Friday, October 21, 2011

Lemons to Lemonade

I've started typing this post, then erased it and started over again probably three or four times now.  There's so much I want to say, but trying to figure out the best way to make sense of the jumbled thoughts in my head right now is proving to be more difficult than my sleep deprived "I have a 7 week old baby" brain can handle.  So, I'm just going to roll with it.

First and foremost, I am extremely humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of supportive and amazing comments I have received in the last couple days.  Comments on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and emails have been pouring into my inbox and each and every one has touched my heart.  I heard from family members, friends from high school and college, former co-workers, people I know only in the "online world," and even from total strangers.  It's been incredible. 

It's so easy to feel lost.

One of the reasons I chose to share the tough moments of raising my boys here on the blog was so that if other mothers were experiencing similar struggles, she would know that she isn't alone in that battle.  Unfortunately, I still felt somewhat alone in my battle and my negative self-talk was starting to get to me.  The voices in my head were telling me, "You're a bad mother.  If you can't control that boy at 2 years old, what's it going to be like at 12?  You'd better get it together or you're going to ruin that poor boy forever!"  Nice, huh?  When that comment showed up on the blog, Suesie333 really didn't say anything that the negative voices in my brain hadn't already whispered in my ear time and time again.

This just in folks.  God knows what he's doing.

After my initial meltdown after reading the words that pierced my heart like a dagger, reading the outpouring of loving word from so many people was exactly what I needed.  If ever I felt alone in my struggle with a tough toddler, I didn't anymore.  In fact, those of you who commented that you appreciated reading about the difficult times as well as the good will also benefit from reading a few of these gems.  I want to share some excerpts from the messages I've received with you in the hopes that you find them as uplifting and encouraging as I did.

We all have frustrations and difficulties. The easy thing to do is ignore them, or hope that they go away. Then they just fester and eat away at us from the inside. What takes courage is sharing our struggles, reaching out for help, showing our own weaknesses in the hope of moving forward.

I could have written that post on more than occasion about Willem.  He was and still is a very strong-willed child- just more, more demanding, more willful, when he laughs, he laughs louder, when he screams it is like fingernails down a chalkboard.  He is by far the most challenging to me on many levels.  I can offer you hope.  He is getting better.  Part of it is age, but he will also ALWAYS be all of these things.  And  I, too, have wanted a fourth child but thought, "How on earth would I handle it when having Willem is actually like having two or three with just him- and what if I got another super spirited child?  It doesn't mean I don't love him to pieces...

I think ALL moms have those days (or even weeks) whether or not they are willing to admit it or not. Being a parent is TOUGH! There is no instruction manual. Each child is different, so what worked for one will not necessarily work for another.

In mom's groups this is the kind of stuff we talk and vent about.  It is better than throwing poor little Micah out the window!!   I had the urge a few times when Oliver was little.  He was the same way...still has it occasionally when tired.  Just remember it gets better.  Nursing was the worst.  He learned that while I was nursing he could do whatever he wanted.  Oh that year was really tough.  I used to put the back of Thane's nuk in my mouth and bite on it.  I think it was the only way to not totally lose my temper.

I was so stressed by my 2 and 3 year old that I actually couldn't wait to go to work most days. Not sure if you'd remember that or not, but I felt like all I did all day, every day was holler at them. Your blogging about your frustrations is healthy and therapeutic for you. And honestly, you're probably voicing what so many parents of toddlers are thinking. I know I've been there, and would never judge another parent being frustrated about the behavior of their child.

And that isn't even close to all of them, people.  Mamas coming out of the woodwork to share their stories of frustrations and difficulties!  This is a tough, tough job and we are definitely in it together.  I had gotten so caught up in convincing myself I was failing that I completely forgot that I'm not the first woman on the planet to deal with a strong-willed little stinker!

Second, I also received a lot of feedback on the idea of making the blog private.  My husband is 100% against it since it has introduced me to so many wonderful friends and that I continue to receive a couple emails every month from people who nearly fell victim to a Craigslist scam if not for my blog post.  Since we wives never tend to listen to our husband's opinion as the be all end all, I still wasn't convinced.  Once again, it took some wonderful emails from friends like Marissa, family members like Maribeth, and complete strangers like Sandra to convince me otherwise.

Ok, you win.  We'll stay public.  :)

Lastly, and most important, I want to ask you to take a moment and say a prayer for the person who left the original comment that started this whole drama.  I don't know Suesie333.  I have no idea where she lives or what her story is.  It could very well be that this woman has struggled with infertility for years and years and would love nothing more than to have a child of her own, but is unable to.  Or perhaps she is in the process of adopting a child.  Or maybe she lost a child.  It could be that she was raised in a home where she was that tough to handle kid who heard a lot of screaming from her parents out of anger.  Whatever her story, what she saw was this young mom with three kids complaining on a blog about how terrible her two year old is.  She saw that boy's cute face (because let's face it, Micah is pretty darn cute) and just got too upset not to leave a comment.  So please join me in sending up a prayer of love for Suesie333.  I pray that whatever is troubling her, whatever hurt has been done to her that caused her to lash out at a stranger, would be eased by the peace of our Father.  And despite what my husband said in his protective alpha-male moment, I say she's welcome to stop back again soon and know that there was a community of people with a prayer on their lips....just for her.

And we'll talk again soon.  I promise.

I can't wait to tell you all what Isaiah said while we were in the clinic for my appointment to get an IUD put in.  Everything is funnier when you're in stirrups and there's a clamp on your cervix.  Trust me. 

Until then.

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