Tuesday, January 10, 2006

SPT {No Theme}


I'm not participating in the SPT theme this week. I had a really shitty morning which has stayed with me most of the day so I just don't want to have to think about the theme. Not this week.
I pride myself on trying to be truly honest with my blogging. I want an honest life in all areas. Because of that I'm taking the risk to tell you about my crappy morning. Many of you compliment me on my relationship with Britton. You write lovely, generous comments about the things I write for him. I appreciate it and it's very encouraging but I often feel you only get one side of who I really am. I often feel like a hypocrite. You read the lovely words but never see the struggle. Are the lovely words the truth? Yes. But it's not the whole truth. Here's the whole truth...
Several years ago when I was part of a chaplaincy program I had the priveldge of becoming friends with a very wise man who counseled me through several personal issues. Over time I shared with him some details about my past. I told him about my childhood, about growing up in a home with a step-father who had definite anger/rage issues, about my eating issues, about the treatment I received from my now ex-husband, and about my divorce. In one of our meetings I remember him asking me, "Michelle, where's your anger?" Anger? What anger? I replied that I felt sad and hurt but I didn't really feel angry. If he were to ask me that question today I'd say, "It was just waiting for motherhood in order to unearth itself." Motherhood has done something to me. It was changed me and quite honestly, I don't like who I've become. I'm a woman always on the edge of a meltdown. I'm a woman who lives with anger and frustration boiling just below the surface. I'm a woman who throws tantrums regularly. And, I'm a woman who honestly questions whether she should have become a mother. I have never felt so powerless and inadequate in all my life. And after days like this morning all I really want to do is disappear...run away someplace where no one can ever find me. Maybe this truth sounds horrific. You may "boo" and "hiss" me behind my back (or in the comments). But if writing this means I portray myself a little more honestly, a little more humanly, then it's worth it. If by writing this one person lets me know that I'm not alone then it's well worth it.
This morning B didn't want to put on his sweatshirt. He was so dead set against it that he crossed his arms across his chest and held them there as tight as he could. I was trying to pry his arms apart and shove them into his sweatshirt. I had 10 minutes before I needed to leave for work and I was loosing this battle. Anyone who has ever said, "Who's in control here? Who's the parent and who's the child?" has never tried to get a stubborn 2-almost-3-year-old to do something they don't want to do. I gave up and was just going to let dad handle it all. But as I was leaving the room I noticed a tub of body butter on the nightstand. In my frustration I picked it up and hurled it across the room. The lid wasn't on tightly so it exploded everywhere. T rushed out of the bathroom and began yelling at me. This was something else because T is very laid back and has never lost his temper with either me or B. T took B into another room and got him dressed while I cleaned up the mess. I have to tell you the truth. When I threw that tub it felt good, really good. All my anger dissipated with the body butter explosion. I almost felt giddy. I laughed at myself, at the mess I had made, at the fool I had been. I felt better...until about half-way to work. Then the guilt set in. Then I felt like the poster child for bad parenting. Do you want to know what NOT to do? Come live with me. I had been angry about the possibility of being late to work again. I had been angry because B wouldn't cooperate. I had been angry because I couldn't figure out what to do to make it all run more smoothly. And I was down right pissed off that Super Dad could breeze right in and get it taken care of with no problem whatsoever. Everything seems to go this way. B and dad get along perfectly. Me and B battle each other to the end...and most of the time he wins. I don't understand! What have I done wrong? I could say more about this topic and the deep, dark secrets below this anger and irony but I don't think I can, not here, not now. It's too private, too petty, and too hurtful to others that I love. It kills me that I love and care for B so much yet I can't get him to put his damn sweatshirt on.
I've spent my day feeling like a complete parenting failure. And these meltdowns, these explosions, these tantrums, they seem to be happening a lot lately. Yeah, like daily. I thought that when T and I moved in together it would help. I wouldn't have to play the single parent role and I would get a lot more help. And Trey does help a lot, more than a lot of men I know. In fact I feel like I have transferred a lot of my parenting duties to him because I just don't feel like I can hack it, I don't feel cut out for this. Motherhood is kicking my butt and I'm not adjusting well. And the frustration, the inadequacy, the powerlessness, it's eating me alive.
I receive so many wonderful compliments about my writing and the things I write to and about B. It always made me feel a bit like a hypocrite because you got to see the lovely thoughts but you didn't get to witness what happened just moments before I sat down to write. Here it is. Here's the truth. The words I write are me. But so is this. This is just not as flattering. The beautiful words and stories is just one side. This is the other side. And unfortunately its not so pretty. Maybe you're shocked and appalled. Maybe you think I never should have hurled the tub of body butter. You're certainly entitled to your opinion and you can let me know in the comments. But, it's really not necessary. I'm my worst critic and I do a really good job of punishing myself for my perceived failures. When it comes to judgment and criticism I don't need a lot of help. I'm pretty good at that all by myself.
I finally saw Crash this weekend (excellent movie!) You may wonder how that has anything to do with this morning's events. It does, just give me a moment. The main theme of the movie was racial prejudice. But a secondary theme that I caught was the idea that all of humanity, no matter who we are, live and function out of our goodness and our woundedness. We have both aspects operating at all times. We all have two sides. I have two sides. It just seems that for me, when it comes to motherhood, the woundedness shows up a lot more often, and that's really weighing on me.

