This week has been a real test of my patience. And, I’m not proud to say, it (being the week/life) has won more than once in making me succumb to frustration and temper losing.
On its own, it has been tough adapting to Jesse’s longer work hours. Sunday through Tuesday, he’s up and out of the house by roughly 615, meaning that, other than a kiss goodbye, I don’t see him. Moreover, I don’t start the day with any help with Buggy. Jesse also doesn’t return home until about 930 at night, which also means that I get zero help from him all day. I’m not throwing myself a pity party. I know there are single parents and military spouses, among other parents and guardians who are left alone to raise a child more than I. I have nothing but the utmost respect (and awe, really) of these folks. Seriously, I don’t know how they maintain their sanity. However, I still want to acknowledge my feelings that it is hard being on your own with a child nonstop. It has been even harder on me recently because I miss my husband.
This week in particular has been even harder than usual because Buggy is cutting teeth. We’ve lived through 12 teeth cuttings and a somewhat cranky baby but none of those times compare to what he is currently suffering through. Today, for example, he woke at 4am and no amount of singing, rocking, teething tablets, or nursing would calm him down enough to go back to sleep. A few minutes of nursing made him happier, but then he was ready to climb out of bed and start playtime. He is explosive when he is told “no” or thwarted in his play. He is clingy, wanting to be held nonstop. He has refused to eat anything but muffins, bananas, and applesauce.
And I have tried everything to alleviate his pain to a tolerable level. Homeopathic teething tablets, check (they have always worked in the past). Cold wash cloth, check. Chamomile tea sweetened with honey, check. Chomping on a carrot, check. Amber anklet, check (the anklet lessened his pain earlier this week but doesn’t appear to be strong enough now). Every other non-medicating teething remedy, check check check.
Anyone who knows me knows that I try to treat ailments with homeopathic, natural remedies first, particularly if the problem is not threatening. But today, I had to give in to medication. Bug’s pain was unbearable. He was contorting his mouth as if trying to find a more comfortable position, his puffy red gums bulging. So I gave him Advil. And I make no apology. I know there are folks who would admonish me for giving medication for teeth pain (heck, until this moment, I know I’ve found myself being judge-y), but I believe it was the right call for my child. He is now napping and will hopefully wake a bit happier and able to tolerate more food. And, on a side note, quite off topic, I truly believe that parents need to start supporting each other more, accepting others’ decisions and abilities to know what’s best for their families. I hate that I put off Advil so long because I was embarrassed about what others would think. I had one know-it-all “friend” arrogantly lecture me against medicating for teeth pain (though, ironically, this person’s partner confessed only minutes later that they regularly medicate their child) and I let this person, who I don’t really care for, influence my ability to care for my son. I am not free of judgement but I am working actively to be more open-minded of families who parent differently than I. I don’t know their whole story and the circumstances under which they live; therefore, I should be supportive of them rather than silently (or worse, openly) tearing them down. (I sense a whole separate blog entry in the near future…)
Now, back on topic… This week has been a real struggle. In addition to missing my husband and frustration with my toddler, Murphy’s Law seems to be in place. I’ve sliced my fingers with a knife THREE times this week, most recently, with a serrated knife. I slightly knocked the blender over in the sink while rinsing it and it shattered (SERIOUSLY. That huge hunk of glass just broke. I swear appliances aren’t made as well as they used to be–my parents’ still functioning wedding gifts are proof). And the list goes on. Again, I’m not having a pity party (been there. it’s over now), but I want to acknowledge how tough it can be sometimes being a stay-at-home mother.
Deep down, I truly do love being a SAHM and I feel very blessed that we can afford it. But some days make me want to cry. Or, in the case of this week, lash out at my husband (I’m not proud of how I handled my frustration). Being with a tiny human all day, and frequently without additional adult interaction, can drive a person mad. I babysit for a family of two kids. The father routinely tells me (most recently, yesterday) that I’m one of those mothers who could easily manage TEN children; that my ability to tend to his children’s and my toddler’s needs is amazing and effortless. I wholeheartedly appreciate his kind words; they give me renewed strength and the ability to take a breath and soldier on. Yet, I can’t help but to laugh inside and think “if you really knew…”
Being a parent is hard. I read all these blogs that make parenting look easy. I follow their tutorials on learning activities for toddlers and follow their steps for combating sleep reversion–they, of course, had smashing success with their children. My child, however, inevitably finds their suggested activities uninteresting and dares to defy their remedy for having him sleep through the night. While these blogs are wonderful resources, they lack a healthy dose of honesty. Therefore, I’m going to say it, parenting is hard. It’s hard if you’re a working parent, a stay at home parent, a work from home parent, a single parent, or a parent with an excellent support system. Raising a child is hard.
Now that I’ve ranted and shared some truth, I’m going to end on a positive note. I want to reflect on what I can be thankful for from this past week.
- I am thankful for the friend who sent a sweet note asking me how I’m coping with the job change.
- I am thankful for my parents who fed supper to me and gave me adult interaction during one of Jesse’s long days.
- I am thankful that Buggy ate a handful of edamame in addition to his muffin and banana.
- I am thankful for a husband who responds to my requests, even if they came out more like angry demands.
- I am thankful for the family for whom I babysit; the additional human interaction every afternoon keeps me sane. And the sweet children show my wee one so much love.
- I am thankful for the new vacuum and steam cleaner that have arrived.
- I am thankful for Toddler Time at the library which brings my Bug so much delight (the goober spent yesterday morning turning in circles, saying “Ra Ra Ra” the entire time).
And I know the list could go on and on…a fact I need to recognize when I’m feeling weepy and at my worst. Parenting is hard. And I truly appreciate those who support me and try to make it a bit easier.