What do you do when you feel like an incapable parent- besides drink?

Well folks- we here at the Reinvention home have had a hell of a few weeks. I can’t put my finger on why, what or how but my child, who was never easy to begin with, somehow morphed into and even more “challenging” human. And I, who was never a Pinterest worthy mom to begin with is just losing her shit over how to remedy this disruptive problem.

So much so that I am back to googling parenting books and diagnosing my child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and low frustration tolerance because there’s no diagnosis or protocol for “Why the hell are you acting like a damn fool?!”

And before you ask me “Have you read this?” or “Have you tried this behavioral strategy?”. The answer is, “Yes”. I have read a plethora of parenting books and run the gamut of behavioral strategies. You see Mr. Reinvention and I have vowed to raise Baby Reinvention without the types of punishments that molded us into feeling shame and making bad teenage decisions and eventually wind up in therapy or with personal baggage or both.

We’ve had some doozy moments! Moments where I am questioning whether I was really cut out to raise this little human being up right. Moments where I feel as if I am failing at the most important role in my life. Moments when I feel sadness and despair because I just know I am screwing her up. Moments when I mourn the joy of being this special human’s mother is sucked out of the day because of correcting and arguing and negotiating over the most trivial of tasks, until finally mom explodes. Moments when I feel utter and total shame because my uglies just came bubbling out of my mouth and I couldn’t be the rational calm adult and contain them.

My daily go to is to prep myself with a meditative reading and journaling, setting the intention for who I want to be for the day and practicing gratitude.  This is how my day begins:

“Oh! I could just tackle the world! I am so light and spiritual! I got this mom shit!  Huh? What’s that you don’t want to make your bed? Oh, you want to argue about the amount of free time you have before homeschooling begins?! Excuse me? You don’t like the healthy meal I have prepared so lovingly to nourish your body?! Practicing violin for a whole 15 minutes is just too hard! Please stay in the bathroom while brushing your teeth. Get ready we are leaving in 15 minutes! No, you do not know everything. You are 8. There are a lot of things you have yet to learn. ”

These are some of the things I say in a typical day and then some. Over and over, on and on like some demented version of “Groundhog’s Day” parenting. Wearing me down! Then the escalation begins to breathing heavy and tensing my body so hard that my ass cheeks could crack a nut. Escalating to stern mommy voice. And finally exploding like a god damn maniac who just ingested bath salts (minus the face eating) yelling and angry and ashamed.

Just typing these truths creates a pit in my stomach. How do I become the parent I want to become? Slowly……minute by minute sometimes. Constant vigilance and self work and awareness. Acknowledging my triggers and rough spots and areas needing work. Acknowledging being a good parent is challenging and difficult and not much at all like the media portrays or even the rosy picture most of your friends are painting.  Acknowledging my personal development goals, not just as a mom, but as a human being. Then seeking resources to bridge the gap. Therapy, books, friends, music, running, and yes, even tequila have all been tremendous tools in my personal growth.

Why do we do this to ourselves and to each other? Why aren’t we able to be real and honest and ask for help instead of hiding our struggles? There is no shame in being human and not knowing how to handle all the aspects of parenting. Especially when you come from a place where your role models were less than capable of modeling healthy behaviors. And there certainly is no shame in being aware and growing.

So after the great melt- down of October 2018, Mr. Reinvention, Baby Reinvention and I developed a “Family Contract” for acceptable behaviors in our family. These include kindness, respect, no yelling or tantruming (is that for me or Baby Reinvention?) and open communication about all of our feelings. Our contract includes  clear and concise consequences for anyone breaking the family contract. We’ve all signed in blood. Just kidding!

I’ll keep you posted on how my growth and our family’s growth goes.

Feel free to share in comments some of your lowest parenting or people moments and how you handled them. NO SHAMING PEOPLE! I will not tolerate that shit.

Melissa

9 thoughts on “What do you do when you feel like an incapable parent- besides drink?

  1. I can totally relate. Sometimes, after a hard day, I tell myself before drifting off to sleep that is disrupted (by a certain three year old every night) that I will be so much better tomorrow! Tomorrow comes, I start off great; then it starts… arguing about how a little miss wanted toast, I give said toast. No! She wanted toast with peanut butter! Tears happen. I yell. It is ugly. The day goes on after deep breaths and explosions happen throughout. I tell myself there has got to be a better way. Why my children can not get along must be an anomaly! I have come to rely on the same remedies as you Mrs. Reinvention..strong drink, good friends, excercise and a break from them! I also try to keep in mind that they are still so little and trying to navigate this complicated world just like us whom often we have no idea what we are doing, just doing our best.

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    1. Yeasss! There is so much power in knowing we are not alone and we are trying desperately to do better! We are all just striving to do our best in this world! I will say even on my worst parenting days I would never ever trade and go back to before my baby! Thank you for being real and vulnerable with me!

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  2. Beautifully stated, and you seem to have spent time with our household as well! I think the age she is at, her determination and uniqueness and need to assert her independence are all a part of what we parents of 8 year olds are learning to tackle now. I’d love to join you for some tequila, or wine, or vodka – all of the above one of these days!

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    1. Right!? Like I love how independent and strong willed you are little being but can we just take it down a notch and save it for when your president?! Ditto gf! We need a mom’s night out!

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  3. Very good sis. As you can see you are not alone & certainly not a bad parent, person. You have a huge challenge in front of you and I think you’re doing a great job. Nothing but adjustments all the way.

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  4. Parenting is to me one of the most challenging things I have ever done. No it’s not easy, and I don’t believe there’s any instruction book that will tell us exactly how to have that perfect relationship with our kids. Lowest parenting moment? Lordy… There were many. As someone who had her children as a teenager, I guess I grew up with them. Except for a few babysitting jobs, I had pretty much no child rearing skills at all. My frustration and impatience sometimes did turn into, lots of shouting and I hate to say sometimes I would get physical. The one time I vividly remember, the girls (3 & 5?)were not going to sleep, I was exhausted, at the end of my rope, I went in grabbing both by the arms, physically throwing them on their beds. I was yelling, they were crying hysterically, I looked at that and lost it myself, I’m crying hysterically on the floor between the girls beds, saying I’m so sorry. Both girls came down to the floor hugging me. All of us crying, holding each other. Not my finest moment, one of several I’ll never forget & that was “several” years ago. I believe we do the best we can, as we get older and our children get older it evolves for sure. Mistakes will be made, but I think love does prevail always. With the upbringing my girls had, pretty scary stories, they knew I loved them and now we are all adults, (they are in their 40s), oh we still have our issues from time to time, but we do the best we can. Thank you for sharing honestly, you are such an amazing mom because you care enough to put it out there, to share the struggles and ask for help. Sorry I am very wordy! Love you

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  5. 8 is a hard age….not a “baby” and still to young know “everything” But you have created a very smart, unique and curious girl who is going to challenge you FOREVER! So keep the tequila close. Raising the 3 boys by myself there were many times I self medicated and times I wanted to hide somewhere until they were old enough to move out. But ohhh the stories I have to tell now are so good. There are no books for your individual situation …. every book is based on the authors experience. This is parenting…..love, guilt, embarrassment, proud, funny, fear, and every emotion in between. Just know that at the end of a rough day you have another chance the next. You are doing fine!

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    1. Oh, I know you have got some good ones!

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  6. There are so many. I don’t even know where to begin 😂

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