Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reality

I read a few blogs that talked about being "real" in their blogs. These women don't always paint a rosy picture of their lives and give you the impression that they have angelic children and a spotless home all the time. I like that because it makes me realize that motherhood is a struggle for everyone -- not just me . . . which brings me to my next point.

I had a lousy week last week, and I noticed in the blogosphere that I wasn't alone. I won't go into details, but it mostly has to do with Sophie. I get so frustrated with her lately. Most of my frustration isn't directed towards her, though, but towards myself. I hate how fast I lose my patience with her when she acts up. Not just acting up, though, but acting up with a defiant little attitude. And doing the same things over and over (like smacking Ivy in the face with wooden objects). In the heat of the moment, I really want to smack her across the face, and it takes all the self-control I have to resist. I never thought I would ever feel that way, and a few minutes later when the moment has passed and she's back to her sweet and innocent self, I wonder how I could ever hurt her.

Thursday was a particularly trying day. My nerves were shot, and I had a little breakdown when Steve came home from school. I had a visiting teaching appointment that night, and I almost backed out because I really wasn't in the right frame of mind. I went anyway. I'm sure the spiritual thought I shared was anything but spiritual, but throughout the chats we had, I was the one who went away uplifted. I knew what I needed to do at home. I love how visiting teaching works like that sometimes -- everyone is uplifted, not just the one who's being visited.

Things have gotten better. I've re-prioritized what really needs to get done around the house so I can give her more attention, and I try to make Sophie's naptimes more productive. We decided that our nighttime routine of spending an hour plus in Sophie's room trying to get her to sleep every night was probably unnecessary right now, so we turned her bed around so she can't get out by herself anymore. She's basically back to a crib. Sophie put up a big fight, but luckily it was short-lived.

I think the root of Sophie's behavior is pretty simple: she's got competition now. Some of the best advice I got from a friend (thanks Missy) was to take care of the newborn's basic needs, but really focus on the older child. I try to give Sophie all the one-on-one time I can and involve her in Ivy's care, but Sophie wants all of me. I can't give her that anymore. I guess we'll just have to remember "this too shall pass", and wait for the day when they'll be able to play together. Sophie might still be hitting her in the face with wooden letters, but at least Ivy will be able to defend herself.

I'm sharing this with all of you because I think that, with all of us networked so tightly in the blogging world, we're in a perfect position to help and lift each other. I'm not into airing dirty laundry or sharing private things on the internet, but there's a lot we can learn from each other's day-to-day experiences. I already have by reading many of yours.

Thank you :)

12 comments:

Sara said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one! :)

Brynn said...

I hear ya all over the place. I am amazed at how short lived my patience is. I'm trying harder every day though. What can you do? :) Your girls are sure cute and it makes it all worth it at the end of the day.

Kathryn said...

I feel ya, girl. I have a short temper too. Even with just one child, there are many days when I feel like I need a time-out just to keep myself from losing it.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who struggles. I love hearing other bloggers talk about this stuff, too. You can always call me if you need a time-out :)

Kristin Baldwin said...

I can totally relate to losing patience. Sometimes I feel like my fuse is a million miles long and nothing Ryanna could do would make me lose it. But lately it is more often that my fuse burns super fast and I feel like I'm gonna lose it the next time a bowl of applesauce is dumped on a head, wall, or flung onto the carpet. I hope I can handle two as well as you have once my little guy is here. I have no advice but am happy to say we're in this together!

Sarah Junsay said...

Natalie!!!!! I feel your pain and frustration! The worst part about adding more children to your family is the guilt....I'm split in 3 and each child gets less attention. Missy is a genius of course....great advice! I lock myself in the bathroom for 10 minutes on a timeout when I'm really losing it. It protects us all!!!!!

Shea said...

Wow Natalie. Reading your post made me realize I am not the only one out there who wants to smack their child sometime. Though I will never understand the frustration of having children different ages, I understand having to re-prioritize things needing to be done in order to give one attention..sometimes both. I'm so sorry that you have been having a rough time lately, but know we are all out there having the same problems and are here whenever you want to talk or vent!

Jessica said...

Thanks for your post Natalie. I totally welcome that idea of trying to help each other out. I think a lot about that, having more than one and how that will divide my attention. I'm sure adjusting to two is a huge deal.

Team Chilton said...

Natalie, you're the best. I am so glad we went visiting teaching and you felt better after. I did too. I think that was one of the days where I was wound pretty tight in my lack of patience with Asher. I told you about how I made JD give me a blessing right? I think that was last week, but I can't remember which day. Maybe I should do more reality posts. I don't think it is a complaint or venting session, just like you said, it's reality. I liked Pres. Teuscher's comment at the enrichment activity that he needed a time out.

Millertime said...

Natalie,

thanks for your post. I love that we can all share about our experiences. Its so great to hear what other people have to say. Its nice when we can all collaborate about what works and what doesn't. I struggle alot with the girls trying to be there for the both of them. Especially when they are the same age, have the same needs, yet totally different personalities.

Cynthia said...

I am a couple years ahead of you with parenting (mine are 8 and 5). I can tell you that it will pass but that you're normal.

I was so proud of how patient I was with the twins when they were little. I remember even being cocky about it. *I* was much more patient than my Mom had been I would tell myself.

It all changes when they are old enough to 'know better'. It's easy to forgive the little indescressions of a toddler who 'doesn't know any better'. It's totally different when that child DOES know better and CHOOSES the bad behavior. Much harder to be patient then.

Hang in there. You are doing a great job with them.

Cassia said...

It is so good to know I'm not alone, either. :)

Beth Schellhous said...

Man, it stinks when they out number you huh! But you're not alone in your frustrations. I just left my two in their beds to cry/play/whatever so I could get 10 minutes to my self to de-tox my nerves. I agree with the take care of the baby but give the most attention to the bigger child, because Sophie will remember, but Ivy won't yet. Good luck. And, you're not alone!