Friday, April 10, 2009

The MOST RELUCTANT MOTHER IN THE WORLD?

March 3, 2009

I really don't want to admit this. I LOVE working 40 plus hours a week. I go to work and talk to grown ups all day and accomplish things and am often asked to stay late and work on extra projects. And I love it. Lila spends long days with Grandma and Grandpa and Daddy picks her up after work and often they stop by to see me for a few minutes on the way home and I really enjoy these visits because she is happy to see me and I was "just starting to miss her".

When I come home, she is happy to see me and I am thrilled when she runs to the door and begs to be picked up and hugged. I spend my couple of hours making and eating dinner with her and Dad, then one of us gives her a bath and I usually put her to bed. I love bedtime. She doesn't often fight me, and when she does it is usually our first fight of the day so I have plenty of patience with her and eventually she goes down to bed and I get Mommy and Daddy time.

There have been days where Lila is teething or is going through a "No" phase where I actually ask my boss if I can stay at work late. And I am always totally honest about it, saying, "I really don't want to go home to my kid today." The other day, he shook his head and called me "The Most Reluctant Mother " he has ever met. But am I really so bad?

I went through this whole ordeal where I cried alot and felt bad for telling everyone how much mothering is not for me. Mostly, I only felt bad because of the reactions I got. But many of my friends agree that motherhood is the worst job one can take on. But they always seem to need to qualify it with "OH I JUST LOOOOVVVE MY KIDS, BUT..." I don't do that anymore.

The fact that I come home to her and hug her and cuddle her is my testament to my devotion to her. I love Lila. I know I do. And when Lila needs anything I am the first one to find a way to provide it. I would never do anything intentionally to hurt her and that includes making the decision to stay at home with her full time when I know that it makes me an all-around better person to have a life away from her. I have never been guilty of abuse in any of its forms and when I have time off, the time I spend with her isn't spent bored and sitting in front of the tv trying to get the hours to pass. We enjoy eachother more in small doses.

It still makes me cringe when I hear women say that motherhood is the best job in the world because I disagree. The best jobs in the world aren't only the ones where you get a sense of meaning and accomplishment. If it were that simple we would all be living our dreams. The BEST JOBS IN THE WORLD pay well, provide incredible health insurance and match your retirement savings. You get to work in a climate controlled (or outside if that's what you are into) environment and have tons of flexibility as to how you spend your days. They PAY YOU to take vacations and days off. In addition to these things, you work with people who are more or less agreeable and rational and you get to use your talents daily. Motherhood hardly fits that bill.

The upside to motherhood? Lila brings me so much joy that it makes me sick. Seriously. I sometimes feel nauseated thinking about her cuteness and the other day when she started clapping to Joan Jett's "I Love Rock and Roll" and bobbing her head up and down to the drums, I nearly squeezed her to death. She is so smart and sassy that a mother has to be proud. As long as that sassiness isn't directed at me 24/7.

I will continue to defend my position that being away from Lila during the day actually contributes to my ability to be a good mother. Because no matter what I am doing, I love her.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Continuied Saga of my monster child

January 23, 2009 - Friday

When my kid was a teeny tiny baby, and she screamed constantly, I was sure that she could be the spawn of the devil. What I remember most vividly from that phase was that everyone who has had kids told me that the colic was "the hardest part" and that it "gets easier after that." Those assholes were lying.

Lila is starting the "terrible twos" at 18 months. If this is any indication of what kind of relationship we will have when she is 14, I am seriously ready to bail out now. She has suddenly become more demanding and has learned (not from me) that if she can't get exactly what she wants at any given moment, that the best reaction is to throw herself on the floor and cry until she throws up.

And there is no substitute for what she wants. For example, if Lila decides she has to have animal crackers in her Thomas the Tank Engine cup, and her Thomas cup is at my mothers house she will not simply accept them in any other cup or out of a cup or even in a pile that she could swim in. She screams and writhes on the floor like she is on fire. And I hate to admit it, but I hate her when she does that. I have no patience for it. Last night I picked her up, put her in her room and closed the door, which is what everyone says I need to do when she gets like that. The theory is that without the audience she will either knock it off after a few minutes or tire herself out. Lila pounded her head on the floor and screamed and screamed. 20 minutes later she was still crying and when I went in, she was like a feral animal and faught my attempts to calm her down. I started crying and Ben took over and managed to get her to relax with a bottle (yeah, I know).