40 Comments:

Blogger Frankie said...

Michelle- First of all, you are so incredibly brave for writing all of this. I know that you think that it's not pretty, but in all honesty, I think this makes you more beautiful. It makes you human. You had the courage to write all of this, to live through everything you've been through. While you are questioning your parenting skills, you're also reaffirming that you ARE a good parent, that you love Britton and would do anything to give him the mother he deserves. I wish that I could say I felt the same way but I don't have children yet. What I can tell you is that every time I long to escape, I think about how I have to do it now, how there will come a time when I have children (hopefully) and won't be able to make drastic moves in my life. It scares me that I may feel trapped by the children that I want so desperately and that I'll resent them for that. I would imagine most mothers feel that way, especially the spirited ones like you. I love the movie Crash and think you're right on point. We all live with this good and hurt within us. You are not alone. You are human. You are a mother. You are beautiful. And Britton and Trey know that too. I think you truly deserve to forgive yourself, as difficult as that may seem. Know that I think the world of you, even if only through blogger eyes. I hope tomorrow is a better day! Hugs, hugs and more hugs....

8:55 PM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

michelle, i do not yet have kids, so i know that i cannot relate to the idea of what it feels like in moments like this with your child. yet this is what i do know. you are doing the best you can. you are doing the best you can. this is what you do. all you can do. and still, there will be moments that just suck. really suck. and in some moments, the best means throwing butter across the room. but you do the best you can. over and over again. and it will be hard. and it will be good. and you will learn. and you will hate some of the lessons and be grateful for others. and grateful for it all at some point. but it is okay if it just sucks right now. thank you for your honesty. this is why i feel so blessed to know you in this blog world.
i am going to light a candle for you and hope that you feel some peace in the midst of your feelings.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Misty Mawn said...

I am not at all Shocked or appalled. I know how you feel...motherhood brings out the worst and best of me. Somedays I dream about the days that I could get up when I wanted, do what I wanted, and be who I wanted... You give up so much being a mom, but you get so much too! We all have these moments...some just handle it better than others...
I have had moments like these...too many! It's really hard, but know that you are so not alone!
Thinking of you!!!!

9:15 PM  
Blogger --erica said...

This is real life. This is what being a mom is. I have four. I understand the struggle and frustration. Every mom does..and is she says she doesn't she isn't telling the truth.
I don't think I realized how truly selfish I was until I became I mom. I don't like that side and I constantly have to fight it. Recongizing it is a huge part of working againist it. Prayer helps.
hugs to you dear. You are not alone.

10:02 PM  
Blogger madness rivera said...

