It started Friday afternoon and continued into Saturday. The toddler was cutting molars and had spent the whole week wanting to be up “in arms”. He incessantly screamed, either due to the irritation of his gums OR because he likes the sound of his own voice at high decibels. Or he’s just trying to see how loud he can scream before my eardrums shatter; just to give you an idea of what I mean by screaming. When he wasn’t screaming he was climbing all over the furniture, grabbing for everything and anything that he shouldn’t be, and making a mess. He was pulling every toy out of the toy boxes and drawers. He pulled all his books out of his bookshelf. And rather than leave them in a big heap close to their home, he decided it would be fun to throw them across the room, or at me. If I told him to stop he hit me. If I put him in time out he’d scream bloody murder. If I was on the phone he’d scream in my ear or try to climb onto my back and steal the phone. He bit me!
If that wasn’t bad enough, he resisted naptime. When naptime arrived I took him into his bedroom and lay down with him on the mattress. He proceeded to climb all over me and insisted on nursing the entire hour and a half! If I tried to move away, he’d wake up. He also insisted on being able to hold my hair in his fist and screamed if I took it away. This was very much the state of things at bedtime too. I spent a lot of time in his bedroom, is what I’m saying.
And before I get any crap about nursing and co-sleeping, let me just extend my middle finger and tell you that NOT doing those things would have made everything WORSE. So kindly go to hell with that condescending “advice”.
Anyway, in addition to not playing by himself, not allowing me even five minutes to get things done without wanting “up” in my arms (and screaming/crying if I didn’t pick him up right then and there) and not getting proper sleep, he also didn’t want to eat! Normally he’s a good eater. He’ll eat whatever is on our plates, and if I hand him a plate of his own food he will eat it no problem. But that week he decided that rather than EAT his frozen vegetables, he was going to dump the bowl on the glass coffee table and spread them all over it and the floor! He did the same with his cheerios. And this was AFTER I had bothered to sweep and mop the floor.
Husband came home around 6pm every night, but often had things to do after that and so I was STILL left all day and part of the evening with a highly fussy toddler while HE got pissed/annoyed at me for not “paying attention” when our son got into his crap that he had left out where he could get it. Or because he had to get ready to go out for his training for his second career opportunity he’s started up, and our son was distracting him by following him around and screaming. Because it’s SOOOOO hard to get dressed and tie a friggen tie when you have a kid screaming and following you around. Oh, wait, I have to do my hair, put on makeup, get dressed and it’s somehow “not a big deal” for me to be expected to watch our son at the same time! The only response I could give was “welcome to MY world”, because seriously, I was just DONE.
So…that brings us to Friday and Saturday. I’ve dealt with this kid all week with NO help from anyone else in this stupid house. The men are acting like their crap is way more important/can’t wait until later. I haven’t been able to shower or brush my hair. I haven’t had a moment’s peace and the house is a cluttered mess. It’s utter chaos and I’m stressed to the point of breaking.
So Friday afternoon I just gave up. I couldn’t do it anymore. 3pm and I was DONE! I took my son into his bedroom, left the door open, and lay down and took a nap. He was lying beside me, nursing on and off as he liked. Every few minutes he would get up and wander out of the room, grab a toy, bring it to me, and lie back down. I have super sensitive hearing; I know where he is and what he’s doing without having to see him. So I was listening for him the entire time I’m lying down on the floor mattress in his room, lights out, trying to calm my shot nerves. He comes back, settles down beside me, and quietly plays with a toy.
Grandpa gets home soon after that. I don’t get up. I roll over and close my eyes as my son runs to the door to greet him. I remain in the bed, drifting in and out of consciousness while Grandpa plays with him. In all this time, not once do I hear “where’s Mommy?” nor do I hear my name. After about 20 minutes he goes down to his suite and my son runs back to the bedroom. That’s when I get the phonecall from my irate husband, demanding to know why I was sleeping while our son was wandering around the house by himself. I snap “he wasn’t! I was just in the bedroom. He ran to greet your dad and I just stayed in the room the whole time because I’m tired and don’t want to deal with shit right now.” Husband tells me that his dad assumed I was sleeping. Well thanks for asking! Ugh!
