Monday, April 18, 2011

And Then I Cried

This is why I kept this space. For a post like this.

This morning I tweeted out "Do you think my girls took a class in driving me insane or it just comes naturally?" A fairly light hearted tweet that many a parent laughed at and agreed with. Then a tweet from someone who has followed/unfollowed me repeatedly tweeted "THIS is what drives me insane"

I knew what she meant but I tried to play it off with a joke and got back an indictment about the way I talk about my kids. This shouldn't shock me, I've heard it before. And I expect it. After all even I joke about how I blog about how I hate my kids.

But today, today I stepped away from the computer and sobbed.

It's been a tough few weeks. Calamity Jane is regressing for some reason and her behavior has become incredibly amped up. AT the same time, her sister is finally acting out in response to the intensity of her sister and all the attention we give her because of it. The days are filled with constant fighting, tears, and lashing out. I struggle with how to handle it, what to do, and this time I can't find the answer. And my reaction is just that I want to run away.

There have been so many recriminations of myself lately. In spite of the assurances of everyone who knows me and my kids that my feelings are natural, that they feel the same way and it's understandable. In spite of all of this, I hate myself. I hate myself for not being able to fix this. And I hate my kids for being like this. And I hate my husband for not knowing how to fix it. And I hate everyone (the schools, other parents, other kids) for only seeing the bad in them. And I hate myself for seeing it too.

All the words in the world can't stack up again my self doubt. So I sit and listen to my girls work with their behavioral therapist in the other room. And I cry. I cry and hope that it will keep me from doing it in front of them.


  1. I saw that on Twitter. And I was surprised. To me, if it's a tweet I don't care about, I have the ability to scroll on past. I'm more of a non-confrontational type, so I just don't say anything. Your tweet was one that I understood, and my response would have been something along the lines of "is it nature or nuture?" but I couldn't figure out how to make it come out and make sense in 140 characters.

    I also have come to a much greater understanding of what you are going through since reading your Tribune column about your daughters (Being Special). And it has opened my eyes to other parents who may be out somewhere and their child may be acting out, or have a fit out of the blue, for no apparent reason, while mom is just trying to pick up a gallon of milk. It's not the parent's fault, it's not the child's fault, and while the first emotion might be to be annoyed with one or both, that is not fair to either. You are doing everything you can for your children, that is in their best interests, and some days will be harder than others, and know that you are not alone in your emotions.

    (And sometimes it's best to "block" the negativity.)

  2. I love you. I love your kids. I know this is hard and I honor you for being able to write how you feel.

  3. Amy: I probably would have laughed at a nurture vs nature response, and agreed a bit. I am out of my depth here. I don't think I was prepared for the fours to be hard. And what we used in the past (time outs, mediation, hugging) is not working. I think we're in for a rough ride until next year when they are apart most of the day. They need a break from each other.

    Man that tweet hit me like a ton of bricks; it seemed unnecessarily hurtful. But then I know it isn't always personal. I don't know what is behind it; I don't know what shapes the way other people think, where their feelings come from.

    I know that before I had the girls, especially after dealing with infertility, I was really bothered by the way people talked about their kids. Now I know it's possible to not always like them even when you love them like crazy.

    My kids are young, there's two of them, and we're dealing with issues most people don't have to handle. I use humor to deal with that. And I try to be honest because I want other parents to feel okay about themselves when they feel overwhelmed. That's not always going to be understood.

    And as the girls' therapist said after seeing my swollen eyes: "it's better to tweet it than yell it at them".

  4. @jen: as always, you keep me sane and mindful that I am not the worst mother in the world. Lucky to have you!

  5. I'm so sorry that you are going through a rough period. We all have times when we don't think that we can do it. There has been many a time that I have locked myself in a bathroom stall at work and had a good cry. Other times, I'll just lock myself away, close my eyes and just Do what you need to Kate; whatever it takes to give yourself relief at the darkest times and don't forget that there are people who love you.

  6. {{{Hugs}}} Mean people suck. You are a fantastic mother. That is worth repeating (and shouting): YOU ARE A FANTASTIC MOM! Thank you for always keepin' it real and sharing your story.

    {{{Hugs}}} again.

  7. I saw that tweet and was actually trying to think of something witty but had nothing so I didn't respond at all- I totally get it though. Kids are tough. Being a Mom is hard. You are doing a great job. I don't know the specifics of your situation but you give me the courage to go out and figure out what I need for the boys even when it feels like I'm using a map written in Chinese.

  8. I hope you realize that reading posts like this makes me come thisclose to crying *for* you. And then of course I read down more of your posts - because yeah I've met you but I still don't know that much ABOUT you - and they made me want to cry, too, because I have SO been there. And in 1st grade there are almost 20 kids in Mister Man's class and he's been invited to 2 birthday parties so far this year. Really, only 2 kids have had a birthday and a party so far? Heartbreaking, but I do all I can for him then I get frustrated and say something to him that I know cuts him deeply (that Asperger's thing is a great companion for shame because, you know, he's got the perfectionist tendencies) and I feel like crap but OH were they driving me nuts and I *just* need a break and seriously how hard is it to do something the first or second time I ask and not the sixth and then when you do it, you know how to do it, so why are your dirty socks now sitting on the floor of your room instead of the dirty clothes hamper like I asked.

    And oops I just undid all the good my chai latte did for me - after I had to scramble to get everyone to school on time today because my husband forgot to wash their lunchboxes and containers last night. Deep breaths...

    That said, how ARE things going in Columbia? Are you finding good people there? I didn't realize you were there for some reason, but we have some good friends there with a slightly older daughter who are Chicago transplants I'd be happy to introduce you to!

    Chin up. I'm just waiting for Autism One next month so I can feel like a "good" mom again. I need it!

  9. Hey Kate - I am sorry this is so terribly late but I wanted to let you know that I've had someone say similiar things about my tweets before and it really made me paranoid. I may not know how you feel in regards to your kids because mine are still so much younger, but I do know how you feel when someone squashes your only outlet to vent. It totally sucks. And I hate that it happens. That is all.

  10. I've had this post in my reader for two weeks now, waiting t be near a computer to respond. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry someone responded like that. Honestly, I think it's important to vent. and not judge those who do! So no judgment, just LOVE from me!

  11. You know what one of my mom's favorite sayings was when I was a kid (which explains a lot about who I am now, lol)? "Eh, fuck 'em if they can't take a joke"
    People need to lighten up. I'm pretty sure that if a mother out there says that her kids have never, not once, ever annoyed her- she's a liar. So if someone was bothered by that tweet- which made me laugh and think about how I drove my parents insane and now my kids are doing the same to me- they have issues. Bigger issues than you venting in a perfectly healthy way about a tough time.