Mommies Get Angry Too!

It was a rough weekend, make that a rough month, maybe even two months.

Let’s see, it all started with my baby boy’s four month check up, in which he had not gained enough weight. As a result, we were having to take him to the doctor every 2 weeks for weight checks. One week, after not nursing well for a few days, I took him into the doctor and he had not gained any weight. None, in 2 weeks! That is not normal for a baby, period. So of course I’m worried; the doctor is concerned, and I’m angry. I’m angry at myself for not noticing his lack of weight gain; I’m angry at my baby for not following the text book (I like control people!), I’m angry at my husband for not getting why I was so upset; I’m angry at my 3 year old for distracting me.  I’m angry because I’m having to watch the lab technicians prick my little boy’s fingers for blood while he screams and looks at me with alligator tears streaming down his face. I know he is saying, “Why are you letting them do this to me momma!??”

Fast forward a week, and after pumping, giving baby expressed milk from pumping, then following that with 2 to 4 ounces of formula, and then following with baby food, we finally gained 7 ounces in one week! Yay!  But I’m still angry. I’m angry at the time spent feeding our baby, perhaps even a little resentful. I value my time, and every minute spent feeding our child, is a minute I can’t fold the laundry, get dinner ready, just be with my children, watch television., write, etc.  I value my little boy’s health, but I am stressed.  I’m angry at myself because I’m too exhausted every night to do any said stuff once everybody is finally asleep! Oh, I am so tired. It has been a rough few months.

Fast forward another few weeks, a gastrointestinal bug plagues our family. First it hits the 3 year old, then my hubby, and just when I think I have made it through unscathed, then it hits me (and oh yeah, did I mention that turns out my baby did have a virus on top of not gaining weight).  So, I miss work, which makes me angry at losing that money because I will not get paid if I don’t work. And of course, I get thrown up on… More than once (every mother’s dream).

I think we are finally through that ordeal, when we start noticing little pimple like sores on my little girl’s bottom. Turns out she has a skin infection. In the mean time, my husband for the last month or two has been having off and on chills. He finally goes to the doctor and he is diagnosed with mono. Seriously?? So now I’m angry because I have to take care of everybody!  Why does he always catch everything? I’m angry that I as a nurse didn’t catch it sooner myself.

So in summary, over the course of two months, I have been thrown up on at least four, five times, have had to clean out pus from my daughters skin infection (sorry to those with weak stomachs), and then yesterday, my daughter pees all over me and all over the bathroom floor!! I lost it! I feel like I had been taking things in stride up until this point. That was it Enough was enough!

She peed on me because she was refusing to use the potty (she has been pee pee potty trained for several months now so this was not acceptable!), so I manually put her on the toilet, to which she responds by screaming and thrashing about, resulting in said urine being sprayed all over me and the floor. Let me remind  you that I have been cleaning up vomit for the last couple of days, from clothes to sheets to stuffed animals. I am tired! I am just drained, and I am tired of cleaning up gross stuff. Just because I am a nurse does not mean I enjoy it!

I then, of course, as only all good mothers do, began to yell at my 3 year old. I then tell her that she has to clean up the pee herself (which I don’t think is a bad lesson, just probably not approached in the right way). We ended with us staring at each other in a battle of wills. My little 3 year old mini me, staring just as stubbornly back at me as I was staring at her. I have more years of stubborn strong will then she does, so naturally I win.

Like I said, it has been a rough few months.

Why did I get so angry? I’m mom; I’m not supposed to loose my cool.  I should have at that moment apologized. I wish I could say I did later. But I didn’t.

Fortunately, my mini me is only 3 and didn’t hold it against me. She went to bed as usual and still gave me a little kiss and hug as I lied down with her in her bed. Sweet children. That we should give ourselves grace like our children give us grace. They know what forgiveness means, even if they can’t verbalize it.  You lose your cool; they don’t remember it the next day. They still want you to play with them. How often can we say we do the same? How often do we forgive ourselves? None of us are perfect parents.

I challenge you to forgive yourself as your children forgive you. Everyday is a new day. The next day our young children have all but forgotten that we lost our cool. They love you unconditionally. You are their whole little world. That’s true love. Let’s learn to love ourselves the same and start each day anew.

You can do this! This parenting stuff, you got this.  We can do hard things! Now, take a deep breath with me….. Breathe in…. Breathe out…..  Say it with me: “I can do this! I can do hard things! My past does not define me! Every day is a new day!”

