Friday, February 27, 2015

Oh the Drama!

I'm apparently a very bad mommy.

That's the general consensus at my house after a big fit was thrown last night about what we were having for dinner.

It all started when we decided on pizza for dinner with my mother.  My mother, who watches Lila after school while I am at work, called me (at work) and told me that Lila doesn't want pizza for dinner.  Instead she wanted me to take her to Moe's for tacos.  I told my mother that I wasn't planning on going out for dinner and that pizza is one of the 10 foods Lila will eat so she would be having pizza for dinner.  Dinner is always an issue when we eat with my mother because my mother generally makes whatever Lila wants for her.  This is often because I live upstairs from my mother.  We eat with her most nights and so Lila is used to getting whatever she wants for dinner.  Before you start in on me, Yes.  I have attempted to tell my mother that this isn't working but then I come home from work and Lila is already eating something other than what is being had by the rest of us.  "She was hungry," my mother tells me.  It is pointless to try to argue with this.

I hung up the phone.  Yes.  We would be having pizza for dinner.

But when I walked in the door after work Lila started in.  "Could we go to Moe's?  Pretty please?"  "No," I told her.  "I don't feel like going back out in the cold and besides Grandma ordered pizza. 

Then the tears started.  Lila told me about 14 times that I was mean and I always tell her no when she wants to go out to dinner (not true at all.  We probably go out to dinner at least once a week).  She cried hard and for a long time.  After about 15 minutes of listening to her tell me how she was starving and didn't want to have pizza I gave her a choice.  She could eat the pizza or she could have a sandwich.  I was not going to take her to Moe's.  Well of course she didn't want a sandwich either.  I told her that if she was really hungry she would eat and if she chose not to eat it would be her choice.  I told her that going to bed hungry wouldn't kill her and she would just wake up extra hungry in the morning.

This is when it turned into something else.  "You never listen to me" she started.  "I wanted to grow my bangs out and you made me get them cut!"  I had no idea where the hell this was coming from.  We last got her hair cut while we were in Florida. My brother paid for her to go to a nice salon for a haircut as a treat (we usually go to Supercuts).  She never said she wanted to grow her bangs out.  I told her this and she swore that she told me all the time.

You see, Lila doesn't seem to remember things the way they really happen.  Very often when she is having one of her fits and she gets mouthy with me, I will tell her to stop being mouthy or to stop yelling at me and she will swear (crying the whole time) that she never did get mouthy or yell when she had just done it seconds before.  How could I expect her to remember something that happened a few weeks ago? 

Anyway, I told her that if she wants to grow her bangs out, she can but she will have to wear a headband to hold her too-long bangs back until they grow out.  Still crying she explained that she would NOT wear a headband.  She would simply push her bangs off her face and she demonstrated by pulling her bangs apart in the middle and smoothing them down to her head. 

"That will look terrible," I told her.  Then the dam really opened.  "You ALWAYS tell me I look terrible!" she screamed.  Again, I have no idea where this is coming from.

"When did I tell you that you looked terrible?"  She didn't answer.  She just sobbed uncontrollably. 

So now I have a kid who believes I never listen to her and that I always tell her she looks terrible.  This is a problem.  It doesn't really matter if it's true.  It is the way she sees things.  It apparently doesn't matter that I tell her almost every day how cute she looks, especially when she picks out her own outfits or brushes her own hair.

She started crying and begging to go to her father's house.  "I want my Daddy!!!" she exclaimed.  "I wish I wasn't your daughter!" she threw at me.  "Well your father would never put up with you throwing such a huge fit over what he was having for dinner," I told her. 

My mommy guilt started to kick in.  How the hell could I convince her that I did listen to her and that I don't tell her she looks terrible?  What was I going to do in a few years when she didn't want to come to my house anymore because I am mean and don't listen to her and always tell her she looks terrible?  At some point she is going to make her decision clear.  That time will probably be around the age of 13.  I am dreading this age because if she is such a bitch now then she is going to be impossible to handle at that age.  Would I be relegated to seeing her every other weekend?  Would her father listen to her wishes and try to get full custody?  Would I have to listen to her wishes?

I know I did the right thing in not giving in to her demand to have Moe's for dinner.  In fact, after her little fit was over, she had a sandwich without complaining.  She was back to loving me and cuddled on the couch to watch some TV before bed. 

"Do you still wish you weren't my daughter?" I asked her.  "No.  I was just mad at you," she said.

But I still kind of feel like the worst mother in the world.

Monday, February 23, 2015

What it's like to split custody

I am missing out on half of Lila's life.  Yup.  Exactly half.  All because her father and I split up. 

