Sunday, September 28, 2014
I Hit Rock Bottom and It Made Me a Better Parent
I started to fail as a mom this summer. I had unknowingly given my power to a 3 year old. Ethan was driving me batty on a daily basis over things that shouldn't even matter and I let him. I lost control and had basically let him become the one with the power he was becoming a little tyrant and I was tired, cranky and if I'm being brutally honest ( which is pretty much my point in disclosing this) I didn't care any more. My relationship with my son was horrible and I didn't know how to fix it nor did I think I had the energy. Things that didn't bother me months ago would grate my nerves and the Kindle and the TV had become my saving grace recently. Now don't get me wrong I love my son and wanted him to be nothing but happy but I thought that his happiness meant my unhappiness so I let myself become this bitter, emotionally drained, checked out parent. It was ugly, I was ugly and we fought like cats and dogs. Sometimes I didn't want to be around him and would pray for nap time or bedtime.
Its ugly, it makes me feel horrible but its also the sad truth about the how a big part of our summer was. While I should have been enjoying spending the afternoon at the beach building sand castles and going on bike rides, or sitting at home on rainy days building forts and playing with action figures I was instead wanting to hide and relax with a good book or nap. I had hit rock bottom, our relationship had hit rock bottom. I was becoming the mom I swore I'd never be. I was physically present but had mentally checked out. Sure we had good days but they were flanked and overwhelmed by bad days.
One day it hit me during one of our screaming matches he said something that hit home " Mommy I'm mad at you, your being mean." Now he could have said it for a variety of reasons but it hit me hard and I sat on the floor and cried. He not knowing how horrible of a parent I felt came up and gave me a hug and a "its ok Mommy, I still love you". It was that moment I decided that I couldn't do it anymore, I couldn't be this shell of a parent that I had been, it was time to get myself together and fight for the amazing relationship I normally have with my son. During this time Ethan had become hostile, mouthy, and easily frustrated and in my blindness I didn't know what it was from, looking back it was an obvious case of mimicking behavior around him. "Mommy was being a meany, so why not me too?"
Why did I let myself get like this? I don't know I could blame it on a million different reasons but the reasons don't matter what matters is doing something to change it and remember how to be the best mom I can be. I knew it would be a hard battle to fight, I had let myself and Ethan get into this horrible role shifting rut. He forgot who was suppose to be charge and wasn't going to give up the reigns easily. So what did I do? I sat him down and we talked ( as much as you can talk to a 3 year old). I told him that I knew mommy was being a meany lately and I was sorry, and from now on mommy would only be a meanie if she really had to, but in return Ethan had to be a good listener and help me. That of course wasn't enough ( not that I expected it to be) so we implimented a chore chart and reward system -no more kindle ( his favorite thing) unless the time was earned. He hated this but has since gotten much more use to it. Also I read 1, 2, 3 Magic and I'm pretty sure this book which states the obvious of what every parent knows but is so hard to follow is a huge contributor to helping take back control of my family. There were no " sure fine whatever you want" anymore. I used the program to a T and it worked! He pushed back at first, but after being able to get away with murder for weeks to months its not surprising and it just meant I had to harder, not just for my sake but for his.
But most importantly, more then Ethan needed structure, more then I needed him to listen better, I worked on me. I started yoga and made the conscious effort to be more involved in his every day life. No more trying to hide in my work, no more praying to bedtime. He is only young once and I need to embrace it. Laundry, dishes and anything else can wait. Once I remembered how much fun we use to have it was so much easier and those little things that had been bothering me, I no longer cared about. I was back, we were back. Now when we go out I don't have to feel forced to have fun, because I truly am having fun and remembering to embrace these precious years that will be gone before I know it.
Its been a few weeks since my revelation and we are finally back on track. My relationship with my son had hit rock bottom and it was only then that I saw just how bad things had gotten. No more mentally checked out parent going through the motions of the day, no more nose stuck in a phone ( or internet, sorry blogging world), no more getting mad and yelling over stupid things, he is a child he's not perfect but obviously neither am I. I became present again in his life, not just physically but mentally. I'm back, we're back and things are finally better then ever.