OH MICHELLE - of course you are not alone. 2 & 3 year olds can break your will. And the only reason B probably straightened up for daddy was because he realized you had had quite enough of his stubbornness. They know! Once when Maya was 2, I was so frustrated from her crying and unexplainable stubbornness that I just flopped myself on my bed and cried and I left her in the living room. Looking back it seems so foolish and out of control. Anyway, as I cried she climbed on my bed and petted my head.

When they aren't talking well yet, they don't know how to express what they feel as well and sometimes they just want to push buttons as expression. Practically the day Maya turned 4 she became a different person because she could articulate her thoughts better. I want to tread lightly in regards to advice, but I found that letting go of a bit of the control actually helps, kinda like choosing which battle you want to tackle. They feed off of frustration so when my toddlers were like, "I don't want to wear that!" I just tried not to take it personally or make too much of a big deal, and I would say, "Fine, but it's cold out and when you’re ready Mami has your jacket. Now let's go." And then sometimes B will just want to fight anyway because he can't express well that maybe he doesn't want you to go to work or he wants to sleep more or he doesn’t want to be rushed, and he can't understand why you NEED TO GO NOW . . . ug, it's such a tough age and I SO feel for you. In fact, when my husband and I wondered if we'd have any more children I SPECIFICALLY thought of this toddler age and said, Nope, two is quite enough. Mothers have been having this struggle since Eve gave birth to Abel. Seriously. And releasing what you think is a dark secret must actually make you feel better because I believe every mother has felt a lot of frustration at many different ages of their children’s lives. Hang in there! Meditate your way through, take it day by day, and keep blogging about it. We support you!

10:08 PM  
Anonymous LB said...

I think you are really brave for putting all this "out there" so bluntly and so thoroughly. I know that I am rather obsessed with making myself appear perfect and I'd imagine there's even more pressure to do appear "good" and "ideal" and sunshine-y all the time when it comes to one's role as a parent.

If at all possible, don't be so hard on yourself. It's obvious that your heart and your intentions are good. Listen to the women who will comment here (who are parents and surely know better than I) and feel their compassion and I think you will see that you are not alone, which is a comfort that we all want to feel.

Hang in there.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

I truly believe that if we embrace our dark side, we don't have to live from it as much. Lest you think I'm judging you by saying that, it's quite the opposite. It's something I learned by battling my own demons...I learned that once I acknowledged and accepted them as part and parcel of who I am, they began to settle down. I realize it might not FEEL okay to have these sorts of feelings...but they're your feelings and we all have similar ones. I embrace and accept ALL of you, Michelle. There is NOTHING you can share that would change that. I'm not going to offer advice or suggestions about how to deal with these feelings and emotions--only you know what feels right for you--I can only say that I understand. I understand the anger (even though I don't have a small child)...I understand the self-judgment...I understand the defense of wanting to reveal and yet fearing the result of it. I understand. We can only repress feelings for so long before they surge to the surface...it sounds like maybe yours were under wraps for quite awhile. B. probably helps to bring out these feelings in you because I imagine your feelings for him are so well-rounded...he gets ALL of you. So in a way, he's giving you a gift right now...he's helping you to experience the full spectrum of your feelings, as uncomfortable as that can be. Big hugs.

11:48 PM  
Blogger telfair said...

I am so sorry you had a rough morning...I have to say, the fact that you can be so honest about your feelings is amazing. I read this with rapt attention and felt such empathy and kinship with you...I can't really say "i know how you feel" because I don't have children yet -- but on one level, I *do* know how you feel because I get those feelings of sheer frustration sometimes, too, for other reasons. And it makes me want to throw things too!

Anyone who would be shocked and appalled at your words is someone who might not be very honest with themselves about their own feelings...

I am thinking of you and sending you all the positivity and support I can. As these other women have said before me in this comments section -- "You are not alone!!"

2:25 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

I'm sending you LOVE through my tears right now because you've struck the very chord in my heart about mothering. If I wrote all the things that come up DAILY in my house....

I've wanted to run away more times than I can tell you. Of course even writing that makes me cringe because my mom left me when I was little and how could I even think to do what happened to me?

