Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Hard Truth

Driving home from dropping of Lucas at preschool this morning, I found myself overwhelmed by a desperate sense of hopelessness. Tears streaming down my face, I tried to think of someone, anyone I could call who could listen and understand just how I feel right now.

Someone who has been through this and could lend a shoulder to cry on without expecting that I’ll come out the other side bright, shiny and happy.

Someone who has more to offer than, “Cheer up!” “Count your blessings” and the other useless crap that is so often spewed by well-meaning folk from the older generation who are either too stoic to admit that sometimes raising children is the most difficult, soul-defeating endeavor one can undertake or just plain don't remember.

Someone who understands that saying something like that to a mother who is struggling to raise young children is akin to telling someone who has lost a loved one that it is “God’s plan” and that somehow their lives will be better for the loss.

But I couldn't think of one person.

I didn’t want to bother my friends who have grown past this point.

I didn’t want to depress or scare my friends who haven’t reached this stage yet.

And I’m sick of always seeming like the downer, complaining mom to my friends who seem unbothered by the whining, independence-loving, defiant, difficult days of life with a three-year old.

And it is not so much that I can’t do ANYTHING – wash my face, brush my teeth, go to the bathroom – without a constant stream of interruptions, demands, and wining, crying fits that bothers me.

It is my reaction to these moments.

It is after myriad trials of offering choices, explaining circumstances, and reinforcing that a need will be met in just a moment – when he continues to whine and demand and I lose it and let all of my pent-up anger and frustration out on him.

That is what makes me sad.

I’m scared that I’m slowly pushing my sensitive child away from me, that he will trust less and less that I love and care for him. I’m scared that I will do irreversible damage to his independence and self-esteem when I react with angry outbursts instead of patience and love.

And I’m scared that I created this situation to begin with and am only going to make it worse.

I’m really not sure where to go from here. There’s no shiny, didactic ending to this thought. Just a sad mom, curled up in the chair in the corner with silent tears running down her face as she watches her younger son toddle around the room, joyfully playing and exploring and who wishes she could actually enjoy this moment with him.