The hardest of them all

Posted by ~Summer~ on April 23, 2013
in ,

Sometimes, I hear my friends or my readers telling me about how they think I am doing a great job as a mum and how I appear to be holding it together. When that happens, I just wish to tell them one thing - that the truth is far, far away.

As a person who sees the cup as half full in her life, that doesn't mean that the water doesn't spill over or that I don't get cut by a broken glass every now and then. Truth is, I am human. And no human is perfect. I have my fair share of woes in my life and my roller coaster twists, turns and gets inverted just like anyone out there.

When I was going through the Trials and Tribulations linky hosted by Rachel at Catch 40 Winks, I read about the hardship and the arduous experiences that some fellow mums faced. I stopped and asked myself "What's my story?"

There are probably a few things about my life that I could write about. I could write about how it was not easy bringing up a child in a foreign land or how I was devastated with the demise of a dear friend. I could write about my mum's battle with cancer or my miscarriage in Sweden and how it took away a piece of my heart.

But no, I didn't pen down any of those.

What I wish to write today is about the one thing that has brought out the best and yet the very worst in me - Motherhood.

******



While I never expect motherhood to be all rainbows and butterflies, I also didn't imagine how difficult this journey would get at times.

Yes, I get to kiss, hug, cuddle, play and laugh with these absolutely gorgeous tiny beings whom I call my children. But they are also the very ones who make me cry, who make me shout at the top of my lungs, who make me want to pull out every strand of my hair, who make me feel like the lousiest person, who make me behave like a ferocious monster I never knew existed in me.

This month has been particularly a challenging one for me.

My soon to be four year old girl has been throwing tantrums at every meal, refusing to eat on her own and feeding her becomes a test of time and patience that I am running out of. Not to mention I now have another baby to take care of. What baffles me is that the teachers in school swear that she usually eats on her own and doesn't need their help, but when it comes to at home or when we dine out, she seems to 'bully' us and would do everything else like sing, play, fidget, run, talk, all except eat. We had tried several methods in an attempt to resolve this.

1) Throw away her food if she doesn't eat
Result: Failed. She wakes up in the middle of the night all hungry and ultimately, we suffer.

2) Deduct the money in her bank account if she wastes food
Result: Failed. Her money is our money after all.

3) Use incentives like sweets and ice cream if she finishes her food
Result: Failed after a few tries. Can't be a long term solution too if you think about tooth decay.

4) No outings or fun trips on weekends if she doesn't eat well during the week
Result: Failed. Unless the hubby and I wish to be cooped up every weekend, which we don't.

5) Let her watch TV while eating
Result: Works at times but is it a good solution? Gets too distracting at times too.

Last but not least, we also resorted to using something which I've always dreaded and despised - the cane.

I remember my mum using it on me countless times as a kid. I hated it, I was scared of it and the sight of it made me shiver. I told myself I would never use this on my kids next time. In Sweden, hitting kids in public is an offense and so we survived the first three years of Angel's life without it. Ok, we do keep a few balloon sticks around the house but we used them more like verbal threats than actual hitting.

Recently, I used the cane on her. Even if I didn't exert that much strength, I still used it. Not once, not twice. But several times when she retaliated against me, when she threw tantrums in the supermarket, when she cried and shrieked, when she refused to eat her lunch, when she acted like that spoilt, bad-tempered girl that I almost couldn't recognise. The fact is, I turned into someone I couldn't recognise either.

I stopped talking to her. I put her in the room. I went to play Candy Crush. I picked up the little sister, hugged and cuddled her. It was almost like I was transferring the love for the big sis to the lil one. Bad, isn't it? I was always afraid that I wouldn't love my second child as much as the first, never did I dream that it would be vice versa. That the second one would be such a sweet child to sleep through the night at two months old, a baby who is always full of giggles and who never fails to cheer me up with her toothless grins. On the other hand, the big sis is getting from bad to worse in her tantrums, giving me bad headaches and breaking my heart. They said two is terrible, for her, three is a lot worse.

I even resorted to threats, yes I call these threats, like saying Mummy doesn't want to stay home and will go work if you don't eat. Which is not how I feel because being a SAHM is my choice and I love it this way. But in times like these, emotions get the better of me and I start uttering all this nonsense, not knowing if the intention is to make her feel sorry for her wrongdoing or to make me feel sorry for myself. Truth is, sometimes I don't even know why I do the things I do.  

With all these thoughts running through my mind, sometimes I start to weep. Badly. Profusely. Incessantly. What more can I do? How can I teach her without ruining our relationship? When can she become a good girl who listens and respects? What did I do wrong as a mum? 
 
******



So you see, while motherhood has brought me more rewards and joy than anything else, it is also the biggest challenge I have ever taken on. It seeks to bring out every ounce of love in me, it trains up my patience in the most effective manner, it boggles my mind in the most unexpected way, it spurs me on to explore new depths and heights, and most of all, it is a path of discovering not just my kids, but myself.

