Monday, July 12, 2010

too much sun exposure?

One of my friends emailed me this article on why parents hate parenting, or could be otherwise titled "how and why our children make us unhappy". In some ways it was a depressing article, and in others, totally liberating. I found myself nodding along in the article as the author spoke about the pressures on parents today, the things we worry about, the ways we are making ourselves crazy, and how being a parent brings you such joy even though the day to day is draining.

These days, I will freely admit it, life is hard. I am Exhausted, with a capital E. Gabe has become a full-fledged 3 and a half year old, and it turns out that 3 and a half year olds are totally unreasonable, totally insane, totally annoying, totally frustrating, and totally infuriating. They are also absolutely adorable and hilarious and brilliant, and thank goodness for that, because if not I'd be selling him on the street corner. Additionally, 18 month olds (or at least MY 18 month old) are all of those above things and more, and the combination of the two of them has me contemplating a drink at 9:15 in the morning, and I don't even like alcohol.

I have been having a hard time parenting lately, and I can't quite put my finger on the why. I feel like I'm always frustrated, have a short fuse, can't seem to get the day on a good track. I'm yelling more than I want to, getting actually angry rather than keeping control of the situation. I feel like both kids are just not listening, and actively disobeying all the time, and it is driving me bonkers.

I'm sure part of it has to do with all the injuries, part of it has to do with Gabe being out of any organized program since the end of March, part of it has to do with our contemplation of a third child, part is the ages of Gabe and Josie, and the rest, I have no idea. Maybe I'm not sleeping enough, maybe I'm just grumpy, maybe the kids are just difficult, maybe it is just a phase. Regardless, something has to change because my level of frustration (and Josh's too) is just too high.

If we're going to have a third child, Josh is adamant that it has to be soon, and I'm beyond terrified at the possibility. I really do want another baby- as insane as that is- but things are so crazy right now I can't imagine fitting another pregnancy, another bout of all-the-freaking-time sickness, another person into the mix. I think the worries about another baby are increasing my anxiety over Gabe and Josie's behavior too. Rather than viewing it as regular kid stuff, I keep having this doomsday attitude of "oh my God this is awful and it is only going to get worse and now we're going to have another and shoot me now." Somewhat unhelpful, I do acknowledge.

On the one hand, I'm adoring this summer with our super lazy days at our town lake (almost every single morning), delicious ice cream, relaxing grilling, and playing outside, but I'm also feeling totally burnt out and disappointed in my own and the kids' behavior. Any tips? Is this a terrible age? Tell me it is going to get better PLEASE.


Anonymous said...

Parenting is a total rollercoaster of emotions. Sometimes it's horrid. Sometimes it's heaven. Often times it's both IN THE SAME DAY. Heck, the same hour. When you're very present to your children, when you're THE ONE (the primary caretaker), it's a heavy load to carry on the best of days. On the worst of days, it's Sisyphean. There's no other "job" in the world where "the boss" is both master and slave. No wonder it's so crazy making! You'd have to be made of steel or completely checked out to not be deeply affected by the absurdity of it. All of it: the good and bad.

Hang in there, mama. You're at really hard ages right now. It does get easier.

(And I have to laugh because I've been interrupted like 20 times whilst writing this comment. Oy!)

Bobbie said...

Will it help if I tell you that when they're older (my two boys are 16 and 19) you won't remember what it was like when they were little?

At times I've regretted not having a third child. I blame my sister, whose third child put her over the edge (his socks never fit right, he nursed forever, he wouldn't wear shirts with stripes...).

My parents survived five children (although I'm pretty sure we were not all "planned").

You'll figure it out!

OneTiredEma said...

Yes, yes, yes. 18 months is rough and 3 1/2 is even worse.

Seriously, go to Ask Moxie and search "3 1/2" -- you will feel so much better.

FWIW I turned the corner on "holy shit I have 2 kids! whose brilliant idea was that?" when my kids were 2 and 4 and could finally really play together without so much hovering. It's different for every family, but just my experience--you could be getting close to something more breathable.

(Also, nosily wanting to know why the 3rd has to be right this minute. You're young, right? And by young I mean younger than me--35. We haven't decided yes/no on a 3rd. Depends on the day, because my little one is getting over being 3 1/2. And some days the bigger one acts like she is still getting over being 3 1/2.)

Anonymous said...

It does get better. My girls are 20 months apart, and I remember the days of 3 and 18 months. Even though I try and block it out. They are now 12 and 14, and life is really fun, and usually very easy.

However, I've always been glad to have 2, rather than 3. (And have friends who are happy to have 3, instead of 2!)

Anonymous said...

My kids are 39 mos and 20 mos, and (yep) I'm pregnant with our third.

Your post could have come from my own keyboard, with a few name changes and the fact that I have a full-time (out of the home) job plus a freelance (at-home) job, to boot.

I don't know what we need to do regain our zen-like attitudes, but we'd better find something. As I burst with frustration, a part of me is looking from the outside saying, "calm down!"

No can do, sometimes.

Chatty Cricket said...

Er, considering it took me (NO JOKE) 35 minutes to read this and I only have the two middle boys right now, I don't think I have much to add.


Meika said...

No tips because I am in precisely the same spot that you are, right down to the "if there's going to be another it had better be soon" stuff. Bleah!

But in three and a half years more, they'll be in first grade, and I can't quite wrap my head around that one, either.

liz said...

Sending hugs and a suggestion of having a day just for yourself. Get a massage, or a day at the beach by yourself or something. YOU need a break.

Meika said...

I had another thought on those studies this morning. Have you ever seen one that examines happiness levels of parents and non-parents after the kids leave the house? Because obviously the intensive work occurs up to around age 18, but it seems to me that some of the richest pay-off might come later in life. Something to ponder, I suppose, while you get your massage (becuase I'm with Liz - you need it and have earned it!).

jess said...

I have a 2.5 year old and a 14 month old, and you pretty much described my life. My question is--3.5 is worse than 2.5? HOW CAN THAT BE?