Still a Good Mom…

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When I started this blog, I was so sure I’d be a perfect mom. I mean really, the original name of the blog was something like, “Becoming a Young Mom, and How I Did it Right.” Barf! Am I right? It quickly became “How I Did it Peacefully,” because right is a very subjective word, and I mess up all the time. ALL THE TIME. I tried for a long time to still put on a facade. I wanted the world to think I was a super mom. Perfect house, perfect kid, perfect put together life… Well I’m here to tell you, it just isn’t so.

I get angry sometimes. Caleb will be extra clingy for one reason or another, and every hair on my body stands on end. I might even yell. I might even lock myself in the bathroom for five minutes while he cries, because I need five minutes where no one is touching me; poking, prodding, squeezing… But, most of the time I’m not. Most of the time I feel like having this small little boy around me 24/7 is the most awesome blessing that has ever been given to me. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I put the TV on all day long and I just lay on the couch, because the idea of doing a craft or having a conversation exhausts me past my breaking point. TV all day or a mean mom? I’ll go for the TV every time. But, most of the time I’m so happy to take Caleb to the park, play dates, do the newest cool kid craft, or play make believe. Most of the time I don’tĀ ever want him to leave my side.

This is one of the hardest things in the world for me to admit. 99% of the time I honestly don’t feel like I need a break. 99% of the time I really think I’m doing okay. Then that 1% where my nerves are just fried, I wish someone, well someone like his Mimi because I’m neurotic and really don’t trust many people with him, would come get him just for a night. He’s spent maybe five nights away from me since he was born. Maybe ten times he’s gone with her for a day. That 1% of me isn’t a regular thing, and yet I still feel so much guilt about it… but why?

Don’t even get me started on the house. This week we had kind of an inspection. Not on our house from our landlord, but he’s trying to sell the house so the state inspection people had to come and measure stuff. I took three days cleaning the house. Twenty loads of laundry, seven loads of dishes, a full bottle of Windex, and an emptying of the vacuum five times later, our home was presentable. While I was putting away the clothes I ask Corey in exasperation, “How is it that I did all of these things AND went to school when I was younger?” He looked at me and laughed then responded, “You didn’t have Caleb.” I mean, I get the kitchen clean, and every toy is pulled out in the living room. I fold the clothes, turn my back, and the pile has become something to play in. I’m honestly not even mad, in fact I’ve accepted it, but when my house is a disaster (think dishes from a week ago and mysterious sticky spot on the kitchen floor), I’ve been home all day, and I’m still exhausted at the end of the night I do feel really guilty… but why?

This morning I woke up and my house was essentially still clean. The living room has some toys on it. I asked myself if I wanted to pick them up and decided to sit down and watch a movie while Caleb was still sleeping instead. I started to think about all of the things I’m doing wrong. I though about how I lose my patience, or I don’t always make the healthiest foods, or how when his doctor asked us how much milk he drinks, I had no freaking clue. But, I looked around at the fun art on the walls. I looked at the pictures of us together. I looked at his toys and thought about how much I love watching his imagination at work. I walked in and watched him sleeping next to his daddy. He is strong, healthy, and loved. He doesn’t go without. He has at least one close friend, and he has all the family he’ll ever need. He isn’t afraid when I life my hand that he’ll be hit, because we never hit him. He doesn’t have to worry about eating quickly or hoarding food, because we never let him go without. His body is respected. I do everything in my power to raise him peacefully. 99% of the time I succeed, so why do I fixate on that 1%?

… I’m still a good mom.

YOU ARE LOVED

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I’m Not Perfect

Something very interesting has been happening since going back to school. Corey and I have somehow become a role model to even younger parents! During our family read meetings (we meet with a teacher in a little office off of a pretty public hallway/cafeteria area) we have had at least one person come in each week and say something along the lines of, “I always hear you guys. You’re like the perfect parents!” We have people who tell us how “awesome” we are, and how they hope they can parent like us. IT IS SO WEIRD. I mean, what do we say to that? “Oh no, we screw up all the time.” “You should see my house, it’s trashed!” I WANT to be a good role model. I don’t want to look like a failure, or like we’re doing it all wrong. I don’t think we are. I also know that we are learning, we mess up, and we have a lot more to learn the older Caleb gets.

I think the key though… is knowing we aren’t perfect. I can admit when we make a mistake. I try so hard to not yell at Caleb, and usually don’t, but once or twice a month he’ll do something dangerous and boom, it’s like I explode. “CALEB GET OFF THAT FREAKING THING!” “NO DON’T OPEN THAT!” “STOPPPP!” Then there is this look on his face like I’ve smacked him across the face, and I feel absolutely awful. I NEVER want to hurt my son. I want him to feel loved and safe at all times. I’m the adult, I should be able to control myself, and yet I make this terrible mistake. Immediately I apologize to him. I tell him I should not have screamed, that I was scared, and I will do better for him. I give him a hug if he wants one, or I leave him alone until he’s ready to forgive me.

Some days I do absolutely nothing with him. Hare to believe right? Some days I just let him play alone. He can come snuggle with me, I make sure to feed him and change his diaper, but I don’t play with him. It’s rare, but those days always make me feel like a failure. I just have no inhibition on those days, I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to play pretend. This only happens every other month about, but I know it’s a problem. I also know that it’s probably not going to change because once in a while I need to take a break, and that is okay.

You guys know how much I love breastfeeding. You know I believe in self weaning and full term nursing… OH MY GOSH I hate night nursing. I’ve forced Caleb to night wean. I just can’t do it. It makes me ANGRY. My blood boils and I start resenting him nursing at all. For both of us, I put an end to it. I feel bad. He wasn’t ready, but I put myself before him. I know deep down it was best for both of us, but I still feel a twinge of guilt each night when he asks to nurse.

These are just a few of the things I am doing wrong. I know I need to change some things, I know that I am doing wrong, and that’s what makes me a good parent. My desire to be the best for my kiddo, the ability to see my faults and not justify them, and my constant hunt for knowledge is what makes me come out on the other side giving people the impression of perfection. I’m so grateful for the people I have before me, all my “homies.” If you can take anything from this, just remember to keep moving forward. You don’t have to be like your parents. You don’t have to be like yourself a week ago. Every day you can become better!