Today, I see myself in a whole new light. I am human, I am flawed, I have tears, I feel wrath. While I constantly aim to teach my girl to be a better person, motherhood is a journey whereby we learn together, we forgive together, we improve together and we move forward together.

As for my glass, it spilled a little this week and became a little emptier. Tomorrow, it will be half full again and we will march forward in this learning journey with lessons from the past, joy of the present and anticipation for the future.

Yes, I have a long way to go, a great deal to learn and an infinite space to grow as a mum.

******
Linking up with 
MummyMOO

27 comments:

  1. Summer,

    I read this with an ache in my heart. I'm so guilty of all that you've said - and more. I don't have patience, and sometimes, the little guy really pushes his limits.

    They have moods, and it angers me, at times, when I'm NOT in the mood to deal with their moods, that I *still* have to maintain a semblance of mommy-ness in me. I suspect I may also be jealous of the kid, for being able to throw tantrums and shriek and yell and still look cute... while I'm left to try to grab control of the situation, and pacify them.

    I've used those threats as well. To get him to sit down and eat. "If you don't eat, mummy will go to work. Do you want Mummy to go to work? No? Then eat."

    It works... but at whose expense? No, I don't want to go to work on a weekend. And yes, I use it because not only it works, but it makes me feel wanted.

    So childish, right? I'm not proud of it, but sometimes I delude myself into believing that I have it all together, too.

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    1. Reg, I also like to feel wanted sometimes too. Yes, I think all mums get a tad childish at times, we wanna feel loved, appreciated and not taken for granted. I'd like to think we have it all together at least 80% of the time? =)

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  2. Your post struck a chord with me too.

    You are definitely not alone. My older boy drives me up and down, and I find that sometimes I want to scold him "more" than I should, and that I use the cane harder than I want to... But I like your last line: "As for my glass, it spilled a little this week and became a little emptier. Tomorrow, it will be half full again ..."

    We all learn and grow as mummies.

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    1. Oh yeah, San, the scolding "more" than I should, I've been doing it so often, especially after Ariel arrived. =) Isn't it great to have fellow mummies learning and growing to together? It gives me great strength and motivation to carry on!

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  3. Did you just write about me? I said this a million times, but it won't hurt if i say it one more time, motherhood brings out the best AND worst in us. You don't know the horrible things i say to my son in anger, horrible. I am too embarassed to spell it out. I have never experience such anger in my life before motherhood. So, nah, you are not alone. We are same, same. Don't beat yourself up yah? Oh my who am i to say that? I am still trying to get myself out of the guilt! :(

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    1. Haha, yeah yeah, we are in the same boat! I know what you mean, we shouldn't blame ourselves too much and tell ourselves "we did the right thing" but yet can't help but feel guilty and shower that kid with more love than usual. Like how sometimes we cane the girl then give her a hug and apply Zambuk thereafter.

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  4. Oh hugs, babe, big big hugs! You're so not alone in this. I sometimes yell till I'm hoarse too. This is a tough age for Angel too cos she's learning to be more independent. Frustrating as it is, a friend keeps swing to me "it will all pass". And one day you will find that the meal time frustration will be gone. And in its place, another equally frustrating thing!

    No one can understand how tough and thankless the role of a mum is unless they're in it. Don't beat yourself up ok? It's all normal :) hug again!

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    1. It will all pass? Haha, I agree some other frustrating thing will pop up once this blows over. I like it when you said "It's all normal". Hehe. =) Let's find one day to meet up for play date, hopefully not when we are both hoarse or we can't chit chat! =p

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  5. the bit about transferring the love from #1 to #2 couldn't be more true in my world! it's all the more so when #1 is ALWAYS asking for daddy and never mommy (only call me when daddy not around), throwing tantrums when i'm the one who went to him instead of daddy, while #2 lights up the moment i walk into the room. sigh.

    #2 also got into bedtime routine early, sleeping through the nights within the first month, while #1 took FOREVER, even up till today, to fall asleep at night (can sleep through though).

    for everything you feel guilty about, be it thoughts or words or actions, i don't think you're alone. cos i think i did a lot more worse things to my children when they push me to the edge of the cliff. i haven't gone with the cane yet, but only cos the husband thinks it's not necessary yet.

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    1. Totally understand what you are saying, Mabel. We shouldn't compare the kids but sometimes JUST cannot help it when one makes you cry and the other makes you laugh. Of course we still love them both as much, right? I hope you don't have to resort to the cane if possible. =) I wish tender loving care worked for mine!

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  6. Summer, you know what? I find myself warning my daughter with 'Don't turn your Mommy into a Monster' whenever she misbehaves or test my patience...because I really can and I do...I'm not proud of it and I always secretly despised myself when I lose my cool...I always tell God I'll try harder again tomorrow...only to fail again. I agree with you that in this journey, some days are better than others...we grow, we forgive and we improve. Thanks for sharing your heartbeat with us. Now I know I am not alone...

