Rock, Hard Place

Something happened this past weekend that I can’t — shouldn’t? — write about on my blog.

I can’t write about it, because writing about it may cast one of my children in a negative light. And I don’t want my child to read it someday and think that I thought she was a “problem child” or “troubled” or any of that.

I *want* to write about it, primarily because I am seriously struggling with the parenting of this child. Not because of the child that she is, but because of the parent I am.

I wonder if I am parenting her well or appropriately.
I wonder what I should do differently, if anything.
I wonder if I can love her better. If I need to give her more one-on-one attention, more focused care. If so, how do I do that? How do I find the *time* to do that?

Let me be absolutely clear: I love each of my children equally — infinitely and without hesitation. I show my love differently — after all, my children are all different. I do things with Flora that I don’t do with Kate, and vice versa. I don’t expect that strategies I used with my girls will be wholly effective on my boy. (Because he’s a different child, not because he’s a boy and they are girls.)

My husband is a psychologist. When he was working for an outside agency as a therapist, he saw a lot of children. I can’t tell you how many times he would come home and say that it wasn’t the children who should be in therapy; it was the parents. (Or at least one of them.) He was such a diplomatic therapist, that he would often find a way to get the parent into individual therapy. Surprising how many times a parent would report to him how much better the *child* was doing after some time.

I wonder if I am there, that mom, that parent. I sense that my child is acting appropriately for her age, not just pushing boundaries, but sailing over and through them. I wonder if I am dealing with it the right way. I mean, obviously not, right? Not if she keeps doing it? (Not the pushing part; kids push boundaries, some harder than others. The going-over boundaries part.)

Can I write *around it* like this, and get feedback? Or is this post so very content free that it’s unhelpful to anyone who wants to help?

I don’t want to write a story that castigates my child. That isn’t helpful to anyone. But I also want to talk about this, put it out there, hear, “Been there done that.” Or at least, if a parent hasn’t been there, some words of consolation, support.

I don’t mean to be mysterious. But I feel if I write about this incident in the wrong way, I’ll be doing more harm (down the line) than good.

But if I don’t find a way to do a better job parenting, I am afraid of the consequences of that, too.

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15 thoughts on “Rock, Hard Place

  1. Email me. Seriously. We may be dealing with the same stuff right about now. I could have written this post word for word, except for the psychologist husband part. I feel like a lunatic lately, like: IS IT ME? WHAT AM I DOING WRONG??

  2. I agree with Jenn. Been there, done that, WROTE A FREAKING BOOK IN FRUSTRATION.

    I will tell you (and hey, why not overshare?!) that part of it WAS me and was my reactions to what was going on. To put it as kindly as possible, PMS made me a crazy person every single month. I finally went to my doctor and got some shit worked out. Things are muuuuuuuuuuuuch better now. I’m not saying that’s what’s going on with you, but it was part of my experience. I hated it and I hated admitting that I wasn’t doing a good job.

    I still have bad days with the kids but I keep my temper about it much better than I did before. The leaping over of boundaries is less and less.

    Not knowing circumstances I’m also going to throw out that it’s still new baby adjustment. That takes a long time for some kids.

    • Also making me cry. Gawd, it’s just so good to not be alone. I mean, it sucks for all of us, but what’s that old cliche about misery and company?

      *group hug*

      So, if it is new baby adjustment, do I just have to ride it out? Because I’m not sure any of us are going to survive the waiting period.

      • You may have to ride it out and be Super Cranky Parents until the child gets herself in order. Step over the line? Punishment. Keep stepping over the line? Loss of privilege/toys. That sort of thing. Basically, make her miserable enough to realize it’s a lot more fun if she just behaves.

  3. I know that you’d never write something that makes your child sound like a horrible human being. Kids are kids. But where better to get advice? You can always email me.

    • I am going to run a non-specific version of the incident past Dan, but if he says “don’t publish that” I’m not going to publish it.

      And: thank you! I really do need to talk about it with other moms.

  4. I wish that I had some advice. I guess the only thing that I can say is that in my 2 1/2 years as a parent I have learned that questioning if you are doing this whole parenting thing right is actually a good thing. It’s good to question your methods (especially when going through a rough phase). I hope you find some answers.

    • I’ve been doing it for six years, and I guess I’m a little scared that I’m still going, “am I a good parent?” But you’re right: not caring would be terrible. Thanks. If I learn anything, I will try to share it here! šŸ™‚

  5. If you feel uncomfortable discussing specifics in such a public forum, you’re probably right. But it’s still nice that you have this network of support you can hook up with in one-on-one “virtual” conversations.

    • I have said it on more than one occasion: Social media has saved my sanity. It’s having the community that helps so much. I am so grateful that people have reached out here to offer advice or comfort!

  6. HUGS!!! Call me!!! or I will call you…
    And I assure you, YOU ARE A GOOD PARENT!!!
    You just need some new “strategery” šŸ™‚
    And some time to yourself. Seriously. One hour a week. EVERY WEEK. For chiropractor, reading, whatever. Something for YOU and YOU alone.
    Hang in there, mama!

  7. You could always run a regular version of the story, reap all the worldly advice, then delete the post. The should keep your kid from seeing it, short of her using hard core computer geekery to dig it out of the archives…

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