September 16, 2009

My Worst Enemy


I can get this way.

It feels like a fall day and I go inward and deep and as quickly as I open myself up I close the shutters tight.

Things are okay here. For now, just okay. .

Today Gray was upset I wouldn't let him watch something on the TV and he said you are my worst enemy! And I thought about how just moments before we were talking about how fun it will be to go see the dinosaur bones at the museum on Friday and maybe the zoo next week and how can he not like me so much?

Within minutes he was professing his love for me, and I sit here wondering if he treats me this way because this is how I treat myself?

I want off this yo-yo.

As a writer, I am held captive by words. Sometimes paralyzed by my own thoughts. I think until I can get myself to "more than okay", I need to be nourished and healed and set free by Someone Else's Word.

Things are okay here. For now, just okay. But with promise.

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  1. Oh how powerful words are. Especially when they come from your kiddos. I totally know how you feel Steph and am sending lots of hugs.

    This is why Laurel's K transition has been so hard for me. I've detailed a few of her quotes at Boston Mamas and they basically rip my heart out of my chest and make me question everything I'm doing.

    You're a marvelous mom, Steph. Don't doubt it. Even when the words sting.


  2. Things will get better. Some days they'll get worse, and you'll feel like they can't ever be better, but they will be. And eventually, you'll look back on this and marvel at how far away these feelings will. For every moment that things are just okay or not okay, remember how much love you have surrounding you. And whenever you feel like things are really, really not okay, just say the word, and I will be there with cupcakes.

  3. In the October issue of Good Housekeeping is an article titled, "Mom, I Hate You" in which they explain why it means you are doing a good job. If I remember I'll bring it with me. Remember, he just doesn't have the words to say that he's upset with the limits you've imposed and that's he really, really angry at this moment in time. So when your kid says "I Hate You" pat yourself on the back. No one said that raising a child is easy, childbirth is easier compared to raising children. However, you'll never be bored! It is worth it in the long run. Look how well you and your mother are doing, now.

  4. We had a similar experience today, except I heard: "I don't like you." It hurt, it made me cry, and I have spent the last 45 minutes praying and reading. Stay strong. You are not alone. We just do the best I can, and when that's not enough (it never really is when it comes to our kids), God will fill in the blanks. He knows we can not do this alone. XOXO

  5. Just wanted to say :

    I love you and God loves you, and you have a beautiful family that Loves you and friend that loves you.

    Doesn't it feel good to be loved :-)

  6. I think we all have those feelings. And I don't think anyone likes them.
    Sometimes, as much as I look forward to my baby talking, I almost don't want him to. I know at some point in his life there will be hurtful words. I don't know if I can take that from him. But I know children need to learn to express thier emotions and sometimes they feel as crappy as we do.
    He loves you.. they all love you..
    Dont ever forget that!

  7. Oh have I had days like this, except I cannot express them nearly as well as you can.

    I have been called so many things, yet in the next few moments, I am the best mommy all over again.

    It's hard living on that roller coaster, but one day you'll look back and realize you made it through. You are a wonderful mommy, woman and friend, just know that you are never alone. Just like Erin said, friends will be there for you, with cupcakes...

  8. I heard "Leave me alone" for the first time today....that's the harshest thing so far....and it stung a bit. I got real quiet. 5 minutes later we're good.

    My little girl!

  9. Steph, I feel pretty much the same as you do about words and how heavily they usually weigh on me. And I have two boys capable of crafting some pretty sharp criticisms (10 minutes ago, I got: "You are SO IRRITATING!" from A). But for some strange reason, verbal barbs from my kids have minimal emotional effect on me. I think it's because I see so much of myself in them. I have been that irate little kid. I remember what it's like to hurl out the irrational insults as a last line of defense against discipline. So when I see Little Me trying to talk smack to Big Me, I have this weird, comical, out-of-body experience. I see the conversation from his perspective (the one I used to hold) and I laugh at Little Me. I chuckle, partly because I know that is not what Little Me was expecting.

    Then I go Socratic on Little Me. I ask him what the implications would be if his accusations were true. How would I act if I didn't care about him? If he really hated me, what would our relationship be like? If I was truly his worst enemy, what else would I do? Sometimes it's a serious discussion (You wouldn't hug me). Other times it's hysterical (You'd sell me to pirates). But it usually winds up being productive.

    I guess that's my advice: channel your inner Wild Thing, see yourself in your son, and imagine how humorous the self-criticism of a writer would look if it were always delivered by pre-schoolers. :)

    My guess is, if Gray likes to use words to lash out, he's got a writing career ahead of him if he wants it. Just help him direct his angst at more deserving targets like Decepticons and Big Pharma.

  10. Oh, and I highly recommend "Mars Needs Moms," by Berkeley Breathed for the both of you. It is highly entertaining, yet I don't think I've ever made it all the way through without getting at least a little bit choked up. Seriously, it's a must.

  11. Ouch! Those are some powerful words, however, they are just words...he doesn't really mean it...he's just a kid! Hope your day gets better, we all have our down moments!

  12. awww! That is hard! I haven't had my kids say anything like that to me yet, but I am sure there will be a day.

    Your little girl is adorable!


  13. I know it's slightly different, but my 2 youngest brothers are more like my kids than my brothers. (They're 7 and 10 years younger than me, and I mama'd them). At one point I upset one of them and so they drew on the underside of their bunkbed my name with a circle around it and a slash through it. I had apparently been blacklisted!

