Friday, April 28, 2006

Half Assed Mama

The last few months have been very, very stressful at work. I find the spring semester is always harder because not only are you in the midst of a brand new academic semester, you're also having to deal with the end of the academic year. It basically means that you're having to deal with two business cycles at the same time.

It has been particularly rough this year for a variety of reasons, and the upside of it is that I don't have a lot "extra" to give when I come home. I feel like I'm having to preserve my emotions so that I can sustain my own self worth, and when Conor gets all clingy and fussy I don't really have much left over to give him. This of course makes Conor more clingy and fussy and makes me more likely to back away instead of stepping up and meeting Conor's needs.

Sometimes, if I can take a deep breath, then ok, I don't mind if he has to sit in my lap and eat breakfast or dinner. But sometimes, when I'm cooking after being at work all day and he will not stop clinging to my legs and crying "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!", it makes me absolutely crazy.

The upshot of this is that it's gotten really, really hard for me to be as good a mother to Conor as I want to be. Fortunately, Dave has stepped up and taken over some of the things I used to do. When there's cooking and crying, Dave will take Conor out and play with Patches or pick up sticks. But it's not really a habit I want to get into.

And maybe the mommy! mommy! mommy! cling-on is annoying to anyone, but I always thought I'd be the one to be able to defuse the situation, calm him down, distract him and get back to making dinner. Instead, I want just 5 minutes....just 5 minutes by myself so I don't feel like a complete and utter loser.


gabriella said...

you are not a loser. the situation is reality testing at its best. congratulations. we all need to forgive ourselves for our high falutin' pre-parenting self delusional fantasies. (ah, that was good...)

it's unrealistic to believe that a 2 year old is going to have permanent emotional disability because his mom is cooking dinner at the end of an exhausting day. if we were all that fragile, then where would we be? learning to deal with frustration is not an evil thing.

even little kids can learn that their parents are permitted to have their own time. we are not their entertainment machines. they can find things to occupy themselves if given the chance.

it's a healthy thing when we know that we can rely on ourselves. so why is it unhealthy when we'd like our kids to learn this?

Piratewench said...

I hear you loud and clear, sister!!! I have vowed on several occasions to change my name to DADDY!!!!

karen said...

We call that period of time at the end of the afternoon and the beginning of the evening "the arsenic hour."

At our house "the arsenic hour" is really about 2 hours long. From about 4:30-6:30. It begins shortly after the guys and I all arrive home. It ends when we sit down at the table. Usually there is lots of me trying to relax before starting supper, and then starting it, and the guys wanting to know what is for supper and can they have this, can they have that.

There's a lot of whining going on then. I think I'm going to write about this today.

Jenifer said...

Hey all time since i found your blog i lost it when my computer crashed and that was when you first found you were pregant again ....Keep you head up girl you can do it i know my words dont help....but just remeber how lucky you are ok iam stoping now iam staring to sound like my mother lol..
Love Jenifer

Jennifer said...

(Different Jennifer here)

Yeah. I am a patient, diplomatic, understanding, agreeable, totally laid-back person. You've met me, you probably agree.

But. Kids. My God. Patient? I think of myself as patient? Hell, a lot of times I'm not even rational. I'd kill to get back to patient. (Well, maybe not actually kill. But then, you never know...)

It's always a relief when I have a significant period of time with just adults, because I can reconfirm that I do have that easygoing, adaptable, patient person still inside me somewhere.

I recently experienced an entire week with no yelling. Or frustration. Or even arguing. Or even wanting to yell or argue. And I was in charge of a group of six people in a foreign country!

Not sure if it makes you feel better or worse, but it's definitely a whole nother world with the kids. (Wait till he's old enough that you start to expect him to show some consideration...let's just say the day doesn't come quite as soon as you'd think.)

Pandora said...

I think part of being a good mother is knowing that you can't be 100% on top of everything 100% of the time. One of the things we have to teach our children is how to deal with stress, pressures of work versus family, etc. If we hide that and put on a game face for the kids all the time I think they'll grow up without the skills they need to deal with their own stresses. So hang in there Anita, you're doing great.

Carnival said...

Greetings, I was reading some blogs and came across your blog. I really enjoy how it makes such good reading.

I'll come by again.