Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Let's have six. Let's have a dozen and pretend they're donuts!"

So tired of being angry at Finn for acting out.
I know it is actually my expectations that I place upon him like heavy weights on his lanky frame. I know it is not his fault and he is just five years old and the world is so lush and he is finding his voice and his body moves so beautifully and who wouldn't want to be so free?
It's a funny thing parenthood-no matter how hard you try you can't help but find yrself repeating patterns and forming paths that you might have once hated in yr own parents.
I can't find my own carefree self anymore under this bullshit.
I just come back to finding the parts of my father that I really don't want.
The parts that don't make up the sum of him-
but the parts that were hard for me as his daughter.
The unrealistically high expectations, the anger of unknown origins.
Why can't I find my mothers shoulder shrug or
my mothers ability to drop everything and move right on with her day?
Smiling the entire time void of irony and really filled with peace?
Why would I stay mad at my five year old for hours?
I say yes to everything and most people think I am so la dee da centered.
Bull to the poo.
I am struggling to go back and think in the most basic terms with my five year old.
He is unable to remain focused at a bustling farmer's market while I hold his brother and describe in detail to strangers about locally harvested hardwoods and the benefits of natural teething toys.
No shit.
Why should he want to be good?
I just want him to remember the way I held him on my stadium chair while we ate ice cream and watched the world go by. The feeling of the sunshine burrowing into our bodies.
I am pretty sure that I don't want him to recall the way I growled in his ear to sit down and be quiet numerous times.
The way I was looking at him.
I was looking at him harder than I should.
All of my joy fell off my body today and hit the hard concrete
with a sadness that was almost deafening to only me.
It's just hard to find yrself as a mother.
It's hard to stop repeating patterns that just come so easily and without thought.
Autopilot parenting is not my friend.
I need to be more thoughtful.
I need to show Finn all of the good parts of me over and over and over so that when he calls up my image in his mind and spins me round he gets lucky most times.
He gets to remember my positive bits most.
Like the way I laugh real with him and tell him things
like how the world will be and what he may look like when he is twenty.
How I whisper in his face love notes and tell him all of my wishes and tickle his back and smell good and hold his head in my lap and pinky promise that he is my best friend.
I think the hardest part of life for me is the good vs naughty self.
I have so much good in me and sometimes I feel like I was put on earth to share it around but even this being so true, there is the part of me that I have always tried to fight and push down and stomp and hide.
I don't know where my negativity comes from and I don't care anymore.
Even if I could trace back the genealogy- pin point the origin on a map in some faraway city and
go to that ancestral grave yard and shake my fist at some hard stone... it doesn't really matter.
I got it and it's all mine.
I just wish it would go away more often.
The parent I want to be and try so hard to be just doesn't live inside of me enough.
And that is the expectation that hangs around my neck.
And it's heavy today.

title post- Parenthood 1989


blissfully caffeinated said...

Thank you for posting this Amy. You are putting into words things that I feel all the time. It's so hard.

Hugs for you.

Cassandra said...

I'm with you, mama. I TOTALLY get where you're coming from. I had similar parenting this past weekend with my eldest (4 1/2.) Thanks for the reminder. I need to remember this next time I'm looking at her hard. I did a lot of that, and reading this makes me want to cry and go and take it back.

And yes, hugs to you.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

It really is hard...

My oldest has a good number of special needs kid issues (as you know) that can be extremely trying.

But we do the best we can (trite but true) and hope they remember the ice cream and not the growling. Keep the scales tipped in the right direction and that will most likely work out in the end.

Abby said...

It's so hard to fight against our childhood every single day. But it's the fighting against it and the talking about it that's the key. You're doing it. There are bad days and good days and that's ok. That's life.

AmericanFamily said...

Oh, it isn't you. It is the fact that as soon as we figure out how to parent a particular phase of annoying behavior with grace and cheerfulness, they move on to a completely different set of misbehaviors. It is enough to drive a person mad.

5 is a hard age. Have you read the Ames and Ilg "Your Five year old" book? I swear, those A&I books have saved me more times than I care to think.

I just think of them and repeat "This is just a phase. She will outgrow it soon. Her brain is not developed enough to control [insert annoying behavior of the day]. Her brain will grow soon. I am not the worst mother on the planet for being annoyed by this irrational little person."

