaming. Especially with my oldest. She's in a category all her own. And just so you know--I wish I'd kicked the wall and swore yesterday instead of trying to spank my son, who rolled over and I hit his hip bone instead of his bum and burst a blood vessel in my wrist and my hand is black and blue and very sore. So . . . point of story. We've all been there. Or, use a wooden spoon. Whichever moral you want to get out of that story. (PS I'm totally opposed to spanking, but I lost it when I went in his room and found the broken light cover, glass everywhere, and holes in the wall from his spear. Grr.) Hang tough.

Cheeseboy said...

Maybe they are puking Doritos because they are eating the smooshed bananas hidden throughout the house.

I am sure you are doing a danged fine job. That's what makes you their mom. No other mom would know what makes them tick as well as you do.

EmmaP said...

ok. First of all, I wish more mothers would admit to things like this. because then we'd all realize that it is NORMAL!!!

I am sitting here crying because lately I have felt like the worst mother ever. I don't have any advice per se... but I will share what some of my rambling thoughts have been lately.

confession: When I was going through my divorce and couldn't sleep hardly at all, I used to watch 7th Heaven reruns on the WB. I loved that family... and the mom - Annie Camden could do no wrong. Since then there have been times I thought, "I wonder what Mrs. Camden would do?" And then I'd go and do that thing! hahaha! How lame am I????

It occurs to me that Heavenly Father understands how human we are, and how frustrated we get and overwhelmed we feel, and that we err too. When I was looking for answers I went back and read all of the conference talks on parenting, even back 3 or 4 conferences. Not any real epiphanies... but just to remind myself of my responsibilities and stewardship. I was impressed because I remember once that my mom was sooooo upset with my brother, I thought she was gonna go all nuts on him. Instead she said in a very stern voice, trying really hard not to yell, "I am so angry right now that I do not know how to handle this situation. So, you are going to go to your room right now and you'd better start praying for forgiveness, and I am going to go to my room right now and ask Heavenly Father what HE should have me do. And whatever answer He gives me -- well, that is what I will do." Of course, my brother was scared to death because now his "punishment" was in God's hands. Of course, your kids might be too little for that, but the point is that sometimes - even when I am frustrated, I need to remember that Heavenly Father doesn't give me more than I can handle. He may test me right up to my limits, but not more. Also, I am not alone. He is here to help me too.

Now that it is nice weather outside, the windows are opened a lot more. These past few days I have been home from work, and guess what I get to hear all.stinking.day? The neighbors yelling at each other. the kids fighting all the time, and then the mom screaming at all of them. I thought about that and wondered, have I ever sounded that abraisive or harsh to my kids? It helps when I see other people lose it to remind myself to try harder not to look like or sound like that. I also try to tell myself what if someone were visiting my house right then? Would I react differently? Well, then why don't I just act differently right then at that moment? It helps.

Truthfully, I believe that any normal mother will experience "mom-rage" at some point in her life. Mostly, it is because we're overworked and underpaid as moms :) and handling one.more.thing. puts us over the edge. It is normal to feel like this; it's how we act that makes the difference. You can kick a wall, or you can snap and injure the children. You are already a good mom because you still kept your kids safe and alive. :)

sometimes I tell my kids I need a "mom time out". and I go and take one.

There is no perfect answer; only perfect love and perfect faith and perfect hope. I'd say get if you're lacking any of those, get those...

I repeat in my mind many of the three phrases, "Serenity Now! Serenity Now!", "This too shall pass". and Proverbs 3:5-6.

Hang in there kiddo -- and if all else fails, I'll save you a seat right next to me down at the eternal firepit... bring extra marshmallows =D

LL said...

I assure you, we all have those moments. When mine were young, I was convinced that they would benefit from daycare becaue at least there, they'd get the attention they want.
Thing is, we do what we can...and guess what. It's enough!!
I PROMISE you it gets easier. OH SO MUCH EASIER. I love a cute little baby, but MAN do I love having older kids that I can go to lunch with and laugh with and enjoy the same things together. I'm sure you're probably thinking they'll never be old enough, they will. It goes FAST. And all your efforts now will pay off, and you'll have the best of friends to hang out with...right in your own home. You have so much good to look forward to!!!!!
oh and btw...you DO have quite a lot on your plate. go easy on yourself.

jaydubdub said...

You know, I wonder that same thing ALL THE TIME. I am super-ultra sensitive to this whole BEING A MOM thing. I worry so much about everything, and when the smooshed banana days happen, and I feel totally out of balance, I wonder what I'm doing with these 3. The thing that keeps me going is that God chose ME. He didn't give these particular kids to the lady down the street or to my sister. He gave them to ME, and I trust Him. And some days I do better at this job than other days. And that's because I'm a HUMAN BEING.

In answer to your last question... I actually have just been through a pretty rough month of thinking these kind of things and wondering what I'M doing wrong, and one day I finally came to an enlightenment: It just may be that I'm not doing anything wrong! I have a hard task. It wouldn't be any easier for another person than it is for me. I may just be the best there is, even though I don't see it!!

I know that's true for you. You have been given a hard task. But it's YOUR task. You were chosen for it, so it means you're the best there is. You're not doing anything wrong! You're just doing the job, and it's hard. And sometimes the only thing you can do is swear and kick the wall. That's okay. You're still the best there is.

Amanda D said...

I think that EVERY mother has those days when she swears and kicks the wall. Hang in there - you're doing great!