But it is the HARDEST job I've ever done and I think I'm failing most days. It's 6:17am this morning and I've already gotten into it with Ava. Marc is out of town, I'm single parenting and we've been up every morning at 5:30am. The kid is starving and I'm yelling at her that I need to close my eyes a few more min. and not go downstairs.

Ava and I battle all the time, she doesn't fight as much with Marc. Marc always tells me that it's because I'm her mama that she battles with me the most. He feels that the stakes are much higher with me than him and that she feels the most safe with me and therefore can treat me the crappiest. It helps to think that, it also helps to know that your not alone and that even through all these fights, that Britton KNOWS you love him more than anything and I have to believe Michelle, that this is what matters at the end of the day.

xoxo

3:21 AM  
Blogger ESB said...

Oh my god..I just wrote you a long post, but it got deleted somehow....Will write more in a bit, but for now: the new mantra in our house is from Blues Clues!!! "When you get frustrated...Stop...Breathe....and Think!" Take care, Michelle!!!

5:59 AM  
Blogger Deb R said...

I didn't think you were terrible at all, for any of it - for being frustrated and angry at B, for throwing the body butter, for resenting how much easier things are right now between B and T than between B and you...all that is very normal and human. Hell, at least you threw the body butter at the wall, not at Britton. That strikes me as a release valve sort of act to blow off steam so you don't do anything you'd regret a lot more. Good for you!

I don't have kids, so I can't speak from where you are. But I can tell you from the other side of things that when I was little I was often difficult - I was stubborn, a little spoiled, and I didn't sleep much. And years later, after I was grown, my mother confessed to me that there were times when I was around 2 - 3 years old when she was just SO damn tired, and frustrated, and angry, that she seriously considered just walking away. She never did, she hung in there, but she fantasized about it a LOT.

Yet she loved me and I know that, and I in no way think that made her a bad mother to have those thoughts. She was human!! She was a woman well before she was anyone's mother. And you know what? She was a FABULOUS mother and ended up being one of my very best friends. She died 4 years ago and I still miss her every day.

I really hope you'll try not to be so hard on yourself when you have these feelings. No one said anyone has to be perfect, not even mommies.

6:15 AM  
Blogger mayseek life said...

beautifully said..and questioned...i often smile when i read your posts to your son remembering that loving facet of mothering. as my oldest son turns 19 soon i still experience the heights and depths of emotion in parenting him! awareness of the struggle is the opportunity to be present with life as it actually is...and of course the happiness of it's impermanance--it changes and the cycle continues. breathe..........

6:19 AM  
Blogger kelly said...

oh girlie....what a morning. you are no more frayed than most of us.
we all go through this. you aren't any less honest than the next. i am on edge most days. parenting is the hardest job to be done. and even harder in todays world. every morning you have to roll and of bed, and the day begins on whatever foot your child[ren] choose it to start on.
the reason why i love reading your posts, is because of your honesty. and anyone who uses the internet to communicate must know that there are two sides to each and everyone of us. so vent it is okay!

i have stomp my foot so hard in anger in the past that numbness ranup through my leg for the day...how is that for a tantrum.

smile!

6:32 AM  
Blogger red sun said...

what a wonderful post! really, truly honest and brave... and inspiring. yes, inspiring because you are really experiencing yourself and are aware of everyone around you in that moment. that is a virtue, a gift. you should embrace it. i think we're our best when we're most honest so, thank you, for showing us your "best" moments. although they may seem ugly to you, they are at least honest, so you've gotta feel good about that! as far as motherhood, please absorb the wonderful words of other comments and really know that you are not alone. even with those who are not (yet) mothers, like myself, your frustration your guilt your anger; the whole package. you are NOT alone. i'm often scared because i think that, with my almost weekly tantrums, i'm so very far away from being the person i want to be as a mother and as a woman. but, they are a part of who i am and, at the very least, i understand them more than when i was younger. with age, i think, comes patience and with this patience we'll truly be able to find peace. have patience with yourself first! and know that B will in all ways love you.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous yolie said...

