Thursday, September 22, 2016

Not a baby....

I know every parent has had this know, the one where your child waltzes down the stairs by herself one morning like a teenager and immediately plops herself on the couch and starts barking orders at you. She didn't yell for you to come get her out of her bed and didn't want a morning hug.  All of a sudden, your sweet baby/toddler has turned into an opinionated, strong-willed, and cranky little adult.  You immediately miss the days when she used to cry for you from her crib, or her bed, and start scrounging for any bit of parenting advice you can get because let's face it...the struggle of disciplining and raising a caring and competent human being is just as hard, if not harder, than late night newborn feedings and sleep deprivation.  One is physically draining, the other - an emotional draining roller coaster that never ends.  

Yesterday was by far one of the hardest parenting days I have ever had with Emma.  It started early with a fight about everything....EVERYTHING.  Breakfast, our outfit, our shoes, our raincoat, our plans for the day....  And to be honest, I felt like my whole day was wrecked before I even dropped her off at school.  Things like that just destroy me sometimes, and I have a hard time getting over them.  I HATE fighting about stupid crap and starting my day off that way.  And I'm not being ridiculous in my battles - Emma has to wear certain things to school (no flip flops, no fairy dresses, a rain coat and boots when a tropical storm is upon us.....)

I tried to regroup as I went to Bible Study, and when I picked her up at lunch, I knew my heart felt distant, but I tried to start over, hoping her mood had changed.  But I was wrong, and Emma was just as rude and disrespectful as she could ever be.  She complained about everything, she was whiny, mean, and perhaps possessed????

This went on the whole day, and night.  I won't mention the 45 minutes we spent in the parking lot at Food Lion because Emma threw a tantrum about getting out of the carseat.  Just picture her screaming, kicking, and whining, and me eventually slumping over in tears wondering what the hell I was doing and whether I could make it through the rest of the day.  I know it sounds dramatic, but if you're a mama reading this and you can't relate, then I wish you well in your plastic bubble of non-reality.

I sobbed all night after it took an hour to put Emma to bed, and immediately felt like I was inadequate as a mother.  I must be doing something wrong, or I'm not doing something right...either way, I have failed her.  

Emma is extremely strong-willed...and test the limits constantly.  I know you don't believe me because she is normally sweet and mild mannered, but when she is not, wow...she is a handful.  

I ended the day being disappointed in her - a feeling I have never felt before, and I hated it.  I wondered worried if she was like this at school, and how I ached at the thought that it would set her apart socially in a negative way.  I have so many desires for Emma, but most importantly, I want her to listen, love, be caring, and respectful.  I want that for her, not for me.  I never want her to feel pain or left out because of her demeanor.  And I couldn't live with myself if it was my fault, or because I didn't parent her well.  Sure, she's probably fine at school.  But I know soon this behavior will filter into daily life away from me, it's inevitable.

So, I'm struggling today.  I'm scouring the internet looking for parenting books (even though I'm supposed to be working), thinking that if I read them all, I will find some nugget of truth that will make this better.  The bottom line is, Emma has to listen to me.  She has to fear me.  It's for her own good.  But how do I do this, all the while letting her know how much she is loved, and that love is the reason I am doing it in the first place??  

If you have any advice, I'll take it.  If you think of us at prayer time later, I'll take that too:)  
I know tomorrow will be better, and that days like these will come but pass just as quickly, but they drain me...and my heart just aches today.

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