Sunday, December 05, 2010

Parenting Conversation

*** This post is focused on motherhood. ***

I often try to avoid too much motherhood talk on my blog. I know I have a lot of people reading who are fighting infertility battles. And I know this talk can be hard. However, the truth is, I am a mother now, adopted and biological, and as such, there are times where I feel talk of motherhood could be good for me and for others. And while there are a lot of women reading dealing with infertility, there are also many dealing with motherhood woes.

I continue to feel stuck between two worlds. The infertile world I had an identity in for so many years and the world of mothers which is often painful to the world I left behind. It's a delicate balance.

Sometimes I think that because I am trying so hard to balance these two worlds, that I often avoid talking about the negative/hard/difficult times of being a mom. When I do this, people get the impression, especially people who know me only from my blog, that I have this parenting thing all figured out.

If you think that, you are sorely mistaken.

I do try to avoid complaining. It is hard for women who are "on the other side" of infertility. You are, whether you like it or not, judged differently. You are held to a different standard. People expect you to behave a certain way because you tried so hard for children. Not everyone judges you differently of course but many people do. And you feel their judgments. You are cautious of them.

I do feel that infertility has given me (and JB) different perspective when it comes to parenting. I remember wanting motherhood so badly it nearly suffocated me. And I do feel that I have that perspective in the back of my mind at all times.

But that doesn't change the fact that I have two little two-year-olds who are growing, learning, and exhausting me beyond measure! It's amazing that you can love a little being so very much and yet still feel like they might cause to jump off of a roof with frustration and fatigue. Before I had Elijah in the mix as well, I felt that parenting was still easier than teaching. I am not sure I still feel that way. This is one hard job! And it definitely rivals teaching.

I received an email from a friend this week who is also "on the other side." She said that has been surprised at how little patience she has. How easily frustrated she gets.

I want to encourage her that she is not alone. So I am opening up the doors of communication. You are welcome to post anonymously (albeit kindly) if you would like to protect your reputation. But tell us. Share please!!! You can be someone who is post-infertility or someone who got pregnant very easily. You can have kids in the home or have them all raised. Veterans and newbies alike!

What do you find hard about motherhood whether you be someone who experienced infertility or not? Do you feel that you don't compare to your friends? What do you struggle with the most? Let's share our weaknesses as mothers so that no one feels they are alone in this journey

Let's hear it ladies!


Drew and Emily said...

Parenthood is the hardest job I have ever had. There is no lunch breaks, vacations days, or solo bathroom breaks even. We are solely responsible for doing the right thing and raising our kids to be wonderful people. I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything in the world.

I struggle with stopping what I am doing and being in the moment with my kids instead of making sure I have a clean house, plenty of pictures, healthy food, etc. I feel like I am the only one of my friends whose parents/in laws aren't helping on a day to day basis.

Anonymous said...

Parenthood is very difficult. I have 3 children and one on the way. My girls were very easy to raise so far. One of them does not like to eat bc she thinks she is going to get fat and she IS 5! My 2 year old boy is VERY difficult. He escapes every thing we try to block him from, crawls out of bed, crawls over "child proof" gates. My husband and I are at our wits end with him. He is (I hate to say it) but he is very naughty. My girls were nothing like this. Any suggestions. I just need time to get a few things done once in awhile and I can't do anything with him around because he is constantly tearing things up in another area! I don't want to pawn him off on anyone either. I know even my MIL has a hard time with him. She is even scared of him!

Anonymous said...

As someone who got has experienced getting pregnant easy (the first time) and then YEARS of secondary infertility battles to have my subsequent 3 other children I feel judged at times when I "complain" about being tired or that this 4 kid thing is harder than I expected, I always get the response "Well you wanted 4". I don't understand that comment...of course I want them all and love them more than I ever thought possible, however they are exactly the same as other people's children and I am exactly the same as any other mother. Why does the fact I had endure medication, needles and constant heartbreak mean when I finally achieved what I was struggling for I would not actually get to just be a normal mom?

Anonymous said...

