Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Stress

So much for keeping my blog updated. I have so many posts swirling around in my head that I don’t even know where to start. I guess I can start with the thing that is most pressing on my mind lately: stress. I am so tired of feeling stressed and irritable. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things, but mostly it’s sleep deprivation and dealing with a toddler.

Sleep deprivation
My daughter is 18 months old and has never slept through the night. Well, maybe “never” is too strong a word because I’m sure there has been the occasional 6-7 hour stretch of sleep, but I’m too tired right now to remember when. I know without a doubt that this is my fault. I have always nursed her to sleep, and I have let her sleep in my bed with me. The parenting experts out there are sort of split on the co-sleeping thing, but I believe most experts would agree that nursing your baby to sleep is not beneficial. I know this yet I continue to do it because it’s EASY and it gets her to sleep at a decent hour so I can have my precious alone time from 8:30-10:30pm. This has become particularly problematic for us for the past few months as I am ready for her to wean already so I can have my body back to myself. She doesn’t want to quit. My husband thinks he is being helpful by telling me, “You need to wean her.” I say, “Yeah? Well, as soon as you can rearrange your schedule so that you are home at night to take care of her, I’ll get right on that!”

Parenting a toddler
Unless you have lived with a toddler, you can’t truly appreciate what a huge pain in the ass this stage of development is. It’s like living with a person who has bipolar disorder and who can’t communicate effectively. Here’s one example: The cute little person approaches and points to something on the kitchen counter and says, “Uh uh uh” (which roughly translates into “I want”) and when you innocently offer some Cheerios, the little person may dissolve into a screaming puddle of toddler on the floor because DUH, she wanted a banana! Don’t you understand what “Uh uh uh” means, dummy? Oh, and then there’s also the frustrating thing where she holds her arms up because she wants to be held. So you pick her up and then she wiggles to get out of your arms. As soon as you safely set her back down on the floor, she cries because you aren’t holding her anymore. So you pick her up again so she won’t freaking cry, and she wiggles to get out of your arms, etc. I freaking GIVE UP. And those are just two very small examples (about 2 minutes worth of time) of what she does All. Day. Long. Twenty four seven.

The maddening thing is that her behavior is completely age appropriate and normal. The problem is me. If I have learned anything about myself through my 5 years of motherhood, it is that I don’t enjoy parenting toddlers. I remember this stage with my son very well because I went to my doctor and begged for meds. I don’t know why I get so stressed out over parenting, but I do. Maybe it’s because I think I should strive to be a perfect June Cleaver type of mom and I am failing miserably.

I know I have much to be thankful for. I have been blessed with two beautiful, healthy children. I have a loving husband. I have friends (both online and in real life) and family that I can turn to. We have the basic necessities to get by (food, roof over our head, clothing, etc.). Yet I still find it hard to be happy. Why?

And just so you don’t think we’re all doom and gloom all the time, I’m posting a picture of the kids from this past weekend when we took them to Haunt the Zoo. My cute little pumpkin and Power Ranger (SPD, he had to be the Red Ranger from SPD). I hope everyone has a very Happy Halloween.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Sleeping Mommy said...

I don't enjoy parenting toddlers either and I've had a toddler in my home for pretty much 5 years straight. It's no wonder I feel constantly on edge. So, yeah, I'm with you on this one. Sometimes I feel like I'm constantly looking ahead to when they won't be little anymore and I have a feeling that when that time comes I'll wish I hadn't rushed through this stage.

5:51 PM  
Blogger introspectreangel said...

I hear ya! I didn't really enjoy parenting Boy-o either until he really learned how to communicate. I remember being bowled over with delight the first time I realized he had just ASKED me for something rather than crying for it! I have enjoyed him so much more since he has learned how to talk. When he's tired or frustrated, he still melts down into a puddle on the floor, but I remind him he's a big boy now and that he can say he's mad or sad or tired instead of screaming. Then he keeps screaming anyway! Motherhood is SO very humbling, isn't it?!! ;)

9:15 PM  
Blogger The Thinking Man's Babe said...

You know what, a good night's rest will do wonders for you. Is there any way you can drop the kids off to Grandma and Grandpa's for a week while you and your hubby go to an adults-only resort in Mexico? (That's on my mind because there's some real super good deals this time of year - okay, I live vicariously through travel ads.) A good seven to 10 days with no kids and lots of rest and relaxation will really help I bet.

9:56 PM  
Blogger TexInTheCity said...

Even just a night in a hotel bed, with turn down service, a bubble bath and en suite breakfast!

11:11 AM  
Blogger Procrastiknitter said...

How sweet missy! I love the pic!

As far as the sleeping through the night, Nan was almost 4 until it happened for more than a 4 hour stretch. If I hadn't alreayd had my tubes tied, that would have done it. Sleep deprivation causes a lot of feelings, some rational, others not! Just hang in there! (((HUGS)))

9:18 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

Missy, I am so sorry I haven't visited your blog in a while (I get out of the routine when people don't post regularly). I can so TOTALLY relate to the toddler craziness! You wrote out scenes from my very life 24/7 but x2! It is like a Borderline Personality (worse than bipolar--look it up). And I am there with you about the feeling the need to apologize for feling bad for feeling the way you do. I chalk a lot of things up to sleep deprivation and hormones, feel free to give yourself some slack too! And vent all you want--that is helpful. If we can only get through these tough years we get other challenges, but I think I can handle them better than th non-verbal tantruming kind!

7:58 AM  
Blogger The Thinking Man's Babe said...

Hey Missy,

How are you? Happy New Year!!! I hope things have quieted down for you a bit.

Best,
Andrea

10:46 PM  

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