Sunday, May 6, 2012

Not the Perfect Mom

Have you ever felt like you just can't catch a break? Like every little thing goes wrong all day long and completely ruins your mood and your attitude? Today has been one of those days for me and it's not even lunch time. Unfortunately, I feel like I have had a lot of those days lately and it just plain sucks.

I want to enjoy my family and my children. I want to be the mom that does fun activities with her kids and keeps a (relatively) clean house and has a good dinner on the table for her family every night. Instead, I feel like the mom who is constantly yelling at her kids and trying to get away from them, almost never provides any fun activities that we can all do together and more often than not feeds her kids lunch meat and cut up fruits and vegetables for dinner while I sit and watch them eat. And don't even get me started on what a wreck the house is all the time. I am exhausted at the end of the day (who am I kidding, I'm exhausted by the middle of the day) and I just can't seem to be the person I want to be.

Today, we got up early to take Daddy to the airport because he had to go to Las Vegas for the week for work. I tried to think of things to do with the kids today to keep them busy so we wouldn't be driving each other crazy. Going anywhere is pretty much out of the question because Aaron doesn't like being confined in his stroller and if he's not in his stroller when we are in public, he will run off and make it impossible to do anything. If he is in his stroller, he screams and cries. So, I am left to think of activities we can do at home. I got him a new water table last week and he hasn't played with it yet, so I thought that would be fun and would probably entertain them for an hour or two.

When we got home from the airport, I filled the table up with water and let Aaron play. The first thing he did was try to climb onto the table like he was getting into the bathtub. It's not a pool, so that didn't work, but it didn't prevent him from trying it about 5 dozen times. When he wasn't trying to get into the table, he found the drain plug and promptly pulled it so all the water drained out. After refilling the table (a couple of times), both boys were playing and getting completely soaked (which is fine - that's kind of the point). But of course every few minutes someone would cry or complain about something. Then a bee showed up and ruined the whole activity since Jacob refused to go anywhere near the table after that. (The bee did not sting anyone, but Jacob was stung by a yellow jacket last year and has been terrified of all bees since then) So that was the end of that activity! It lasted all of about 30 minutes.

So we came inside and watched some Blue's Clues and Phineas and Ferb on Netflix. But the dog also decided to pee on the floor next to me and Aaron stuck his hands in it before I noticed it. Once I cleaned that up and washed Aaron's hands, I noticed he had made a mess with his snack all over the walls, so I had to get out the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to clean that up and while I was trying to do that, Aaron found his water bottle, came up behind me and started dumping his water on my back. Of course this was hilarious (to him). So now, the dog is outside, the boys are in their rooms and I am trying to convince myself that I can make it through the rest of this day. It's not even noon yet.

So I need some help here. I have all sorts of friends who post on Facebook and on their blogs about how great their kids are and the fun things they do together and how they can't wait for summer vacation so they can spend more time together. How do you do it? (by the way, if that's you, I'm not trying to be mean, I really want to know!) How do you enjoy all that time together without losing your mind? How do you do all of these fun things together and cook dinner and have that perfect family? I have been trying but I can't seem to figure it out, so I need some tips. Are you really as perfect and pulled together as you make it look? People tell me all the time that they don't know how I do what I do and sometimes people even tell me I'm a great mom. I feel like I am trying but I am far from a great mom or at least far from the mom that I want to be.

I'm not writing this because I want a pity party (although I realize that is pretty much what it sounds like) and I am not overwhelmed or feeling depressed. I'm just frustrated with the way things are and I want to make it better but I don't know how. So really, if you have any suggestions or tips on how you manage to get things done and actually enjoy your children, I would love to hear them.


  1. I feel your pain! My 'Perfect Mom Days' are few and far between! Right now you need a pry bar just to walk across my kitchen floor to un-stick yourself from all the sticky spots. You cannot see the counters for all of the crumbs and clutter! I keep finding kitty treats all over the carpet because a certain little boy thinks it is funny to throw them at the cat. Ten seems to be the minimum number of times I have to yell at the kids to do a single simple task. You are not alone! Perfect is very over-rated!


  2. Oh girl, don't get down on yourself! It's all a facade really :) Believe me, there is something we are all lacking in our duties as moms.. for me, it's the house. Ack! I cannot keep up. I wish you could see it. It's a disaster! And the clutter... oh man. I also get so upset with myself when I try to jam pack all my "semi-stay-at-home" mom duties in on Thursdays and Fridays. I try to be the end all, be all... plan fun activities, lunches out with friends with kids Nate's age, run errands, get groceries, laundry, clean the house, go to the gym.... well, I never make it and actually what ends up lacking are the fun activities for Nate :( He just get dragged around town and through the chores. And please don't forget, you do have the added challenge of Downs with Aaron. Things definitely can't operate exactly as they can for other children, so you really have to work with that and adjust... and you know, it's not always easy. I'm sorry you're feeling down. You and Matt need one of those awesome nights out again!! To just relax. I think you're a super mom for sure!

  3. Kristi, It sounds like we need to get together again. First of all, perfect doesn't exist. You know that (I know). Secondly, the key to having that serenity (or semblance of it), is to let go of your dreams of what you should be or how you compare to other moms. You are perfect for your kids. You can't compare yourself to others because what you have is not what they have. It is a really really difficult thing to find that peace and acceptance. It took me a REALLY long time to get over wishing that I had what everyone else had (as if what they have is perfect)--nobody has it perfect--but even so, your challenges are more intense most of the time, not just some of the time. The challenges of having a child with special needs are just what you described. They do NOT know how to constructively play (they know how to destructively play!). AND, therefore, you will never have that perfectly sublime day of watching your kids play together. It really DOES suck. I have struggled with that for SO long. Let go of your vision of what you want your day to look like. Find joy in simple pleasures...allow Aaron to watch more TV than Jacob so you can enjoy doing a puzzle (constructive play) or building something with Legos. Learn to leave Aaron home with a caregiver so you can have a sane outing with Jacob. Give that to both yourself AND Jacob! Don't get hung up on the fact that you owe it to Aaron to take him along. He will never miss it and would probably be happier staying home. Find that balance to when you bring Aaron and when he stays home. The time will come when it is easier to go out with him to the park or to the zoo or where ever you dream of going. Believe me.....Nicolas is now 14 and it has gotten A LOT easier. Those younger years with a special needs kid are so much more exhausting than younger years with typical kids! Bottom line, my advice-- let go of that dream of what you thought parenthood and having a family would be. (it's not easy, I am still working on that to a certain extent) Don't compare yourself with have a very different circumstance. Enjoy your time with your boys separately as much as you can. It is so much easier and there is NOTHING wrong with doing it. You need to preserve yourself....Hang in there girl. It is really tough and you have a LOT to deal with! You are doing an amazing job! Cindy is coming in town--- can you and Matt join us for dinner? I would really like that! Laura

    By Emily Perl Kingsley
    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

    When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

    "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

    But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

    And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

    But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.