Dear Sweet Overwhelmed Michelle, you are doing a great job! You didn't throw it at him! If a two/three year old doesn't get you to feel your ugliest he's not doing his job. I feel for you sister, I remember that time in my Emily's life as one of the worst and hardest things I ever lived through and I cringe when I think of some of my melt downs. You will get through this day and the next and the next.
I felt the same thing about this movie. How damaged we all are somehow someway. Very powerful.
Hang in there, tomorrow will be better and today you have friends who love and support you and understand you. Lucky girl!

7:06 AM  
Blogger Toni said...

I know exactly how you feel. I control anger and stuff it inside just like you. I often want to throw something but never do because "it's not right, logical etc." I am the mother of three. Two of my children are grown but I still have an 8 year old at home.
And we clash quite often and super daddy jumps in and fixes it.
When I was young I used to pound pillows and yell into them. Those spaghetti things are good to pound on the ground, wall or bed. We often just need to get it out, but we need to do it safely.
No, you aren't a terrible mother. You didn't hit him or throw anything at him.
And I saw Crash this weekend also. Such a powerful movie.

7:34 AM  
Blogger bella said...

Hi Michelle - I hope you're feeling a little bit better today. I had a very hard time adjusting to motherhood because I had my girl at a later age. I was thrusted into this world of diapers, bottles and colic after a life of doing whatever I wanted. It was a hard adjustment. I spent the first 2 years of motherhood upset because I expected the fairy tale child that I read about in books, but ended up with an active, semi high needs, crazy girl. I've experienced anger the way you have, I've lost it a few times, but the one thing I learned through a great bunch of women on a Positive Parenting sight was to breathe.. and keep practicing that breathing technique.
Not that this would work for everyone, but it does help.
And, my dear, life with a toddler does get alot better after 2 &1/2 - 3 years old. And, kids usually behave horribly for their main caretaker and favor the more absent parent. I don't know if that's your situation, but, it usually works like that.

Anyway, sending you hugs and hope your days get lighter.

8:12 AM  
Blogger ArtsyMama said...

Michelle...THANK YOU for putting yourself out there. THANK YOU for being so honest. THANK YOU for making me realize that I'm not the only one that also feels like a failure at this mother thing. As you know my son is autistic, on top of that he won't use silver ware, drink out of a cup, use a straw, the list goes on and on. I see all the other two year olds doing this AND talking up a storm. I often wonder how everyone else seems to know what to do, how to handle it and what the hell is wrong with ME! Your post made my eyes well and my heart pound. I wish I could give you a hug, make it all feel better. I loved reading all the other comments that you've received. It sounds like there are tons of other mommies out there feeling the exact same way. How will we get through this? I don't know. But I KNOW we will!!!

8:16 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

oh my god...i can't tell you how
NOT alone you are...
i have often felt that
"i do not like the person/mom/wife i have become"
kind of feeling...
i often think that this isn't the kind
of mom i ever thought that i would portray...and my kids are 10 and 6!!!!
i feel guilt that even though i am home
with my kids all the time, they still
don't get the best of me because i AM home all the time...
there are no right answers
and there is no perfection
and there is no going back
there is only today
and what you can provide right now
in this moment...
you know you love him and he knows you love him and that is unconditional...

and the fact that you are aware
that you reacted strongly to what happened with the body butter
is what matters in my opinion...
its not like you are justifying it,
but you can accept it for what it was
and then move on...

all kids go through power struggles,
my best advice as a parent
and as a childcare provider and
early childhood educator is
to pick your battles....
ask yourself how important is it that this specific thing get done...if not, let it go...or give a choice...you can wear this or this, then he still gets that feeling of control...

hope this is making sense...
i was just so sad and upset and
filled-with-wanting-to-make-u-feel-better
that i have rambled out a book here
in your comments, heehee

write me soon,
i promise your letter is
on my desk in a sealed envelope
just waiting for me to stop
procrastinating and mail it!!!!
:)

you are going to do fine.
this will pass.
:)

8:49 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Thanks for your honesty. I think we all know that blogs really only show what the writter wants shown. Thanks for showing this side of you, it's a side I know is common. You are not a bad mother or person, being a mother is HARD. I've felt the same exact things you wrote. Extreme anger, which I showed, faliure as a mother, I'm not cut out to be a mother. I've said all that. I wish that I could be there to give you a hug. I don't know the solution, I think as they get older mothering changes and challenges different parts of us. We all have horrible days, just know that.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Swirly said...

