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.