I am more sympathetic to my parents' impatience now, to be sure.

Suz said...

Sooo....when are you going to write that book? Your writing sticks to me and keeps me thinking through the day like no other blogs do. :)

Piper said...

'I want to fly thru the world in a golden ball, many of the cities I never saw at all, sometimes I feel I was always on call, sometimes even I am allowed to crawl... he says come down here for a minute, sweet girl. Well, come down here for a minute, sweet girl.'

Sweet gull,

If I could give you peace of mind, I would. The turmoil you sense, it IS actually love. To love, to care, to want to be the best you can be, to desire to give more than you contain within yourself, THAT is the most you can do. And, it's enough!

You're an amazing mother, designed and crafted to be Finn's mama... just as you are. Be still, and rest knowing that your special brand of motherly love exactly enough. <3

Shawn said...

hugs to you ... it is so hard. i have two who are constantly throwing my bad ways into my face with their imaginary play of mama and baby. ugh.

jana said...

I am crying; I so get all that you are saying. Mine are nearly 4 and nearly 3 years of age. I turn over a new leaf every chance I get. I want so much to have an endless amount of wonder, joy, patience and play in side of me---well, maybe not endless, but more than the finite amount I have on more days that I can count. We have our share of big people worries, and that doesn't help but frankly, it doesn't change what I know and that is what you said, I want to be a better mommy than sometimes my personality allows for.

Thanks for making me feel just slightly less alone today, to know how every very much you wish for your children and how much you love them, yet fall short ----sometimes WAY short of what you would wish for as their mommy. Support to you :)


Kim said...

Oh Amy.. Goodness.. it is like you can see inside some of us moms.. I too want my boys to remember the countless moments that seem like perfection instead of the constant lecturing I am always doing to "not do this.." or not do that"

You are an amazing mother.. one that I look up too..

Big HUGE bear hugs to you .. xoxo

katekatenegotiate said...

i hear you, lady. zoloft and a my books "everyday blessings" and "buddism for mothers" are helping me. i also try never to yell but only use my one angry mama voice. i know just how you feel. you want to not have any anger for these little ones you hold so tight to your heart. but it's difficult when you are thrown a new curve ball. know this: your son will not think of the bad times when he's older since the relationship you are forming with him is strong.

SelimaCat said...

I never thought a little girl would kick my ass and hand me a lesson about grace, but she does--daily. I hear you in this and my heart aches because I recognize the anger and the sadness, because I'm sure someone is grading me and just when I think I'm doing OK, she pushes *that* button and I explode, and my daily grade plummets. And then I get up the next morning and try again--with yesterday's grade erased. Good gravy, that's humbling and hard.

Headless Mom said...

Each age brings out new aggravations-and new wonders. Don't be so hard on yourself. I know that you give Finn so many happy and wonderful days. Bein' a mama is hard sometimes when our pasts collide with our day to day stuff. We all struggle with it!

Anonymous said...

AMY mama-

Just like the Lord calmed the waters, he will calm you--even that vast raging ocean I know as your heart.

I wondered if you were going to see this at Stuart's Opera House. I wondered if your folks might be in any of the pictures. Look for it :)

Appalachian Families and Faces, 1971-1975” by Vern McClish
Stuart's Opera House

Lauren B.

krista said...

i'm pretty sure you weren't writing this in order for it to be beautiful...but it is. and i'm already going through it at 16 months. forgetting that she's um, 16 MONTHS. and i know it doesn't get easier and that's the scariest part of it all...

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

soooooooooooo with you.

Alexis said...

I hear you loud and clear! My problem is that I have no patience at all when I'm tired, and then I think I undo any good will and progress I've built up during the day.

Parenting is so much harder than I thought it would be. Exhausting, exasperating, enervating. I am totally drained at the end of the day, and I think I'm getting worse at it as my kids get older.

I try to keep in mind that at least I'm not as bad a mother as Joan Crawford!

nkp said...

Now you've made me cry twice today. It's not just you...I think we all go through this as parents. Parenting is hard. But loving children is easy and you clearly, wholey, completely, totally, madly love yours. That is clear. Each day is a new opportunity to be better and try harder. What else can you do?

Those kiddos are lucky to have you. They really are. And I'm lucky, through no accident, I believe, to have read your beautiful, honest words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


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