My darling dear...I think what you are is normal. I will never forget a friend of mine talking about her three young daughters, and she said, "God had to make little kids cute, otherwise we'd kill them." Every mom I know has said something like this at one point or another, and all of these moms are brilliant moms with fabulous kids. There is no perfect road. There is no perfection. You wil someday share this story with your son and the two of you will crack up. I mean, come on, hurling a tub of body butter that splatters all over the walls? When you step back a little, that is actually kind of funny...

9:12 AM  
Blogger Living Part Deux said...

Words of wisdom - there is life on the other side, Sweetie, when you have made all the mistakes you can beat yourself up with, there your child is, someone wonderful. Even though you feel all you did was screw up, somehow it all came together for good and you adore who they became. Then you realize you did a lot right, too.

The term "terrible twos" is not just a cliche. It is an awful time! The personality and will of your child is exerting itself big time, but (as someone already commented) they don't have the skills to express themselves. All that equals great frustration. And because you want to be the kind of mother you want to be - PERFECT - you take it all personally when your two strong wills collide. My mother told me early on that when a child is frustrated and obstinate or even hysterical, the interruption of interaction - enter ANYONE else, and the earth shifts, allowing the child to relax. Of course you feel you failed and Trey succeeded. But the change of energy is what released the pressure for both of you (oh and throwing the cream - good going!.

I wanted to be a mother that Bethany could be so proud of. I never wanted to yell in front of her or show raw, ugly emotion. That resolve lasted until she was about two weeks old and wouldn't stop screaming, which led to my exhausted wailing. Voila, I was a bad mother. My own mother showed no anger, no hysteria. So I was sure I was alone in my horrible state. I was NOT alone. You are NOT ALONE. You're normal. You just may need to find some quiet time for just you - without Britton - and listen to yourself about where the anger is originating. You might surprise yourself.

You are a great mother, with normal emotions, and extraordinary ideals. And you are producing a great child - with the strong will you want him to have. It would be worse if he were simply placid. Now THAT would be scary from a two-year-old. Pick your fights - for your sake.

Sending you lots of love!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Bethany said...

I don't know what it is about parenting, but it brought out the anger in me, too. I don't know if it was still the imbalance of hormones, or just the overwelming responsibility (What had I done, having a child?!!!), or what, but it just made me ... raw. Everything was on the surface, all the good stuff and all the bad. No one had ever told me I would feel that way. I felt betrayed by all the women who'd gone before me, but really, would I have believed it before I had kids? Probably not.

I have no advice, just loads and loads of sympathy and love. It does get better.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Nicoile said...

I would offer that you have more than two sides. Many, in fact, and each of them deserving of some attention. Don't feel like you can share all of them here. We are all struggling with these issues; they are part of being human, and they are part of motherhood.

We don't do our children any favors by hiding our feelings from them. THEY feel angry too. THEY throw things too. And what do they have to do? Sort through it in the best way they know how (with our guidance) and clean up the mess.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Samantha said...

For the record, I always feel better when I throw something. Shoes are best, I have found, especially when you pick them up and throw them in the closet. But I have been known to throw them at walls -not a good choice, as it leaves an ugly mark.

I'm sending out so much love and support to you RIGHT NOW - you are brave and honest and TRUE to share the 'ugly' side of your relationship with Britton. Perhaps if we stop calling it 'ugly' and just admit that it's part of the package deal of the child/parent relationship, it would ease the guilt when it gets so hard. I have no babies of my own, just the few things I've learned from being present for my goddaughter's life, but I know it's hard. It's maddening and frustrating and OH the twos! They are terrible! It is true! GBK is almost two and can be just awful to her mama sometimes.

