Saturday, November 30, 2013

the importance of sharing the bad days

Today has been what I would qualify as a 'bad' day of parenthood.

It has been one of those days that brings you to your knees, curled up in a ball outside of your wailing toddler's room, tears hot on your cheeks, at a complete loss of how to parent this child well. A day filled with tantrums, minimal sleep, and unexplained crying. I don't know how to help you; I don't know what's wrong. An hour and a half past bedtime, he finally falls asleep in your arms. You rest your eyes, soaking in the dark peace of his bedroom and recognize how much you needed the silence--the silence which is temporary, of course, because when you finally lay him down and tiptoe out of the room it is just fifteen minutes before a coughing fit wakes him and he realizes how miserable he is once again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And you know what? Nothing is more isolating than the bad days. Doubt about your abilities as a parent creep up and you find yourself wondering how you will ever survive the rest of your existence if this is a sign of what's to come. You are a failure as a mother. Your child deserves better. Anyone who is a personal Facebook friend of mine is well aware of our bad days because I rant and rave about it via status updates. I know that this annoys quite a few, especially my friends who haven't experienced parenthood. The truth is, this is how I cope. I am an external processor. It is no secret that Elden has been a challenge since Day 1 but I continue to be dumbfounded by just how much of a challenge being his parent can be. He is strong-willed. Stubborn like his da. He frustrates easily like his mama and resolves himself to a fit when he can't communicate his needs with you, which is often. Yet, the hardest thing about a bad day isn't the day itself, but instead the fact that I often feel like we are the only parents who experience them on a semi-regular basis. I see my friends children who are apparently beacons of peace, compliance and goodwill. I come to this conclusion because no one ever shares with me that they are having a bad day. That parenthood has crushed their confidence. Maybe it's the fact that I'm a compulsive over-sharer so I'm totally confused as to why others wouldn't share when they're struggling over relatively menial tasks like trying to mail a package at the post office that took 12 time longer than it needed to, a lot of judgmental stares, and a single offer by a sweet elderly woman to help me that resolved me to tears because yesIabsolutelycouldusesomehelp.

There's just so much value in sharing every single struggle we encounter. We do one another a disservice by keeping it in to save face, avoid sounding like a whiney Danielle, or [insert your reason here]. It can be a lesson, tips of how you conquered various mountains that seemed impossible at the time. It can be a simple reminder that yes, this will indeed get easier with time and it is perfectly normal to question every single parenting decision you make. It can help someone who is struggling to not feel so alone, like so much of a failure. It also helps prevent resentment from bubbling up because why in the world is everyone else's child so perfect? I know I've been hidden from many-a-newsfeeds due to my incessant updates about our struggles and that's okay. If I can help just one other person feel less alone on their bad days it's worth it.

5 comments:

  1. Girl, I applaud you for sharing this! Not easy, I'm sure. And I absolutely know you're not alone in all of this! I think I recently shared with you via blog comment how I had a complete mama meltdown the other day after battling Ellie over a diaper change. Yes, a freaking diaper change. It was just the straw that broke the camel's back I suppose. Lots and lots of tantrums here with our strong willed child as well. :)

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    1. Jess, you are one of the few bloggers I follow that has been open with her struggles-from infertility to your difficulties with breastfeeding and Ellie's strong will. I am so grateful for your honesty, truly. We are in this together!

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  2. I love your post. This is so true. I don't always share my bad days on my blog, but that's because I have a Mom group for just that reason. The women in it are so real and don't pretend they are parenting the angelic child. I'd love to smack talk and vent with you anytime, because girl, this parenting things is not easy. Especially in the early days(my little girl had a touch of colic also, with a milk protein allergy). And it doesn't get easier, but it's totally worth the hair pulling and screaming I imagine myself doing.

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    1. Kacie, how did you find your Mom group? Perhaps this is an outlet I should explore! I'm also sorry that Sadie (yes I follow your blog ;)) had colic in the beginning! That is an experience I don't wish on my worst enemy!

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  3. It's called Stroller Strong Moms. It's actually a mom workout group, but I know there are many regular mom groups out there also. Check out Meetup and you might find some!

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