As someone on the infertility side, no children, probably never will have any children, and I am a teacher, I want to make a few comments. For me, personally I am way more "lenient" on people who have had to struggle to become a mom and their complaints or honesty! The people that pop out babies left and right, well, they just annoy me! :-) There is a woman, pregnant via embryo adoption, who has been severely nauseated her entire pregnancy. I feel bad for her, but she is pregnant, gets to give birth and bring home a baby. I am ecstatic that she has found a way to become a mom. A co-worker just found out that she is pregnant and hasn't been feeling very good. I feel badly for her and I am happy for her to have this baby. Another gal I work with got pregnant with one ovary and miscarried. I feel her pain of hearing about pregnancies and baby talk, but it is life.
For Anonymous #1, you might consider a way to keep your son in his (safe) room such as some type of locking method on the outside of his door. I have had friends who have done this. Or use two baby gates, stacked on top of on another so it is somewhat of a screen door. You need to be able to know that he is somewhere safe and give yourself a break. Maybe consider that he would benefit from attending daycare a couple of times a week to get socialization, different environment, you a break, etc. It is okay to do that! Get him some more "active" toys to wear him out. I had friends who packed up their kids every night and took them to an open gym, let them run and run some more so they got tired. Boys just have different needs than girls.
I would love to be a mom and we have even discussed fostering or adopting, but to be quite honest- selfishly at 47 y/o I really enjoy my sleep! And not having to chase a child around or entertain them all day/night long. I have enjoyed many children in my home - my friends have let me "borrow" them and that helped me so much and it has helped them too! And please do not judge me for saying that!
Good luck to the Moms - yep, parenting is a TOUGH job, but be thankful that you are Moms, which I know you are.

Anonymous said...

Having struggled with infertility for 5 years I also try not to complain about the struggles I have. But every mom struggles in some way. And if they haven't yet, I'm sure they will.

As a mom of twins I struggle with patience and consistancy with discipline. I'm a sucker for "one more chance" because I have no patience to listen to them complain. I wasn't always like that. I then started doing in-home daycare. I had to use all of my patience with other people's children and then would get angry easily with my boys. I'm working on that. I also try to say 'yes' more often. Wendi, you've talked about that before. When I say 'no' it's because it's inconvenient to me. It's not that I don't want my boys to do these things (pour their own cereal, help clean, drag out stuff to make a craft) but it's easier on me if they don't. That's not fair to them.

I struggle with more, but those are the things I'm working on now.


Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Emily, I feel you with having no family support You aren't alone in that and you are right, people who have it, have a gift beyond explanation!

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Anonymous with the hard-to-raise boy, I had a friend who had trouble with her daughter getting out of bed. She fought harder than the child. They put up two baby gates to keep her in the room and she gave up within weeks. I think you have to just find a way to be more determined than him (which is easier said than done!)

Anonymous said...

I think there's a huge difference between "complaining" and "sharing". Complaining includes whining and discontent. Sharing is just that - sharing life's event's.

Lisa Cronk said...

In my opinion, parenting is the hardest job there is...but also the most rewarding!

If it helps any, I'm a pediatrician and I definitely don't have parenting all figured out. Kids don't come with instruction manuals and even if they did, the kids don't read the book! All you can do is do your best.

In my opinion, just because you had to go through more difficulty to have your children, it doesn't mean that parenting is any easier. Acknowledging those difficulties in parenting does not make you ungrateful. You adore your children just as I adore mine. But just like any parent, I'm sure there are times when you're at your wits end. You have every right to feel that way as a parent, no matter how your children came to be your children.

You're an amazing mom! Keep up the good work!

: ) Lisa

Joanna said...

This all has been so helpful! Many of my friends (who are moms) have blogs, and they also tend to share only the good things about having children. The days the children did well, what they did the other day that was hilarious, along with the posting of endless cute angelic pictures.

It can tend to make me think they never struggle or have days where their kids are monsters. I have great days as a mom, but more often I struggle with keeping my sanity as I try to mother my 3-year-old for the Lord.

May God give us all the grace we need to be effective and loving mothers, as well as to support other moms who no doubt are struggling with the same things we are.

Thanks, Wendi, for opening this up! :)