Anyway, Father-In-Law basically got nosy, assumed I was being negligent, and now I’m getting my wrist slapped like a naughty child over it. I guess it’s easier to be a judgmental ass than it is to…oh, I don’t know, actually HELP OUT? But no, that hasn’t occurred to him at all.
So this leads to Saturday. Husband once again has to work and I once again get NO break. My energy reserves are shot to hell and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry. So when my son gets up in the morning, I keep the door shut. I lie there in the bed, pulling the covers over my head and try to sleep. He can’t hurt himself in this room and he can’t destroy anything except for his own things, so why the hell not? He proceeds to climb all over me, pull his books out of his bookshelf, and amuse himself. He periodically comes back to me to snuggle and nurse, then lies down to nap. We stay in that room until 12 noon, when the husband gets home from work on his lunch break. I pretend we just got up from a “nap”. No need to tell him that naptime lasted all morning because I didn’t feel like getting up.
Now to the outside world looking in, if they’d seen the events of these two days they’d assume I was a neglectful mother. But that’s the trouble with assumptions. I’m a very loving mother by design. I would have to be loving considering the way that I parent my son. I refuse to leave him to cry himself to sleep (or, “sleep train”) and I’m weaning him at his own pace. He knows that he can always come to me for comfort. In fact, on Friday when I had the door open at one point he got scared by the cats (because he was tormenting Bella and she took a swipe at him). He ran right into the bedroom and nursed for a few seconds for comfort, then was okay again and ran off to play. No tears, no fear, no distress. Just “mommy, I’m scared, I need a quick hug and nursies.”
But all this giving of myself takes its toll, because of COURSE it does! And this kid isn’t easy to care for because he’s so intense and focused on what he wants. He’s a big ball of energy and he will burn it all off and crash, then wake up and be ready for more. And when he’s cutting teeth he is The Worst because he takes his misery out on me. He bites and chews on everything and I’m constantly chasing him down for putting something else in his mouth (often paper or thread off of a blanket). It’s physically exhausting and emotionally draining, and it doesn’t help when I’m alone with him all day only to have my husband come home and expect me to “keep him busy/happy” because HE needs to get stuff done.
So yes, every now and then it gets to be too much for me. Moms need breaks too! It’s just a shame that my father in law doesn’t seem to realize that if I’m snapping at my child, it’s because I haven’t had the chance to truly relax in days, if not weeks. And yes, it’s great that he takes his grandson for ten minutes to the park or with him on an errand, but that is hardly enough time for me to recharge. And I get that my husband has to work, but when he’s NOT working he still seems to need to “get things done” that I KNOW he can put off for at least a few hours. But no, everything is more important and nobody in this house seems to get that I’m only stressed out because of the fact that when they are home they are off doing their own thing. And then *I* get called out for breaking down every once in a while, because clearly I’m not supposed to do anything but be a Stepford Wife (in Father in Law’s opinion) or else just “chill out” (according to the Husband).
So what is the lesson here? We shouldn’t be quick to judge moms in their “ugly” moments.
That mother who gets up in the morning and immediately turns on the TV for her kids and leaves it on all day? She’s doing what she needs to do in order to survive the day.
The mom who hasn’t left her house all day and is still in her pjs at 6pm when her husband arrives home? She might not have had time to get dressed, too busy chasing after kids and trying to clean the house or accomplish some other tasks that needed to be done.
The mom who takes her kid to McDonalds? She probably just didn’t want to cook that day or hasn’t had the chance to go to the grocery store, or she’s just really craving mcnuggets.
The mom who hands her kid her phone and lets them play with it in the store? Probably just doesn’t want to deal with anymore tantrums today.
The mom who cosleeps and nurses her toddler? She’s found a way to catch up on the sleep that she desperately needs and can’t seem to get any other way.
And the mom who yells at her kid or just lies on the couch/in bed while they tear through the house? She might have been having a really crappy week and just couldn’t take it anymore.