Better, Not Bitter
Sometimes I Just Don’t Enjoy My Kids
We really gotta stop feeling guilty. This week the Washington Post published an article by a working mom, Samantha Rodman aka Dr. Psych Mom regarding the displeasure she experiences during the majority of the time she spends with her three children, all under age 5, titled, “I’m Just Not into Toddlers, Including My Own.” I don’t think being a good parent is about “enjoying” all the time you spend with your kids. It’s kind of like that old myth about being your child’s “best friend.” Neither are smart parenting strategies.
I made a conscious decision to only have one child at a time in diapers. And yes, that includes Pull-ups. I think if you enjoy a quarter of the time you spend with three kids under 5, you’re in line for sainthood. That is, unless you’re a preschool or kindergarten teacher or the like. I am one of seven children, and my mom taught me when I was a fairly new mom, that you’re not going to like what your kids do all the time. But you still love them.
That doesn’t help to eliminate the ongoing issue of feeling guilty about the times that we don’t enjoy our offspring. And I get it, because I fight the same feelings. I have to stop that horrid little voice in my head that tells me I am making the wrong decision. Or that I should feel one way or another about some interaction I don’t enjoy with my child. Now that I am a divorced, single mom and those day-to-day interactions are almost all with me, the guilty feelings try to rise off the chart!
I felt guilty when my youngest was two and had terrible temper tantrums. Like, “I think need to take him to see a specialist” temper tantrums. Once he even tried to hit his grandma with a can of soup because she couldn’t prepare it for him right away! Well, we made it through that period. We got great advice and counsel and today this child is so compassionate and caring, it’s hard for people to believe he was ever short-tempered.
I fight with internal guilt about dealing with my teenager being late for curfew. After he’s finally arrived home, I’m in my bed having a debate with myself about feeling happy that he’s home safe versus the desire to wring his neck for making me worry when he’s late and doesn’t call or text.
Raising children could mean decades of guilty feelings. I refuse to let it weigh me down.
Sometimes you’re going to feel guilty because you don’t like your kids on a particular day or during a tough stage. For me the most difficult stage was infancy – I was so happy when my kids could “use their words,” and finally tell me what was wrong rather than trying to figure out why they cried inconsolably. So really, it’s been kinda downhill from there. 🙂
I learned to remind myself during those periods when I get irritated with one of them that some days, I really don’t like myself. And although I love her madly, sometimes my mom gets on my last nerve. If get pissed with myself or my mom, why do I think I am going to be happy with every stage of my children’s lives? It’s just not realistic, so I need to get over it when I feel it happening and keep it moving.
Do you enjoy every stage of your kids’ growth? Or are you like me and Dr. Rodman and so many other mothers, accepting the feelings and fighting the guilt? Let’s discuss in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter at hashtag #judgemyparenting