She does this at least once or twice a day and it isn't just with me. She pulls that shit at my mothers house too, but the difference is that Grandma will just give in and let her have whatever it is that she wants so that she will stop crying. I tell her this isn't helping but she says it isn't her job to discipline.

Here's the thing. I have been a reluctant mother from the start. It's hard to admit that because society tells me that it makes me some kind of awful person. But I don't believe it's that unusual. I look back at my childhood from my newfound perspective and see that same exasperation on my mother's face, and although she would NEVER admit it, I know that she often felt like running away too.

It's impossible to describe the mixture of feelings that I have. I love her. She is cute and brilliant. It is fun watching her learn new things and I want to tell everyone every time she makes me proud by recognizing a picture of Elvis or bobs her head and tries to make the goat horns when Led Zepplin comes on the radio. But those things are broken up by these truly AWFUL bouts of what I would call PURE EVIL and I just want to be left alone...for days or weeks maybe.I don't know.

There is no advice that can help this because I have tried all the angles. Apparently I just have to ride this phase out, right? But then what about the next awful phase?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Terrible One and a Halfs

December 14, 2008 - Sunday

Now that Lila is spending a considerable amount of time with her Grandma and Ben because I am working, I no longer have 24 hour control over her. I am finding that my kid is turning into that asshole kid that I was absolutely adamant not to have.

We went to the grocery store yesterday and as I saw all the other young children sitting quietly in their prospective shopping carts, my kid proceeded to scream, kick, cry and grab at every item that came within 3 feet of her. She yelled for balloons, for meat, to get down and even for the signs hanging from the ceiling demanding to me, "GO GET".

The reason my kid behaves like that is NOT just because she is at that age. The reason that my kid is like that is because all the other adults in her life seem to think that the best way to get her to behave in the grocery store (or Target, or at the mall) is to give her whatever she asks for to play with, and Ben even lets her get out of the cart and run around. I mostly blame ben.

I dont believe I need to explain to you all why this is not okay. But apparnetly Ben doesn't see the danger of a kid who will suddenly be old enough to out run him, or grab things off the shelf and break them, or get hurt in an insanely busy grocery store on a Saturday afternoon. Ben also doesn't see why she can't play with pennies (choking factor) chew on crayons (he says they're non-toxic) or climb up our bookcase (it's anchored to the wall after all). Ben cannot conceive that what he is doing is laying the groundwork for how she is going to act in the future. She will not behave out in public. She will run around with crayons, pencils, pens, in her mouth and fall and stab her brain. She will think it is okay to climb up on anything and pull something onto her.

Maybe it's a dad thing. Maybe it's only mothers who foresee the worst possible outcome and decide that they must protect the kid at all costs, even if it means that they cry and beg to do what they want. Perhaps dads cannot think far enough ahead to predict that she is going to be an asshole who has no boundaries. Maybe this is normal. Maybe I need to quit my job (which I love) and go back to being the 24 hour gate keeper so that she can know that there are rules and that she cannot under any circumstances do whatever she wants. Because although I have told both Grandma and Ben what the rules need to be, I am finding that they both subsccribe to the "just keep her happy" method of childcare with no regard to the fact that at her age she should not be deciding what the rules are.

I want to have a polite, functional and NORMAL kid. I want her to know what is and is not allowed. Even if she has to test the limits to learn this. Even if she has to throw tantrums and cry and think it's the end of the world because she can't have a balloon. Because what I do know is that when my kid turns out to be that asshole, no one is going to say "It's her Dad's (or Grandma's) fault for spoiling her." The concensus will be that Lila's mother did a shitty job of raising her.

Shit. My kid is turning into an asshole.

On a seperate and totally unrelated note:
My parents have officially moved out of my childhood home. Ther neighborhood has long been on the decline and they had to get out of there as stabbings and armed home invasions were becoming the regular around there. They purchased a nice 2 family house with my aunt and uncle in Solvay. My mom loves it.

Here's the thing. somehow I am so emotionally retarded that I cannot actually acknowledge it in real life. In the several weeks leading up to the move, I never once mentioned it. I never wanted to go see the new house. I wouldnt even offer to leave work early to pick up Lila in the days leading up to the move so that my mom could pack, simply because I would have to acknowledge it. Yesterday Ben helped them move. I was going to stop by to see how it was going and maybe help out a little, but I got half way there and decided that I could not bear to see my old room empty. So I went home. I know that I should go to my mom's new house and help out however I can. Maybe bring over dinner. I know that's what a grown up would do. But I just can't emotionally deal. It's ridiculous, I know.