For half of every week she is with me.  On those days we talk about her day, eat some dinner, cuddle and watch TV.  And on my Saturdays we try to get out to do something fun. 

But the other half of the week, she is with him. And there is no bedtime, no cuddle time, no bath to be given. 

On those days I miss out.

I missed her losing 2 of the 3 teeth that she has lost.  The Tooth Fairy going to another house, not mine.

I missed her learning to ride her bike.  She did it while playing outside on another street, not mine.

I miss out on a lot of little jokes and funny stories and small victories.

I miss her so much when she isn't here.

Every night when she is with him she calls me to say goodnight.  And on my nights she calls him.  The days of crying because she misses one or the other of us is over, thank God, but I know that she always has that emptiness.  She would rather have us both there in the middle of the night when she is scared or sick or just can't sleep. 

I do not regret the splitting anymore.  Although for a while I didn't know if I would survive it.  When she would cry for him or when she would call me crying I would want to fix it all.  To glue our broken family back together, to make her heart stop hurting.

And although I miss her like crazy when she isn't there, part of me is starting to adjust.  I mean, it's only been 2 years. 

I am a single parent when she is with me.  I am a bachelorette the rest of the week.  I still have a hard time with this transformation. I am starting to adjust and am finally beginning to find something to do during all this extra "me time" that I have.  But I don't feel lucky to have it.  Not yet.  Not when there is a hole in my heart during that time.

Being without her so much makes the time that I do have with her more valuable.  I try not to yell as much.  I try to do fun things when I can.  We go out to eat  a lot.  We have had to put quality over quantity.  This is something I think a lot of full time moms take for granted.

And even though I am only with her part of the time, she is still on my mind all of the time.  I still put her needs first.  I am still the one who makes the doctors appointments and signs all the school paperwork.  I am still always mom.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Catholic Guilt

As many of you know, Lila goes to a Catholic school.  We made that decision basically because I went to Catholic school and the public school option for where we lived was not a very good one academically.  Well this year (2nd grade) Lila is making her first communion.  Along with that, she has to make her first penance (or confession for those of you not hip to the Catholic lingo).  So for 14 weeks, every Sunday, she has to go to classes to learn about making her first penance and communion.  One of the requirements is that she go to mass every Sunday during this time.  This means that every Sunday, I have to go to mass during this time.

I am not what you would call a practicing Catholic.  Honestly, I don't think I believe in God at all.  So taking her to mass every Sunday is kind of a stretch for me.  Part of me loves the pageantry of it.  I love the big open church, the stained glass windows, the priest supposedly turning a cracker into the body of Christ.  It reminds me of childhood days spent going to church with my class during the school day.  But I spend a lot of my time in church sitting there wondering how anyone really believes this stuff.  And then the Catholic guilt kicks in and I find that I feel somewhat lost in that I don't have a set of beliefs to get me through those tougher times.

Lila, as far as I can tell, believes in God and Jesus and the Virgin Mary and all of that.  But honestly it isn't something we ever talk about.  It just never comes up.  Even with her making her first communion and having to go to classes on Sundays, she has never once come to me to discuss anything that she is learning about religiously.  So I have no idea if she knows what the 10 commandments are or if she feels that she is a sinner. 

I remember being very upset to learn that we are all born with original sin on our souls.  That we are marked as sinners before we even learn to speak.  This is one of the beliefs of the church that I have a real problem with.  My daughter doesn't know enough to sin.  I really have no idea what she is going to tell the priest when she goes into that little box for the first time.  I imagine that she will tell him that she got sassy with me once or twice or that she told a little lie.  I think she may do what I did and make some stuff up just to have something to talk about while she is in there. 

I often feel that I am supposed to be bringing up God and Jesus to her.  Like there are times when I could use them to my advantage.  Just like the Elf on the Shelf, I could threaten her with "God is watching you" when she misbehaves and perhaps that would make her stop whatever annoying behavior she is doing at that time.  But I don't believe in God enough to threaten her with him. 

I just read an article over at (you can read it here) where the writer confesses to being a closet atheist and that was what got me thinking about my beliefs.  I just don't know what I believe.  I don't know that I ever really did believe everything that they taught me in Catholic school.  I think I always doubted.  I always asked questions about the validity of the Bible and the possibilities of redemption.  I was no doubt influenced by my parents' lax attitude toward the church and their lack of faith. 

I just hope that Lila believes something.  Because I envy people who have that faith that can carry them through tough times.  I wish I had something like that.  Some belief in a higher power that makes sense of the awfulness that happens in life.  I honestly hope that she feels some sense of connection to God so that she has the benefit of faith in her heart and for her soul.