30 March 2007

it all started with a piece of french toast

Parenting is hard. It is, as they say, not for wimps.

I had a horrible morning with Blue. She would not eat even a bite of her french toast. That I made for her. That she usually loves. Not a single bite. So after 2 time-outs and much me screaming like some psychopath, I sent her to bed. And now it is very quiet up there, so I think she may just be very tired and possibly napping already.

After I sent her to bed I went into my room and cried my eyes out to Jonathan. What is the matter with me? How can I lose control--so utterly--over toast? I don't want Blue to be afraid of me. I don't want to be some crazy Mommy Dearest.

And he said all the wonderful things he should say: that I am fine. That it's normal to lose it sometimes. That he even heard Kathy Davenport of all people screech at little Sam the other day (which I have trouble picturing, but very reassuring nonetheless). That maybe children should be a little afraid of their parents. It's a good thing--then they might actually listen to you.

And I know all of this. I do. It's just... I hate losing control like that.

Especially over food. How many articles have I read and how many times have I told myself or Jonathan or anyone within speaking distance, "I will not make food an issue. Look at all the eating disorders out there. Look at Nicole Ritchie for God's sake! Where'd she go? ...blah blah blah... The minute you freak out and turn it into a battle for control, it's over. ...blah blah blah... Kids want control over something, and this is an area where they can have it. Just leave a kid alone and they will eat." Then what happened? Then I have Blue who is so tall for her age and so skinny and what do I do? I turn food into an issue.

It is so hard. I want to be Mommy. Nice, comforting Mommy. Not Mommy who goes all crazy and screechy over a piece of toast... I'm not saying I'm going to be one of those moms on "Nanny 911" who cannot discipline their children at all because they want their children to like them. I mean, I am stronger than that. And I know that rules are important. That little children actually need them, need consistency and ritual in their daily lives. I get that. It's just hard. How do you choose these rules? And how important are they? Does not eating breakfast really merit 2 time-outs and being sent to bed? What if it's my Blue not eating breakfast? My Blue smirking at me when I threaten time-out if she doesn't at least take a single bite?

I will stop being so judgmental of those poor women on "Nanny 911." I will. I will be more supportive of all moms in general from now on. Because it is hard. Haaaard.

One day, maybe my Blue will be a mother. And she will call me all upset like I called my mom this morning. And I will tell her, "It's going to be okay. Little Whatsit will be fine. Look how great you turned out (because she will turn out great, with or despite my help), and I was a mess. I even went psycho once over a piece of french toast!"


Anonymous said...

Erin. Sadie has probably forgotten all about the french toast already! Stop beating yourself up!


Me said...

Thanks Girlysmack for this post. Because i used to be so judgemental about the moms on nanny 911 till my mom chastised me.
This is one of those honest post that I am going to print out and keep to remind me when i have kids.

Anonymous said...

Don't sweat it. You are Sadie's mommy, even when you lose it. You are her lifeline, her connection to the real world, and she knows that. You will always be her vanguard, her protector and her confidant, long after she leaves the nest and starts a family of her own. You will be all those things to her when she is an awkward pre-teen, when she is a teenager who merely grunts instead of converses and sleeps until noon, and you will be those things to her when she has an epiphany and realizes that, hey, Mom is pretty cool (this usually happens around age 21 or 22.)

Don't sweat it. I think you are projecting your anxiety about how the trip will affect her, but DON'T! You and Jonathon need time alone together, she will survive, ok?

Anonymous said...

crap, that was me.


girlysmack said...

Thanks so much, guys. I needed that! Leila, you're probably right about me just acting out my anxiety over leaving her. I've been weepy all day!

Anonymous said...

that's what I'm here for :)