Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ambivalence is the new Happy

What is wrong with me? Let's check out the contradictions happening over at 5penny's place:

- I don't love living here but, I enjoy living here.
- I don't particularly like parenting but, I love being "Mommy."
- I hate excercising but, I love the results.

I was sure there were more... I'm sure they'll come back to me. However, it would seem that I'm not the only one having a hard time lately. Everywhere I go, virtually anyway, it seems that ambivalence is the autumn happy.

Julia and I have going round and round lately and it's left me too exhausted to give a rat's ass, quite frankly, about life. She's on the cusp of turning 5 and in her heart she's an adult. She wants the same rights as her parents, she wants to be able to talk back in smart-ass tones of condescension, and she wants to mimic us until we physically want to clamp hands over her mouth and never let her speak again.

I actually freaked out yesterday morning, screaming at both husband and child, "why do I always feel at fault; why do you like to make me feel like crap?" And then I immediately started crying. This was over two things: 1. who's at fault for not replenishing the onions (obviously, me) and 2. trying to get Julia to leave her folded bedclothes folded (impossible). A rational person, I was not.

I realized however, that my daughter is playing me like the fool that I am. She's seeking boundaries and I was negotiating them. She works best in a black and white world, where behavior has consequences. She takes advantage of warnings, pushing buttons until you're ready to hit her... She's a kid, she's exploring her world and I just need to be a more consistent part.

I had been courting her; I will be the first to admit my feelings had been hurt and so, I was trying to be her friend. You see, she loves Daddy. He is first and she will cry if she gets stuck with me. It hurts. I know that it's not intentional but, my emotions do not. So, I thought that if I were more enjoyable on a play with me, friendly level than the favoritism would lessen.

Instead, it grew.

Yesterday, Zoli suggested that maybe I stop The Friend Thing and instead hold fast and firm in the discipline/actions have consequences areas. By bedtime things had improved drastically. Phew. He also told Julia that Mommy was off-limits yesterday until she apologized for her behavior: I wasn't allowed to help her, i.e. make breakfast, help her get dressed, etc. She woke up and played in her room, she needed help to find something and Zoli told her she'd have to find it by herself. She got dressed, brushed her teeth, and was generally cool with the Mommy's Not Helping Thing... until she realized she was hungry and can't reach the cupboards. She then gave me a hug and said, "I love you Mommy," and then whispered, "but not a lot."

Awesome. *bangs head against wall, repeatedly*

duh, Mom. Like, Oh. My. God.

My respect for my mother has increased ten-fold. She tells me how similar Julia is to myself as a child, that gentle was just impossible as was calm. She says that, in our family, at least, girl-children are bitchy mean towards their Mommies.

Is this true for anyone else?


Lisa said...

Bangs head... That sums up alot of parenthood, yes? heehee.

Food Mum said...

Good luck with setting boundaries. Kids sure know where all the buttons are to push. My kids have all been through stages of Daddy is the greatest, mum second best. Just don't take it personally, if you disappeared in a puff of smoke you'd be missed, just as the king missed salt from his food in the story. You know the one when his daughter gave him a gift of salt and he was so offended that he cast her out. She eventually got a job in the kitchens of the castle and caused a whole feast to be cooked without salt, and it tasted so revolting that he summoned the cook - so she proved how valuable was the gift she had given him. It sounded better in the original version...!