When I decided to start blogging again, I promised myself I would be transparent. I would stop pretending to be Miss Perfect and show
the world my readers that you can live a fulfilling life despite your trials and struggles.
Yes, I know that bloggers are not obligated to delve deep into their personal lives. And some things are really none of your business – like the facts that I neither wear underwear (except for A Certain Time Of The Month) nor shave any part of my body.
Not your business at all. So I’m not going to tell you such things.
Still, on this blog, I want to encourage people to journey toward their dream life despite the pitfalls, roadblocks and shortcomings they encounter. And to do that, I need to put myself out there as an example. I’m already pretty out there, so how big of a deal will it be?
The Main Reason
The main reason I struggled with motherhood until recently was that I never wanted kids. And I mean, never. I more or less allowed myself to get pregnant to oblige my husband.
Okay, in the spirit of transparency, it was more complicated than that. But the complicated parts really are none of your business.
As a veteran schoolteacher and one of four siblings, I knew how kids could be, and the responsibility they put on a person. The heartache they can cause.
I did not want that. Any of it.
But I got pregnant anyway. Combine that with the depression that plagued me, and you are asking for a psychological Hurricane Katrina times 10.
Life with our baby
Sleep? What is sleep?
Huh? The book says I’m supposed to nap for two whole hours? Twice a day? Ha, ha! You’ll be lucky if I’m down for twenty minutes a couple of times a day, lady.
And I can’t help it if I wake up every two hours to nurse. You should have had bigger boobs that would hold more milk.
Life with our toddler
Here’s what it was like when we would leave the park: a screaming, thrashing fit in the stroller – to the extent that once our son threw himself head-first out of it and smacked his forehead on the asphalt.
(Yes, I’ve sometimes wondered if that made it worse, too. But he didn’t get a concussion, so let’s say his brain was already as whacked as it was going to be before that incident.)
Here’s what it was like to change his diaper: he would laugh hysterically and writhe around, making it almost impossible to complete the task. I think he might have been doing it on purpose…and this time, I’m not joking.
Here’s what it was like when he was tired: he would run around like a wild person, laughing and shrieking. If we had let him alone, he would have broken everything that was breakable. He also would snatch things and hide them – every day items that we needed. My mother never did recover a little cap from a gnome figurine that B decided to hide while we were visiting one time.
Here’s what it was like the rest of the time he was awake: non-stop movement. I was exhausted most of the time, and frustrated because I struggled to get the most basic chores done.
Here’s how he responded to any kind of discipline: Not. At. All. No exaggeration. He totally didn’t get it.
On the plus side: he would always sit calmly for a book. And later, for videos, but I waited as long as I could to introduce the world of screens.
Life with our preschooler
Much the same as when he was a toddler, only bigger. However, he did begin to be okay with leaving the park (or other fun activities) as long as he was given plenty of warning.
He also finally began sleeping through the night.
Yep. At age three.
However, the meltdowns started around age four. You think they’re bad at two. Uh-uh. I only wish he’d gone through that phase at two. He was smaller and easier to control.
The attention-deficit began to show itself in all its splendor. He could only handle one instruction at a time, and we started to hear a lot of “I forgot,” and, “What did you say?” (after we had told him something three times in increasingly louder tones).
By this time, he was experiencing two witching hours a day. What is a “witching hour”, you ask? It’s the time of day, usually late afternoon, when kids get either whiny or hyper (or both) because the day has gotten way too long for them.
B’s behavior went beyond hyper. And the witching “hour” would last for at least two hours. That wouldn’t have been so bad, except he couldn’t confine the time to once a day, like most children. Oh, no. He had two witching hours (er, times) per day, the first right after lunch and the second at around 3:00 p.m.
The problem? He needed to nap, but he refused. He had quit napping before he turned three. Life was apparently just too interesting to miss.
However, J began to dread coming home from work.
And our marriage relationship was suffering by that point.
Life with our 5- and 6-year old
One year, he pulled a tomato plant (or two, I can’t quite remember) out of my garden.
Yes, he knew what it was and how important it was to Mommy. This is just one of innumerable examples of the incidents that caused J and me constant frustration and stress.
He was by this time responding to discipline (usually Love And Logic or stern talking-to’s), but when he was in one of his two daily wild phases, nothing could stop him except (sorry to say) a painful swat on the rear and sending him to his room.
I felt like a complete failure as a parent.
A light at the end of the tunnel
Life kept sucking until a few months before we moved. B had just turned seven. He would still have meltdowns when things didn’t go his way. Still had crazy spells (always worse a day or two before a full or new moon, and the first few days before a Mercury Retrograde. And no, that’s not superstition. That’s science).
Then, Holy Spirit led me down a path that caused me to realize that B may be deficient in some nutrients. I muscle-tested and discovered it to be so. I started adding vitamin C (Ester-C), B6, and magnesium to his morning smoothies.
A month later, J and I could tell the difference. One of our neighbors on our mountain could tell the difference. He was no longer throwing a fit every time he didn’t get his way. The “witching hours” were decreasing in time and intensity of wildness.
I wanted to slap my head. Why did it take me, who is supposed to be well-versed in nutrition, so long to figure this out?
By the way, for those of you savvy enough to wonder, yes, I did try taking him off both gluten and dairy at two different times. No effect. And he only ever eats processed foods once in a blue moon.
After the move
Things were better with him, but not great. A big part of the problem was that J was constantly busy working on homestead projects, and B was not happy that he wasn’t getting the attention he wanted.
I’m going to skip a whole bunch of details and get to the revelation I finally had last year: our son has ADHD. Whether it was my fault because I was severely deficient in magnesium when I was pregnant (I know because of the severe restless legs I suffered – at the time I didn’t know the cause), or because of any other reason, J and I had to face the fact. It helped us to understand him better.
And then the light shone in my face
A couple of months ago, I realized that B had grown much calmer. Was a lot more fun to be around. Oh, sure, he still has his moments, but he is more in control of himself than ever.
I’m not sure what to chalk it up to. Maturity? (He’s almost ten.) Serious stress reduction? (The past four years have been very stressful for all of us – culminating with the building and finishing out of our earth-sheltered house.) Building up of nutrients in his system that suddenly made something in his brain click?
Likely a combination of the above.
But, between that and my deliverance from perfectionism not long after (connection??), I no longer despise being a mother.
Actually, I’m rather enjoying it. Even though B still sometimes gets crazy (usually moon-phase related), hides necessary items (during said crazy periods), and needs to be told a thing twenty-seven times before it penetrates into his brain.
Would I be enjoying motherhood if B was still having wild fits twice a day? Maybe not as much, but not being depressed makes everything in life easier to deal with. And not expecting my son to be perfect.
The down-to-brass-tacks reasons
I have hated being a mother because I have held too high expectations for other people, myself, and my life. Doesn’t help that I didn’t want the baby growing inside of me until I was in my third trimester of pregnancy.
But really, what both those reasons come down to is selfishness and fear. The end.
I hope you still love me. 😉