I choose to keep a fairly positive and rosy outlook publicly online. I try to keep in mind that the internet is a vast place, and I don't want my kids finding super embarrassing posts about themselves once they are older. I'm sure I post some stuff they will find embarrassing, but I guess what I mean is that I don't want them to have to read a million posts about how their mother wants to pull her hair out or how desperate Mom felt sometimes to just get away once in awhile. I don't want them to feel unloved.
Sometimes, though, I feel like I paint too rosy of a picture. I don't want to give the impression that everything is perfect. It definitely isn't anywhere close to perfect. Almost daily I feel like I have let my kids down, and I vow to do better the next day. Yet almost everyday is a repeat of the day before.
What it boils down to is just simply that parenting is hard. Each kid is so different and just when you think you have it all figured out, something changes.
Landon was an easy baby and a pretty easy toddler. After Kelsey was born, our transition to having two kids was much simpler than I thought it would be, after we found our New Normal (as I like to call it). Kelsey was not an easy baby, but Landon was an awesome and natural big brother. Once he turned three, though, things changed. He became more like the little boy he is today... intense. He has more energy than I can keep up with, talks nonstop, always wants to be out and about doing something, and always is needing something from me. My mom says he's very similar to how I was as a child, but as an adult, I am quite the opposite. I like quiet. I don't like to be on the go all the time. He simply overwhelms me.
Kelsey grew up to be a really easy toddler, as well, but now at three, she also is becoming overwhelming very fast. I don't know why people talk about the Terrible Twos so much, because most of the parents I know will tell you that three is much harder. She has always been stubborn, but stubborn doesn't even begin to describe it lately. She literally does not listen to *anything* I say the first time, and often ends up hurt because she didn't heed one of my many warnings. I struggle when she comes running to me for hugs because as a mother, I want to always kiss away the hurt and make it better, but I also want her to realize that I warned her and her injury could have been prevented.
Supposedly it gets better - and I hope that is true, because right now is a very stressful time for me. I don't want to break their spirits, but I am also trying to teach them social customs and courtesies and discipline of some sort. Complicating things further, I don't really agree with mainstream parenting, but I don't understand alternative parenting styles enough to be successful implementing them.
My instinct is to break and yell... I have learned that I have just about zero patience, and that I myself have attitude problems that I need to work on, because I am the one teaching my children the behavior that I do not like to see them display. I say things and do things I regret even as I am doing them, and I really don't know what else to do. Some days are better than others, and I am trying. I have to admit that the six months since we moved to Missouri have been much worse than the months after I quit my job but still had my friends in Maryland to go do activities with.
We got to Missouri right after finding out I was pregnant with #3, and the combination of having no friends for myself, no friends for my kids, not feeling good, and being exhausted has led me to be something of a hermit. When I do put myself out there, sometimes we end up having a good time, but it doesn't seem to lead to a friendship, just a one-time few hours of fun before we go back to being fairly lonely again. Alone, I could manage this. I am okay being by myself and entertaining myself. My children, however, are social butterflies, and they need more interaction than they are getting.
I never wanted to be the parent who was dying for her kids to go to school. After 4-1/2 years as a working parent, I was so excited to quit my job last year. We really had a great time when I first quit. There is so much to see and do in the DC area, and we enjoyed ourselves. It wasn't perfect, but I loved it and wouldn't change a thing. I even really wanted to home school Landon. The schools near the base where we lived aren't the greatest, and I love the idea of the world being their classroom, instead of being tied to a desk for so long each day. I think I could have done it at the time.
Now, I am almost counting the days until August 15. My Landon will be starting kindergarten that day. A few weeks later, the first Tuesday after Labor Day, Kelsey will start preschool two mornings a week. I am very much ready for school to start. I think that since our move, the kids have had to rely on each other as playmates, and they are getting on each other's nerves, just as I am getting on their nerves and they on mine. We are together alone too much, instead of together with other people like we were before.
I hope school is going to be a turning point for us. We will be forced to keep more of a schedule than we currently are, and we will hopefully make friends. They will meet kids at school and I may meet some other mothers at the bus stop. I know there will be struggles... I am sure Landon will have a hard time with his behavior at school, at first. He is very impulsive and has trouble sitting still and concentrating. I admit that I worry about how he will adjust or if this type of environment is best for him, but I have to let him go and try. I'm sure both kids will be very tired at first, until they adjust to the new routine.
The biggest adjustment for me is the idea that instead of spending my days with these two kids, they are both going to be spending some time away from me. Soon my days will be filled mostly with Kelsey and with a new kid I haven't even met yet. Of course the baby will be MY kid too, but at this point it is hard to fathom what that child will be like, and what our days will look like. I do admit that I am looking forward to grocery shopping with just the baby while Kelsey is in preschool. It is so much easier and faster with a baby instead of with two little kids who want everything and talk to everyone.
I hope, though, that some time away from each other will help us to appreciate each other and really value the time we have together. We always love each other, but right now I end up yelling more than I care to admit. They pick at each other so much, and do things intentionally to make me angry. Of course, once I get angry, they cry and I feel that horrible mama guilt. Because, in my heart, I know that their behavior would be much better if we had a routine and were out of the house more, playing with other kids, and mixing up our activities. In my heart, I feel like their behavior is not only their fault, but my own as well.
They are good kids. They are sometimes overwhelming - for myself and for strangers, even. But they are good kids. They love me more than I sometimes feel I deserve... and I do have to admit that if I am going to blame myself for some of their so-called "bad" behavior, then I have to take credit for some of their good and amazing qualities, as well. Landon loves nothing more than to be assigned a task that he can do to make things easier on me. Kelsey never misses an opportunity to tell me she loves me and give me a hug (I have always hugged and kissed my kids and told them I love them multiple times a day).
Things are easier with a positive outlook, which is another reason why I only post the positives on Facebook. I have to remind myself what I have and how awesome those two little kids are, and how lucky I am to have them and their new baby brother or sister (not to mention my amazing husband!). Life can be hard sometimes, but changes are coming, and this period in our lives will be over in just a couple weeks. The next phase may be more difficult or it may be easier - time will tell. But I have to cherish this for now, because this won't last forever, and I can't get this time back.