Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Not a toddler person

I've been trying to figure out how to write this post. It's nothing you haven't heard before. And I feel lame after writing my last very positive, upbeat post to then follow it with this downer. But if this blog is to be an honest recounting of my day-to-day experiences, well, here it is.

I read a Washington Post article yesterday about it being ok to admit you're not a baby person/kid person/toddler person, etc, and although I know this is true that it's ok to admit, I still feel like a monster admitting it, while still admitting it nearly all the time. It felt good to read that, and especially some of the solutions to "not being a toddler person" which consisted of "upping hours at preschool" or "having someone come in to help". For some reason I thought I was the only person doing this - basically shoving my kid off on someone else a few hours a week just so I don't lose my mind. As you know B is on the wait list for the three day afternoon program...but for just a moment I had the thought, imagine if he went all five days??? And I became so utterly delighted at the very thought of this, and how excellent my life would be, that I then had to ask myself...jeez, how miserable are you that the very idea of this makes you so happy?

Now, not that five days of preschool is even a possibility for us. I could never afford it and it's not like he could just get in any old time. But man...the very idea of not having to come up with tons of exhausting activities all day five days a week! To have him just in the morning and evenings! To have weekends that I look forward to instead of dread! It would be so awesome!

And then comes the guilt. All I see all day long is women desperately looking for work-at-home jobs so they can stay home with their kids; women bemoaning having to return to work after maternity leave; women trying to figure out their home lives so they can quit their jobs. Apparently I have what every woman wants. So why do I hate it so much?

Had another exhausting play date in a park today. B screamed his head off every time someone even looked at one of his toys. I got so fed up with the endless screeching that I found myself doing really unpleasant things like rolling my eyes in disgust. He definitely has an issue with possessiveness, and I hate to say it but it might branch back to now having to share his only parent with a sibling. With Theo reaching and grabbing things now, Bobby is none too pleased - and I can see a lifetime ahead of me of breaking up fights and negotiating rights over toys/books/clothes/stuff. And the very thought of that makes me want to crawl under the covers and never come out. Remember that memory I have of my aunt laying her head down on the kitchen table and sobbing because we kids just wouldn't stop squabbling? Is this my future? Don't say no because you know it is. And I walked right into it, willingly.

Right now I just feel like I suck. All I live for is bed time and the days B goes to school - ie, the times I get to myself. I enjoy little to none of the rest of my day at all. Everything - bathing, feeding, playing - all just feels like something to get through. And yet I try. I try so very hard. I look him in the eye. I keep my voice light and pleasant. I always consider things from his point of view. I respect his rights as a human being. I never tease, punish, or humiliate him. I sing songs. I ask questions about his toys. I let him have choices. I administer hugs. I tell him I love him every day. When he cries I comfort him and tell him I understand why he feels that way. And I am exhausted and fed up.

Where does the baby factor into all of this, you ask? Apart from consistently robbing me of a decent night's sleep, not at all - he's just a squishy, leaky little love muffin. Babies are so frigging easy. I think I can consider myself a baby person. How can you not love a baby? But toddlers - aghhhhhh!

When the littlest of my kids is seven, I'm going to rock this shit. We can have conversations, we can do interesting cultural things around town, I can teach them about good music and movies, we can go places. I'm going to be the best school-age mom ever. But right now? Not a toddler person. Not one bit.


  1. I really appreciate your honesty! I am a baby to tween person myself. Once kids hit about age 10 I start finding them annoying. I lived a nightmare when I took my boyfriend's 11 year old daughter on a school "camping" trip to the Boston Museum of Science. I was surrounded by loud, annoying, giggling, screaming girls the entire time. I was truly scared for the future of womankind (10 brain cells shared between 25 girls is not a pretty thing, especially when 9 of those cells are dedicated to talking about how cute the One Direction boys are. I took a few moments to thank the gods I had a son that night.) Around 3am I probably would have taken a cyanide pill if there were any.

    My son is 18 now and I wish there could have been a way for me to have been a SAHM for his first few years at least but sadly we needed to eat and have a place to live and stuff :( Despite the fact that he spent a ton of time away from me, he still turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. Just like your boys will :-)

    I always thought it be great to have a large circle of friends with kids of all different ages so we could swap children sometimes. Play to each others strengths so to speak. The adults wouldn't be so burned out and the kids would always have a happy, positive person teaching and interacting with them. At the end of the day head home to snuggle with your own mom and go over the days events. It would be a win-win for everyone.

  2. I think about how I would love to be a SAHM with E...but if I'm being honest, I think I'm the confident parent I am because I go to work everyday, that I get the time away & to be able to reflect on everything at home. It's HARD to be parent 100% of the time. & you don't suck!!!

    If I can offer one piece of advice when it comes to negotiating rights of toys between two boys it's: don't. When my nephews would argue over any item, I would warn them once to work it out, if they didn't I would take it away, end of story. They learned pretty quickly to work it out...or at the very least to argue quietly, lol.

  3. I could never be a SAHM or work from home. I am at work from sun up to sun down 3 days a week, and it gives me a chance to be in the adult world and miss my toddler. Even so, it's not enough, because being at work doesn't count as down time. So she is in "school" a half day twice a week, while I go to the library next door and study or do whatever. Or sometimes just shower and do whatever. I'm seriously considering putting her in school 3 days a week starting in the winter!

    But when I AM at home, going crazy, running out of ideas for my toddler whose attention span is 1 minute long, who needs my non-stop attention, I try to think about the fact that in only a few years she won't want me to hold her, or play with her. She'll have friends and "better" things to do.

  4. I totally appeciate your honesty. If I could skip 2.5-3.5 I'd be a very happy woman.

    The assumptions behind this post really surprise me....I hardly think that most women are desperate to be SAHMs. Some, yes. Certainly not most. I adore my kids but I would *hate* motherhood if I had to stay home with them day in and day out. They have a happier mother because they go to school and I work. Most women I work with would say the same thing...

  5. I totally understand. I absolutely loved the baby stage and found it very easy and wonderful. I am more exhausted than ever now that Sidekick is two, and some people think I am crazy. While Sidekick is more independent, he wants to play with me more, and I find that to be less than fun all of the time (and he's in school five days a week while I work!). The constant disciplining, reasoning, entertaining, compassion, daily routine, etc. can drain the shit out of me sometimes.

  6. I have great admiration and respect for you duking it out at home alone every day. It became very clear to me, as my maternity leave was ending, that apart from the massive guilt I felt about giving M to someone else to look after, I was pretty glad to get back to adult interaction and stimulation. I am simply not cut out for it - don't have the patience.

    Go easy on yourself! It is really hard work, with little reward right now for you.

  7. I hear you! I think that all kids go through stages when they're particularly easy or difficult. Maybe moms who dearly want to be with their children *all the time* have kids who are in an easy stage right now (...or maybe they just can't picture accurately what it will be like?).

    From what you've written, I think that B may be more challenging than most kids his age - just because he's so high energy and driven. Hang in there. Maybe by the time he's in elem school, he'll be sunny and easy, right around the time some of his peers are giving their parents sass and making their lives tough.

    Also, don't feel guilty about wanting time to yourself. You have a life and interests and talents outside of child-rearing - you should be allowed to pursue those things. I hope it will soon be easier for you!