Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Pain of Motherhood

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness."
French novelist and playwright, Honore de Balzac.

In my last post I wrote about the overwhelming stress I feel because of all the things I have to do before I fly to England next week. I'd like to update you that am feeling much better now, but my 40 inch, 40lb firstborn, Cheeky, has done little to cheer me up.

We are told about the joys of motherhood all the time, but what about the pain? I thought motherhood was tough when he was 15 months old and he was crying as I held his screaming newborn brother in my arms. But, boy I think I was mistaken.

Cheeky and I have hit a wall in our relationship.

The 'terrible twos' have been and gone and his tantrum voice has gained strength with every year passed. Now he is four, and lately, more often than not, I am going to tread on controversial motherhood ground here and admit, that we are not the best of friends.

Honore de Balzac better be right and somewhere in my heart I will find forgiveness, but today my heart has been heavy. Cheeky's put it through the ringer.

Every little thing I've asked him to do has been met with a "NO!" From getting dressed, to brushing teeth, to eating breakfast to getting in the car, to getting out of the car. Walking across the parking lot to school was a full blown hurricane of a tantrum, culminating with me being told to "Go away!" as I tried to kiss him goodbye at the classroom door.

I hurried back to the car to have a good cry.

Even his favourite milk drink and snack I had ready for him when school ended, was met with a sullen response and shouting when I refused to play a DVD for him to watch in the car.

The tears once again pricked at my eyes.

Then there was this afternoon's playdate at his favourite indoor playcentre.

I sat there feel ashamed he was my son as he shouted at his friends, bossed them about and threw tantrum after tantrum when the games didn't go his way.

I've lost count of the times I've apologised to my friends for his behaviour and listened as they've told me, "Don't worry - all kids are like that sometimes."

But that's the point. Sometimes I feel that my eldest is becoming like that all the time. And it's breaking my heart and breaking me down.

I love him. Of course I do. But lately he is pushing me away more than he is coming to me for cuddles. Time after tantrum, day after day, I try to hold him. Try to calm him down. Kill the bad mood with kindness but again and again he throws it all back in my face.

By dinnertime tonight, I wilted and couldn't take anymore. He rejected the food I cooked. (Okay, so I'm not the best cook, but the rest of my family ate it.)He spent most of the meal on and off the naughty step and even my mild mannered husband had had enough. Cheeky was reprimanded big time for speaking badly to both of us and the evening ended with him screaming and fighting his way through bathtime and getting all his Geotrax toys taken away.

Right now, that big pile of clean laundry I've yet to put away, is looking like a great place to hide from him.

I'm sat here, blogging relieved he's finally asleep. That's not right is it? Or is this how we all feel at times?

Before the boys grew into toddlers, and I held them in my arms cooing and covering them in kisses, I couldn't ever imagine not liking them, even for a second. Today, I wonder what emotional hell tomorrow will bring and how I will get through it.

I want our relationship to work. I want that so badly, but I am worried I am messing it all up. What did I do wrong? What happened to my sweet natured little shadow? The little blondie who told me he loves me,"More than Thomas the train." (That's BIG love!)Is this what I'm in for, for the rest of our lives together?

Now, with a trip back to England on the horizon, I am so worried that he will demonstrate this terrible behaviour in front of my friends. Friends who haven't seen him in over two years. Friends who I want to like my child, not recoil in horror.

And there, sitting on the sidelines, soaking up all this drama, is his little brother, Monkey. My sweet quiet but determined 2 1/2 year old, who hangs on his brother's every word. I am praying hard he doesn't copy everything he sees.

Tell me, is it normal not to like your child all of the time?

Monday, February 2, 2009


This is exactly how I feel today and it all started with Ikea.

We had to go there yesterday to return some of the kitchen units we purchased back in November. Normally, I love a day out at Ikea - saddo that I am. The kids get to play in the child care centre for an hour while me and Him Downstairs can browse in peace and we all get to enjoy their meatballs and fries for lunch. But yesterday, I found myself plodding round, annoyed at the crowds that got in my way, annoyed that Cheeky kept stepping in front of the stroller, annoyed that Monkey wriggled whenever I strapped him into the stroller, annoyed that I'd forgotten to put make-up on, (I actually didn't look that different to 'The Scream'. Yes. Not a good look.) But mostly, I was annoyed at how reasonable Him Downstairs was being. Am more used to the comfort zone of arguing with him all the way around Ikea.