Cherringtons said...

I just had a similar day just like this on Tuesday. Not the exact same but close. You are such a wonderful mom to those cute little kids. I think that we are allowed to have some swearing and kicking moments of our own. Just keep doing what you are doing and look back at these moments and laugh about it and think i am not the only one that goes through this. You are awesome! Keep up the good work!!

Tigersue said...

What would I do. Pull my hair out the same as you.

I will say this though. I never take my kids to the store screaming, ever. If they scream we are out of there. I figured there is nothing I can't do later. It may not sound reasonable, but I figure my children needed to learn that screaming, fighting, whatever when we are out is not appropriate, and if that has to come down to the expense of going back later, either when Michael came home, or the kids have settled down.

Call me funny but I don't buy the cute bandaids, I find they caused more of a fuss than if I just had regular ones around.

I would probably skip the banana's and the doritos too. I know that really isn't the problem.

What it is, you are a mom, with 3 very young children, and only one of you. Some days life just gets to us all, hormones, dirty messy houses and not enough mental energy to do what needs to be done, because you don't have enough in you to catch a breath.

I would like to say it gets better, but since I never have had the mixed blessing of twins I can never say that.

Spiritual things are kind of lost in my life right now too. I'm not reading the scriptures enough, I'm not praying enough or at least not enough prayers for the right things.

Gratitude can come in bits. I think you will figure that one out well enough.

You know what, I think I kick and scream more than I want, but I'm slowly learning that I don't need to. Hang in there.

Emily Rasmussen said...

ha! reading your blog is like looking at my life. We had a kid started fire in our kitchen and it has been over a week and our house still smells like a camp ground, and the messes! I cleaned my house yesterday as a friend was stopping by and I was too embarrassed for her to see how awful my house looked and then by the time I put he kids to bed it looked like we lived like animals! Finding a balance is SOOOOO hard. I sort of pick days...one day we just play all day, the next day we half clean and half play, then we work our kids like little slaves and get the house spotless, and then the next day I make us so busy all day getting out of the house,.... And then I pray a lot. If you ever find a better way let me know!!!

Vhari said...

Megs,

I would be so much worse. I think they'd have to commit me, because I would go crazy. I know I'm close with only two. You are doing better than ANYONE would. I truly believe that. Soon Maggie will be in preschool and the twins will be soon to follow. That's what I'm looking forward to. I try not to care anymore about the mess or the embarrassment. Oh and I don't take the children to the store very much anymore. Other tip. It's summer. Hire some poor girl in your ward to spell you off for a couple of hours every week. They are cheap labor.

C C & R said...

Holy cow! You totally read my mind and though I only have one I can honestly say that lately I have been feeling the same way! So I have no advice or words of wisdom but I'll be checking back to see what others tell you and use the ideas myself!

Ginna said...

Oh, I've been there. And just with one kid. Given, he's super stubborn and very strong willed. But he's just one. So I imagine you've been there way more than me.
My mom prettymuch said everything there was to say--and everybody else filled in the rest. But I'll add my amen to this and say that you are doing a marvelous job. No, nobody could do it better.
BUT I think sometimes it could be helpful to imagine the perfect mom--maybe even yourself as "perfect mom" and try to figure out what she would do. Then do that. That kind of thinking helps me sometimes.
And Vhari's totally right. Get a young girl in the ward to come in every other day for a couple of hours and play with them. Everybody would love it. the kids would and YOU would. You don't have to leave, but just do whatever you want in your own house while your kiddos are entertained. Sounds heavenly.

Katie Gee said...

I'm sure you're doing a great job. I have those moments too.
And if you kick the wall, kick it where there is a stud. It might do less damage to the drywall. Yep, I'm talking from experience. You're wonderful!

Beth said...

Don't ever let anyone diminish the validity of your frustration and exhaustion and the sheer ridiculousness of the things you have to put up with by them saying things like "You'll look back on these days and wish you still had them." or other badomet.
No one but you knows how damn hard it is when your in the trenches of caring for your little kids.
All I know from my experience is that the purpose of it is to make you a better person; make you into who God wants you to become. And the only way to get through it is to experience it and rely on Heavenly Father however you can/do and take deep, deep breaths and cope with your mechanism of choice (hopefully a healthy/fulilling one).
I love you, Meg. And while I don't pretend to know how it is to raise all your dang 3 kids, I do think you're handling the process exceptionally well.
I was just thinking last night that I think you exercise/d a billion times more patience from the outset for each of your kids than I did, but I'm trying to catch up.
I'm baby-steppin', I'm doing the work.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Nah.
I'm pretty sure we ALL think this way, but the reality is, we were given what we were because we can do it better than most.
We hang in there and have good days and bad weeks. It's just the way it is.
Especially when there are so many so little, it can be really rough some days.
And yet, you survived to blog about it!
That's why I blog! :D

the fellers said...

Oh my gosh Megan, I LOVE this post...you described me perfectly....and I LOVE that you swore adn kicked the wall....and now...I honestly dont know ypu ALL that well, but from what I can see, you area truly myhero, you are such a great mom, and I love everything you do...I love in one of your newer posts about maggie saying her boat was like Nephi's, I need to be better at teaching my kids about that...you are really such a great example to me! i am glad to hear you had a better day...we are all entitled to bad days!

Andrea said...

I am so very happy and releived to know I am not the only mother with twins and a 4 yr old that feels this way! Thanks for the post! Its a tough job and I feel your pain :>

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