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    1. Angie, I despised myself too when I turned into that monster you said. I never knew I could feel such fury and once I turned into that monster, every little wrong thing made me blow my top, which I always regret thereafter. Thanks for letting me know that I am not alone too, let's grow and improve together!

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  7. Summer, I can so identify with what you've written. I've lamented to my husband so many times that motherhood has brought out the best and worst in me too. I have lost count on the number of times I've yelled at my kids, caned them, lost my patience with them. Yes, even with my youngest, who is beginning to show signs of the terrible twos. There were times when I felt so low in this journey of motherhood, that I wanted to just run away from it all. Yet, whenever I walk into their bedroom when they're all asleep at night, and looked at their sleeping faces, I know I had to carry on in this journey the next day. Just like what you've said, tomorrow the glass will be half full again...

    Motherhood... the journey never ends.

    And please know that you're not alone in this. :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Ing. I feel so happy to know I am not alone in this never ending journey. =) You're right, their sleeping faces gives me lots of motivation to go on too!

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  8. (((HUGS))) to you. I understand how you feel. It's a very, very hard job. It is not for wimps, as they say. You're not alone; every day is another chance to get it right and we learn from our past mistakes and choices. Hang in there. :)

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. Love it when you say "every day is another chance to get it right". I may never get it perfectly right but it's cool to know that I get a new chance everyday! I'm doing well, thanks for the concern! =)

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  9. Hi Summer, all that you've been through, I've been there, you have no idea how difficult DinoBoy was. And up till recently (and that is 7 *long* years!) I can only proudly announced that I am truly having a good time enjoying being a Mother or Mum or Mama. Temper and tantrums are much lesser and more controllable but it does not go away, I'm sure it will never go away coz he is still a kid, a human with emotions and anger is one of them.

    It just gets better as the years goes by because we are "used to it" but with lots of TLC and assurance from us they will become a better person; and then we can all breathe easier. *hugs*

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    1. 7! haha, yes I bet it never goes away and with age comes another set of frustration and agony for the parents. Thank you, I am so going to bring out more assurance and TLC! =) And remember to breathe!

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  10. Hey babe, I love your positivity! Such a great post to remind me of what's coming as I'm start out on my learning journey as a parent. HUGS!

    Ft

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    1. Haha soon, babe, you will know. But I can assure it that it's all worthwhile and that joy Zachy brings to you is unparalleled too! =)

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  11. Hey babe, this post kinda hit me. Though i don't have a kid, yet, and probably cannot understand how frustrating it is now(or so I thought i knew). Nobody is perfect, no perfect mums, so don't go too hard on yourself. Take a breather and like u say, 2moro is a brand new half cup again. :) Hang on there! *hugs*

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    1. Aww, thanks babe. Yes, today is a brand new half cup after yesterday! =) I am still loving my role as a mum, don't worry! =)

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  12. Sweetheart, we have all been there, and acted just in this way, and been ashamed, tired, angry and broken all at once. That's just motherhood.
    Not sure if this will help, but I wrote this post on Monday, and thought you might get some tips out of it. http://essentiallyjess.com/2013/04/totally-addicted-choice.html

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    1. Thanks Jess. Broken, yeah that was the right word to describe me that day. Thanks for the tips too!

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  13. Hi summer

    I think this is a case of sibling jealousy. Angel is jealous of her little sister. She probably feels that you are focusing all your attention on Ariel and neglecting her. Angel grew up being the main attraction. Now she must share your love with Ariel.

    Is Ariel bottle fed? Maybe when she sees you feeding Ariel, she might feel a little jealous and unfair that she must feed herself. In school, she saw her friends eating on their own, so likewise she ate. Maybe that's why she eats in school, but expects you to feed her at home - the same way you fed Ariel?

    If Ariel is on formula milk, you can try getting Angel involved by holding the milk bottle and feeding Ariel. Explain to Angel why her sister needs to be fed - for example, Ariel is still small and hasn't learned how to eat on her own, or that Ariel's hands are still small so she can't hold the bottle on her own. Make Angel feel proud of what she can do, and that's to eat on her own. That way, Angel will understand that you are not loving her any less. Show Angel that you are not dividing your love for her, but instead you are multiplying your love for two.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

    Tracy :)

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    1. Thanks Tracy, for all the tips! Yes, I definitely am trying my best to multiply the love. =) Ariel is on total breastfeeding for now, as for Angel, she's getting better slowly but surely. Appreciate your advice too!

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  14. An old post but this is happening to me every other day... 😢
    Totally resonates with "cane n scream... Then go hide n cry... Then apply zambuk n apologise...times I really think how some mums hold it together... I'm Totally in need of anger management office skills... mealtimes.. Bedtimes... Getting up for school.... 😢 😢

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