Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sometimes I'm not a very good mommy

I'm not the most patient or tolerant person in the world. I'm a little on the short-tempered side. These are shortcomings that I am fully aware of and despise about myself. And yet, they're hard to overcome.

I think I need to try harder with Annabelle. She's our little mischief-maker. I get angry at her a lot. And I know that if I don't find a better way to relate to her, we're going to end up with exactly what I feared about having daughters: a shitty mother-daughter relationship just like I enjoyed with my own mother while I was growing up.

A perfect example: she has this thing that involves sucking her fingers on one hand and simultaneously twirling/twisting her hair with the other. She's done this since she was an infant. The two fingers she has sucked all these years are now bumpy and the nails are malformed. The hair twirling has evolved into hair pulling. As in pulling out. (Am I freaking you out? It freaks me out.) I can't stand this habit of hers anymore. It drives me crazy. I. Want. Her. To. Just. Stop. It. So I'm constantly on her case about it. And I get mad at her for it. And she can't seem to stop, so it's turned into this battle ground between us, and a vicious cycle at that.

Tonight I was sitting on her bed reading bedtime stories. She starts with the finger sucking/hair yanking. I reach over and swat her hands away from her mouth/hair. She goes right back to it. I tell her to stop. She stops. Then goes right back to it. I get mad. I stop reading the stories. She goes to bed in tears. I feel like shit.

Michael says all she needs is lots of love. He's probably right. I suck. I need to try harder.


Tracy said...

You are to a good mom! We all have our things that drive us nuts with our kids. Certain things drives us crazy we get mad and then we feel guilty that we didn't do it a different way. Just keep talking to her about it, make her aware that shes doing it. For her it is all subconcious and habitual. For us its frustrating, but I think the more you bring it to her attention by talking about it, the older she gets, she will become more conscious of it and learn not to do it.

Carla said...

Oh, Lisa, big big big big big hugs. I could have written your post, not because of the specific circumstances but because of the "I suck" comment. You cannot do everything right everything single time and there is no right way of doing things. Sometimes you will be more frustrated than other times and other times you will have the patience of a saint! You are aware, you are human, you are trying...those things alone are a huge gift to your children. There are many parents out there who never think about their parenting or their reactions to their kids and those are the children who are truly emotionally harmed. Each day is a new one and you are a bright, searching, wonderfully mommy who will keep looking at ways to be better at it every day, whatever that better is based on your energy and patience level. You know these things already, Lisa, but you just need to hear them more often. Hugs again.

Liz said...

I think we all have things our kids do that we can't stand.

The thing your daughter is doing... I don't think your reaction is a selfish one. Her behavior is impacting her negatively (deformed nails, bumpy skin, pulling out hair).

I'd be upset, too.

And I'd probably try the angry thing, too.

I guess she has to choose to stop so you have to find ways to bribe... er, I mean, encourage... her to stop on her own. Help her find another comfort object.

Don't beat yourself up so much!! Would you talk this way to your closest friend?

Leigh Anne said...

your post made me think about my own relationship with my mother. i used to do the hair twirling thing, and my mom took the anfry route with me. honestly, sometimes i did do it just to piss her off (one i realized it did), but i did eventually stop.

you are an awesome mom. there will be angry, annoyed, irritating times as i'm sure you know...but your kids know you love them!

on a side note: a friend of mine has a 3 yo who pulls her hair out (to baldness actually), and they found it was due to stress. maybe something's bugging her...???

Katy said...

You could try pulling her hair back so that she cannot play with it and making her wear gloves. You could also teach her how to do something else with her hands, such as knitting. She is old enough! When I was little I used to bite my nails, and the thing that worked for me was doing other things with my hands (I was taught how to knit and now am an avid knitter) during the day and wearing gloves to bed at night. You are not a terrible mother - it's just that you are human and can't do everything you might want to acheive.