When You Are the Bad Parent: Learning to Give Grace

Recently, a 2 year old boy was lost in the woods. His grandmother had taken him and his older sister for a walk. Reportedly the older child ran ahead and the grandmother ran after the child. She turned around and the little boy was gone. Of course over the next few days the temperature was in the teens. The little boy died from hypothermia. For the full story, click here

My heart just breaks everytime I hear this story. I cringe with the thought of how scared that little boy must have been. I just cannot imagine. I can’t imagine the grief and guilt that grandmother must have felt. I can’t imagine the panic and worry the parents must have felt. I guess it really hits close to home because I have a 3 year old. It hits even closer to home because I take my children hiking on a semi-regular basis.  I understand how this little boy could have just wondered away.  I understand how someone might accidentally leave their child in the car. I understand how someone might be scared they could  hurt their child out of anger or depression. I understand how a three year old might end up in a busy intersection by himself. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu1yKpt1muU).  I’m not justifying these things; I’m just asking that before you judge, you put your feet in the other person’s shoes.

Toddlers are known to be curious creatures. They see a butterfly and they chase it. They throw a rock over the edge; they run to see where it lands. They see a bug in the middle of the street and stop to study it. They have no concept of impending danger.  You have to be on your toes at all times! I could see my daughter getting curious and running off into the woods. Then in a blink of an eye, she’s lost.  Not knowing what to do, she probably cries and runs back to where she thinks I am.  Oh, the terror! My stomach lurches at the mere thought! How scared and cold and horribly confused that little boy must have been that his mommy couldn’t find him. The terror and the grief!

We all have our routines; any change messes with your head. I can see how you think, “I will just run into the store to get two things and then you get stuck behind the lady with 100 coupons, the slowest cashier, and slowest bagger known to eternity. The next thing you know, it has been 30 minutes or more. We have all heard of the horrifying facts of how fast a vehicle can become deathly hot. I have been in my car driving to work and made the turn to go to work instead of the daycare! I fortunately remembered before I arrived at work, but my point is that none of us are perfect, none of us are immune.

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Matthew 7: 1-5

One day, we found my daughter outside with our dog. We did not know she was outside. We did not realize she could open the door by herself! Fortunately we figured it out quickly. Can you honestly tell me you have never made a mistake?

Remember when you were so exhausted taking care of your newborn? You were in a fog, ALL DAY LONG! When the baby starts crying and he won’t stop, sometimes you don’t know what to do. You can read all the books and articles you want and still have no clue.  I have literally been so frustrated and tired that I had to lay my  baby down and let him cry, for fear of hurting him. That is a sombering thought, one that I do NOT readily admit. Then on top of the huge responsibility of taking care of this completely dependent, vulnerable baby, your hormones are going crazy! With my first baby, I literally sweated more than I thought humanly possible. I also remember breaking down from the sheer exhaustion and stress of it all. I was completely inconsolable!

I would guess that more then one of you have had similiar thoughts. (I hope.)

We don’t like to talk about these things.  No one likes to admit that they would be capable of any of these horrid acts.

We are such a judgmental society (I am no exception). We think these stories can only happen to other people, to those parents. We gasp with disgust and turn our noses upward in disdain.

Before we judge, we ought to take a look in the mirror.  Let’s step back for a moment and then reach forward with arms wide open, sharing our hearts and giving each other grace. I don’t share these personal stories lightly, or to showcase how imperfect of a parent I am. I share them so you know you are not alone. You are not the only woman who has these “bad” parent thoughts. These thoughts don’t define you, they do not make you a bad parent. They only serve as reminders, that we can not go it alone. We need each other, and we need our heavenly Father. I ask you to be open to these thoughts, so that others may know they are not alone. We are on the same team.

What are some ways you can let others know you are on their team?

Perhaps you can call a new mom and offer to watch her baby so she can rest? Perhaps you can deliver a meal or have groceries delivered? Perhaps, just sharing your stories can help others know they are not alone? Let’s show compassion to each other and learn from each other. We all have lessons to give and to receive.

“You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full-pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. the amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ” Luke 6: 36-38

 

If you have been pregnant in the last 12 months and are having feelings of depression or you feel out of control, then please call a doctor and a friend. Post partum depression is real. Read HERE for more symptoms of Post partum Depression and what to do about it.