Anyway, sending you love and light and when I get home will send you the recipe for Chocolate Stuff - if not for now, for some other rotten day when Scrubs isn't there to make you laugh.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an AMAZING post. AMAZING. SO powerful and true.

I am not a parent but I have close friends who are and I PROMISE you, you are not alone in these feelings of frustration and anger. It's all part of the package somehow (maybe the booby prize?) but you are NOT alone.

What you are is BRAVE and TRUE and so healthy for being able to put it all out there-- I think the trouble lies in when women hide these truths behind a mask of "perfect momminess" and then the depression or what have you sets in because, hello Parenting another human being is THE most demanding, difficult, extraordinary job in the world.

And you are doing a FABULOUS job.

I think it is fantastic that you could throw something across the room. Fantastic! I need to learn to get in touch with my anger-- it would be agreat thing if I started throwing things!

~Elizabeth
http://bluepoppy.omworks.com

12:12 PM  
Blogger LiteraryGirl said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I, too, struggle with anger. I have for a long time, but having children has increased the problem. Many nights I have cried myself to sleep because of shame over how I behaved. I am working on taking a step back, putting things into perspective...but man, in the moment, that is soooo hard to do. It could be a lifelong struggle, but I certainly hope not. You are not alone, and it's nice to know that neither am I!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Mary-Sue said...

Wow. first of all, thank you for finding the COURAGE to write your truth. look at the outpouring of support that flows through these comments? and you know what? every single one of us who are mothers needed to read every single word in YOUR entry as well as all the soothing words in these comments. mothering is an angry job! it's the most loving thing we will ever do in our entire lives, and so the law of energy rears its ugly head: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. it's the most LOVING job you will ever have so it will also be the most angry job you will ever have. It will be the most rewarding of anything we'll ever do, but it will also take the most out of us...
I have blogged about my angry moments a lot. Because even though I KNOW this is normal, it somehow doesn't make it easier to accept when I've had a morning just like yours...
you are a brave soul and your son is lucky to have a REAL mother. he will not grow up thinking that perfection is the only acceptable relationship. he will KNOW about balance, about ugliness, about beauty. he will be able to laugh about splattered butter on the wall, about empty moments as those infused with joy and acceptance. and THAT is a true gift. not just to him but to his future wife as well! Yay you, braveheart!

2:23 PM  
Blogger christina said...

Lovely Michelle, as every other mama said before me: this too shall pass. And. It is the messy part that allows us to grow. Confronting these dark sides. I think we all tend to veer away from them. Yesterday for me was wonderful--but today I woke up sick. My husband and I bickered constantly. My son pushed every button and he's only 11 months old. I can only imagine the anger and frustration you must feel with a child who has more of their own sense of self.

I think that you writing this all out, and not worrying about the messiness of it is so important. We ALL have two sides!

Hugs to you!

4:27 PM  
Blogger artjunk~ said...

WOW! I just read yesterdays post and it was MOST powerful. You are very good at articulating what many Mom's have felt at one time or another. you brought up a very interesting thought to ponder: parenting bringing out latent anger....hmmm...think that happened to me as well, never thought of it that way. Sometimes I just feel stretched beyond what I am capable of and pulled in so many directions, anger is a way of "fighting back" when I'm frustrated. Sometimes I just get tired and want a BREAK! I'm glad I read your post, all your posts come across as very honest and thought provoking, no matter the topic!

6:55 PM  
Anonymous lela said...

oh gosh... i could tell you stories, but i won't. i will tell you that you've expressed an experience that i can really relate to. sometimes it's like standing outside of your body watching...
you're not alone... just keep trying to do better for the next moment... you can't change what just happened, but you CAN learn from it. (that's what i live by)

xoxoxoxoxo

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Beansprout said...

