Thursday, January 15, 2009

S's school district finally saw fit to have a snow day. Yesterday all the surrounding districts called off school, but ours forged ahead. Today, I was relieved to get up and read about the cancellation.
These three boxes are from the new chairs. I kept them around for their play possibilities. The boys had been climbing in and out of them a few times a day, asking me to close up the top flaps, and then popping out to roar at each other. Today I got out the box cutter and decided to make something only slightly more elaborate. I cut doors in two sides of each box and lined them up. They were a tunnel at first, and quickly became a machine. We added some steering wheels (ice cream pint lids + metal brads) and a laser beam (flashlight).
It has been fun, though not without moments of bickering. I had to add a steering wheel to each box when the first one was being fought over. Also, one of the boxes is weaker than the other two. Somebody leaned on it and it collapsed easily, sending S into hysterics. So, it seems no playtime, however wholesome and creative, is without some drama.
Before you utter even one syllable about what a great mom I am for making a tunnel of boxes for my kids, let me get something off my chest. I have been in a state of dismal sadness over the dynamics of our house this winter. I am trying to keep my head above water day to day, fighting the wintertime blues (to put it lightly) that seem to come over me every year during this wretched season. The boys are bored and battling over the most trivial things. It seems that my normal store of patience, Depression-era scant to begin with, has evaporated in the dry winter air. I am unable to help them through their boredom or sibling rivalry. Instead I often cause the tension in the house to elevate to unbearable levels with my shouting and/or thoughtless words. I hear myself saying things I know I should not say. Why do we have all these toys if you don't want to play with them? If you complain about being bored one more time, I'm going to throw away every one of your toys. I hear my voice reach a volume it should not reach. If someone spoke to me the way I speak to my boys, I would burst into tears. They often do. As they fight with each other, I clearly, unmistakably, hear them echoing my angry, impatient tones. I instruct them to speak calmly to each other, talk it through, work it out, then swallow a guilty lump in my throat. Who am I kidding?
I worry about the current and future damage I'm inflicting upon my children. I walk around feeling sick to my stomach with this worry. Alternately, I try to numb myself with food, which does little to help my weight-loss efforts, as you can imagine.
I know the type of mom I want to be. I've read the books and know which ideas I want to embrace as a parent. My intellectual ideas are no match for my real nature, it seems. I guess I don't really know if it's personality, bad habits, depression, or a mix of everything. Regardless of the specific label, it seems like an ugly monster I just can't slay for good, no matter how many mornings I wake up and resolve to do better.
This is some heavy, yucky stuff I'm laying down here. I try to keep this space pretty light and happy, I know, but I trust you all to let me be real here sometimes too. I don't have any answers today, and I certainly don't expect you to offer me any. Let's just say that I'm looking forward to spring, in an urgent, white-knuckles kind of way. It's good to know that it will come. It's good to hope that its jaunty sun might rescue me.


sarah hedman said...

oh laura, i feel the same right now. some days are better than others but i have definitely regretted lots of my words lately. you are a great mom, I promise!! love you and i know things will get better.

Banana Mama said...

I love you too. We hope so much when they are born that it will all go swimmingly. We will be THOSE parents. Our house will be THAT house. At the same time we know that so much hangs on us and we know we are not perfect. Day by day we wake up and accept our lives and there is something holy in that. You fight the good fight everyday. You are being burned in the fire of stay-at-home parenting and you will come out stronger because you keep showing up each day. Painful, painful our lives can be with little ones. So frustrating. But we keep coming back and trying again and that it something to be proud of.

Jay M. said...

Laura, you're a good mom. A really good one.

The phrase, "boys will be boys" didn't come out of nothing. My brother and I are two years apart, and as much as I love my mom, I don't really remember her being nearly as cool/fun/constructive/creative as you are, and I think we turned out ok.

My brother and I used to scream, fight, complain, nag, bounce around, break things, and probably drive the woman halfway mad.

Sometimes it seems like a huge struggle just to make it through a day, or sometimes just to start it.

I'm not going to say you're great because you made your kids a box tunnel. The thing is, that in the dead of winter, when it's awful and bitter and angry cold outside, and the kids are bored and crazy and cranky, and mom's overwhelmed and undermotivated and tired and fed up, she still takes the time, finds the energy, and makes the effort to get involved and play with her kids, and make something awesome and memorable for them so they can have a good time inside.

And doing what you do, when you're feeling the way you do, that makes all the difference in the world.

Good job, mom.

eclectic_chica/Kellie said...

Wow, you said EXACTLY how I feel many days. I don't think I could put it into words as well as you did. I think we wouldn't be human if we didn't have those "damn, I'm awesome" kind of days and those "man, I suck at this days". The problem is when those sucky days seem to be more prevalent. And that happens more than I care to admit during winter and the holidays. Many, many days I don't like who I am to my children, and it can really, really bring me down but I love them so much I just keep trying every day. Hopefully that will count for something. Thanks for being honest on your blog and sharing how life really is, instead of being a "blog perfect" person. You made me feel better and not so alone in my yucky thoughts.

Bonnie said...

First of all, I don't know how I missed this post. I'm sorry you feel this way, since I feel the exact same way and I know how absolutely SUCKY it is.

Maybe this will make you feel better: just today I flipped out that Lydia kept dropping her apple, screaming at the top of my lungs and punching the door.

Maybe we should trade kids for an afternoon. You can cuddle with a cutie and I can wrestle with your boys.