I am officially crazy I know. But when we discussed buying new storage bins for the boys playroom, he was so bloody reasonable about it, I told him to "Drop it!" and I refused to buy them. I haven't even got the excuse that it was 'that time of the month.'

When we got home and I realised I'd forgotten to buy diapers, milk and bread I wanted to weep. I did weep.

All quite unreasonable behaviour really. But in my defense, I need to explain my current state of mind.

Next week two major things are happening:

1. I fly on my own with my two little boys back to England for three weeks.
My kitchen, laundry room, lounge and part of my garage are being ripped apart and re-modelled.

To get to where I need to be for these two events to go smoothly, I have so much to do that am feeling completely overwhelmed. I haven't even brushed my hair today so far, such is my angst. The idea of having your new kitchen put in while you're away is, on the one hand good planning, as God help my mood if I was to be here trying to entertain the boys while the builders rip out the heart of the house. But, on the other hand, it adds way more work for me in the run-up to my trip.

On top of the usual holiday washing, packing, shopping, etc I have to pack up three rooms in my house, shop for paint, tiles, light fixtures, appliances, doors, windows and counter tops. All in oh, the next five days.

On a regular week I struggle to get all my chores achieved by the weekend, so I'm starting on the back foot with this lot already. I feel like I did just before a big essay was due at college or a deadline loomed at work - bit my bit my brain shuts down and my body goes into slow motion. I can't seem to achieve any of the things I'm meant to do and days pass where I get nothing done. Then, the last few hours before said deadline, I pull all the stops out. Burn the midnight oil and get it done by the skin of my teeth.

I think I thrive on the adrenalin rush of being a last-minute-Lucy, but it does nothing for my complexion or my nerves.

Today, I have a huge list of 'Must-dos:'
1. Buy milk.
2. Buy diapers.
3. Buy bread.
4. Call bank.
5. Put clean clothes away (I have two overflowing baskets full on my bedroom floor)
6. Put a white wash on.
7. Change boys bedding.
8. Find out about Cheeky's passport renewal before new visa goes in it. (Might have to drag him to passport office in Victoria, London. Not a happy prospect.)
9. Confirm OBGYN appointment - time for PAP Smear. Yuk. Mustn't forget to do this.
10. Buy birthday cards. Mail birthday cards. Oh crap. Buy more stamps too.
11. Do list of dates Cheeky will be out of school for teacher.
12. Clean my bathroom. If I can find it under the dust and grime.
13. Clean kids bathroom. (Him Downstairs left all their hair and dirt clinging to the tub again after the last night's bath. V annoying.)
14. Take new jumper back to H&M because Him Downstairs said, "It's exactly like all your other jumpers."
15. Lose 7lbs so I look nice and skinny for my UK debut. (Not going well on this. I just ate banana cream pie for breakfast. Yes. No milk left.)
16. Get leg wax and pedicure because one of my friends back home says we're taking the children swimming during my stay. (The worry over exposing my hairy winter bod is keeping me awake at night.)
17. Get dressed.
18. Get the boys dressed. (Guess these last two should be top of this list.)

Oh and I can add another one to this lot too. Cheeky just said to me:

"Mummy, you have a hole in your pyjamas!"
"Yes. I do."
"Mummy I really think it's time you went and got some new ones."

If only I could find the time eh?

I want to be a motivated Mum, but sometimes it's all too much and I just don't know where to start. I've also just looked in the fridge and there's bugger all in for lunch. I am officially rubbish. I want to cry. I couldn't give my children cereal for breakfast today as I used the last of the milk for their morning drinks and my tea, and now all I can offer them for lunch is one yogurt to share, some cheese crackers and a square of Milka chocolate.

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish Mummy and Housewife.

Hiding under the duvet and leaving all my tasks to rot into the recesses of my memory sounds like the favourable option right now.

Trouble is, I don't think the boys will let Mummy throw the towel in. I've landed myself the only job I can't quit. Someone let me go stand in a field and scream....