Dearest Michelle,

I am not a mother but still I can relate to what you have written here. It is very courageous of you to recognise your own humanity. Given all these amazing comments, clearly you are not alone. Someone once said to me the two most magical words in the English language are "next time." Keep learning...you're doing fine...

8:37 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Your vulnerability and honesty amazes me. I think you were correct when you said you are your worst critic. I would never doubt for one minute your love for your son. While I am not a mom, I can relate to what you have said because it is real, it is a struggle we all have as human beings.

9:29 PM  
Blogger chronicler said...

I just found you through Kim's place. (littlesomethings)

Wow. I could have written this piece 20 years ago. I so recognise myself in your writing. It was not until my children were born that the anger kicked in. I had always been my mother's(the train wreck) perfect child out of fear for making our lives just that much worse. Once my oldest came along, she seemed to be the conduit for everything I was angry about. It caused so much conflict between my husband and me.

i applaud your willingness to share your feelings, and wish that maybe we had been peers. Don't let it get you down. It's your honesty that will keep you sane.

7:57 AM  
Blogger K. Wyatt McMahon said...

So, when I was a boy, my sister and I could get on my mom's last nerve. I mean, we could really, really handle that. About once every couple of months she would stop doing what she was doing, sit down, look sad and say, "I think I'm just going to run away." My sister and I were sweet enough to tell her, "We'll go with you mom." Little did we know who she wanted to run away from. I love that story!

9:55 AM  
Anonymous melanie said...

Michelle, I definitely don't think less of you... in fact, I too have had very similar struggles with my own kids where I ended up feeling like a failure of a parent. It's real life. Messy and complicated and gritty sometimes. Bravo to you for sharing some of the grit and allowing us all to benefit from the outpouring of support that followed. Hugs to you!

2:10 PM  
Anonymous nikol said...

hi chelle,

someone told me just yesterday, "we are all a combination of light and dark, and they both deserve love."

i love your humanness, i am glad to know you and call you friend...

-nikol

8:51 PM  
Blogger eireann said...

I just found you via love-joleen (I think) and read this--this is so honest and real and brave to write, it's even making me get pressure-tears behind my eyes. It's a hard thing, this bloggy world, because we're supposed ('supposed' by ourselves and feel the pressure, real or invented, from others) to be good, happy, up, okay all the time. Obviously not possible. It's really good to read someone's self-examination here, too. Sounds very human, very sane. Very hard, too. Thanks for it. Take care.

8:02 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

oh michelle. I'm probably not going to say anything any differently than what's been said here already but I'm going to say it anyway. I. HEAR. YOU. loud and clear, I hear you and I feel you and I relate on so many levels it's almost alarming. what has surprised me most about this whole motherhood gig is the light and the dark that it brings out in me. the lightest of light (the best) and the darkest of dark (the worst). I was not prepared for this and so many times I have found myself on my knees, praying for patience, for peace. I too am with someone who is laid-back (for the most part) and he struggles with my anger, my frustration, my temper. can't tell you how many times he has said, "you need therapy." and I usually agree because he's probably right. although, writing about motherhood (and other things) in both a private journal and not-so-private blog has been the best thing for me. there's so much power in the release! even better is this ultra-supportive community that I have found myself a part of... reading your words here makes me feel not so crazy. not that I would wish these feelings on you or anything... but knowing someone out there struggles just like I do, that we can comfort and encourage each other. it's an amazing thing.

anyway, I'm thinking of you.

2:58 PM  
Blogger laurenbove said...

Wow: You must feel pretty good about posting this one. The comments were all very thoughtful and supportive. Acumama...you rock...Samantha had me laughing...

You dear one are too sweet to be true. If you even worry about throwing something out of the king of all frustrations - toddlerhood - then you aren't so naughty as you think.

The truth is just what you wrote and we all have been there. Kids or no kids. (but especially with kids ;)

I feel that way every single day and so does my dh. Our three year old screamed all the way from Orange, CT to Fairfield for no reason whatsoever. I will be writing on that one so if you care to commiserate come on down, my sistah!

xoxo

3:19 PM  

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