    You are a great mother, and children use the simplest form of words to tell someone they're upset. If you are anything like my mother 10 years from now you'll be telling him this story, laughing!

  14. I recently heard "Mom go away!" for the first time. Talk about a sting!

    But I'm with you, I do the yoyo thing to myself as well. One second I'm so happy with me and then the next I'm telling myself to leave me alone... One day we'll all get it squared away, hopefully.

  15. Words can and do hurt. But luckily they are words...I'm not looking forward to when Isabella and Madelyn will be saying hurtful things to me.

    Isabella tells me 'no, mommy' so much. At first it really hurt...but then I realized she's almost 2. She doesn't understand.

    I also think back to when I was young and said hurtful things to my Mom...and it tears me apart now just remembering those times.

    Big hugs to you! And remember you are a wonderful momma--I can see that each time I read your blog.

  16. By what I have seen you are a wonderful mom. Kids dont think about what they say the same way we do. They are just upset so they come back at you. You being the person the are most close with~ Knowing this it stil hurts~ Know you are not alone and we all have days as this~ Hugs~~~

  17. It sounds like we're living in the same world. I'm okay too - not fine, not good - just okay. Which is a step above "breathing". Lately "breathing" is where I'm at - blessed? yes - okay, fine, good? no - Just breathing - that's a step in the right direction, right?

  18. My toddler said 'I don't like you' for the first time the other day. I died a little bit inside. Parenting...

  19. You really have a great way of expressing yourself in your writings. I can understand what you mean by feeling bound by your writings, but remember the willow tree and how it is strong enough to bend.
    The way you ended your post is absolutely beautiful! That's it, with Promise! I pray you fill yourself with all His words that are right for you today!

  20. Promise is always good. Sometimes that's all you need.

  21. Hi Steph,

    Your post hit me hard today, so I can only imagine what it did to you! My son is seven months and teething, but he has been so unsatisfied and grouchy lately that it is making me feel horrible. For some reason, when I try to play with him, he won't make eye contact.

    Kids (even babies!) don't know the FULL meaning behind their actions and words.

    You're doing an awesome job, and he will be shocked when you tell him this story as an adult.

  22. My oldest tells me he's going to run away from here in one breath and then that he loves me SO much in the next. It's like a crazy emotional roller coaster sometimes. But I know he means the second one more than the first, and that's all that matters to me... Hugs!

  23. They are big words said and the hate love of one self I do believe effects children. Do some meditation, think of what you like and dislike about yourself, write them down and work on honest with yourself and its easier to move on :)

  24. Your words are beautiful!

    A hug to you, in hopes that you find peace and happiness daily!

  25. Things are ok. That's something to work with, at least, right? I mean, we can't have the mountain peaks without the valleys.

    Take care.

  26. *huge hugs* mom. My five-year-old said something similar once, and I knew he didn't mean it, but I realized at that point what it must sound like for them to hear us say things we don't mean, like "if you don't do xyz, you'll never play video games again!"

    I can't recall where I read this, once, but it was about meaning what you say 100% of the time, and never offering blank promises, excuses or consequences. Ultimately, it has helped change the way I deal with the kids, and also changed their dealing with me.

    One of these days, though, amidst the school runs, soccer, working out, extra-curricular activities and writing, I will sit in a bath tub with yummy herbs and salts and reflect and realize that maybe, just maybe, despite the repetition and noise and clutter, it's all okay, we're okay, and we're doing just fine.

  27. ((hugs)) it does get better-then maybe a bit worse, but always better. xoxo

  28. I felt the same way yesterday when, just hours after sharing a piece of cake on the couch w/ Wog and thinking it was a perfect day, Wog throws a rather large Thomas the Tank Engine at me because I said that his daddy wasn't on his way home from work yet.

    It'll get better and worse and better again. I guess I'll take "just okay" for now...

  29. One of my favorite songs made me think of you the other day when I was driving in my car. Funny how that happens. We are perfect strangers, but I thought of you and I prayed for you. The song is "Be Still" and I remembered your bracelet that you had made b/c that is my best friend's "theme" this year--something that God spoke to her.

    Lyrics are here::

    Thinking of you, praying for you and knowing exactly how you feel!


  30. You remind me of myself. I was feeling so low yesterday and I felt like I needed a word from God, and so I went and got myself one. He led me to Job, and I think he was trying to tell me that it's not as bad as it could be, and that I have much to be thankful for. Just remember, it will get better!

  31. so much similarities bw our sons...they can't wear shirts because they are too________...they horrible stinging words and then kisses and I love yous 5 minutes later...oh is hard, but the cuddly lovable moments carry me through. It is a hard road, being a mom, but we can do it!

  32. I understand the yo-yo. You'll be out of this season of your life before you know it.

    In the meantime, I'm sure you'll get the support and love from your friends and family you need on the day your yo-yo is headed down.


  33. I'm so sorry you're in this place, but it sounds like you already know where to look for comfort. His Word and promises will bring you peace...

    Blessings and hugs to you.

  34. o.k seriously, did you use photoshop for this picture? play with the camera or is this point and shoot? I love how you captured the sun, the outside, the shadow AND Ivy....
    I just can't seem to take pictures like this!!


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