Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm Tired of This Hole

Last night, #4 couldn't sleep. I'm still not sure why he couldn't sleep; there was no fever, no runny nose, no cough, no evidence of illness. But it was obvious his internal organs were in pain because he could not sleep and could not get comfortable. From 11:30PM until 4:00AM, I wandered from his bed to our bed; I took him into our bed, I took him back to his bed. After that, when my exhaustion was spent, Brandon brought him into our bed and comforted him. I was able to get about 2-3 hours of real sleep. This was good because today is a crazy day --two performances for the Elementary Fine Arts Choir (I'm their accompanist), four piano lessons, one practice, and all the other stuff moms are supposed to do.
I tried not to let the exhaustion get the best of me, but I was confronted with slow children, lost shoes, a husband going out of town last minute for work (he'll be back tomorrow night), a house I haven't cleaned in over a week because of my non-existent motivation, the stress of knowing that the shoes were lost because of my non-existent motivation, still wondering what was going on with #4's crazy tummy (indigestion?), and I freaked out.
I yelled at the kids because of the lost shoes; my oldest left for school in tears.
I do this all the time.
She bears the worst of my meanness.
She doesn't deserve it.
And yet, there I go, yelling and berating at her because she "should understand" and be "more responsible" and more "grown up" and I forget she's only seven years old.
She's Seven Years Old.
Sure, I could blame my verbal abuse on disobedient kids. I could blame it on my depression. I could blame it on my exhaustion. I could also blame it on the economy and the cold weather. But it doesn't matter. I'm a verbal abuser and I need to own it.
At the school this morning, my two daughters were in the audience watching the Fine Arts Music Concert. I waved at both of them --my oldest showed no sign of sadness or anger. Her immediate forgiveness never ceases to shock me --and chastise me. How simply and easily children forgive! One day, #1 called me from her friend's house right after school (a common occurrence). She asked if she could stay and play and I asked her why it took her so long to call me (the call was almost 10 minutes late). She said she and her friend had gotten in a fight after school, but now they were fine.
See? Easy. You fight, you get over it, you forgive, you move on.
After seeing her in the audience at the school, I took the time (after the concert, obviously) to write her a quick note of apology and had the office take it to her classroom. I know it won't make up for the continual damage I do to her self-worth and sense of love, but maybe it's a start.

You know, dear reader? It's so hard for me to do the right things. I look at my home and I know --I KNOW --with all my heart that if my family is to be happy, then I have to be the one to make it happy. Me. The Mom. As I was telling a friend on the phone yesterday, I think I rely too much on my husband to make things better. I also rely on my kids to do more than their share. I expect others to help me (why haven't my visiting teachers felt prompted to come over? Where's that one friend when I need her? What about MEMEMEME?) and I wallow, wallow, wallow in my self-pity and despair.
Remember this post? About putting the smack down on self-pity? I think I've come full circle again. Because the self-pity hasn't been smacked down enough. And I'm sad all the time again. And I don't seem to care. Thus the need for the therapist.
And 'round and 'round and 'round we go...
Damn Depression.
But I'm tired of it, you see. I'm done (again). So, I'm seeing my home differently this morning. I'm seeing it as I'm supposed to see it. It needs to be a place where my children are free from yelling, rudeness, vulgarity, selfishness, self-pity, despair. It needs to be a place free of that stuff for my husband. And for me. But how is it going to happen? Who is going to make sure it becomes this way? Me. It's my responsibility. My sole responsibility? Perhaps not. But my husband is a busy man, and if I wait around until he's available, then I'll be waiting a long time. I need to decide now to get my house in order and be the type of mother and wife I'm supposed to be --I want to be. The words seem trite because I know it's a lot harder than words on paper. In fact, it downright sucks most of the time, and pretending it's easy doesn't help, either. I have to put away my natural tendencies to do things only for me and start focusing on how to bring about peace and love and the Spirit. I'm the most selfish person in this household, you know. I mean, look at this blog post. Who's it about? Yeah.
Hopefully the therapist will help? I'll let you know when I actually get one. Until then, go kiss your kids. Do the dishes. Enjoy some time with your family and remember that you don't have it so bad. You could be in a hole of despair and verbally abusing everyone in your family like Cheryl does.
Not a place one should be. Not even me.

P.S. Sorry for all the blah. I had to get it out, and hot darn! I already feel a bit better. Maybe I'll go clean up last night's dinner mess. Or was that Monday's?


Amanda D said...

I feel ya. And, unfortunately, I'm right there with you. I have a friend coming into town tomorrow (yay!) so I have a good reason to get up and get going on my list. Thanks for the kick in the pants. Here I go....

Good luck! Remember to pray when you feel most unworthy of prater. The Lord always loves you!

Annette Lyon said...

I've been in a bit of a hole lately, too--and my oldest has paid the price of my being so critical. He's 13 now, an age that's crucial and full of growth and development, and I'm terrified that I'm scarring him. I'm working on being less criticial, but it's hard.

Julie said...

I know exactly what you mean about the verbal abuse. My Chloe gets the brunt of mine, too. I am really trying to improve on that one.

You are such a good person. I'm thinking of you today. Love and kisses.

Michele said...

I am right there in the same boat with you and I really appreciate the honesty of your post. I spend so much time beating myself up about it and feeling like crap, but I think that only makes me worse because then I'm feeling worse. Maybe I will see what I can do about seeing someone. After all, it's not like it could make things worse. Thanks. Love ya!

Janelle said...

Hey Cheryl.

Love you.

I would like to give your readers some perspective. I have never seen Cheryl yell an inordinate amount at her kids. I have never seen her call them names. I have seen her hold her cool during tantrums and other trying 2 year old behavior. Cheryl is an excellent mother. Not finding shoes when it is time to go is stressful.

I think the depression is making you think you are doing worse than you are. I have seen you get very sad. Work on that and maybe the parenting stuff will feel better too.

Also, when my husband started working less my personal happiness skyrocketed. We decided more money was not making us happier and so we have turned down opportunities that would have been financially rewarding but pulled AW away from the home too much. Don't try to be superwoman Cheryl. Would a housekeeper or more drop off preschool help? How about after school help from a girl in your ward to help with the kids/cleaning/piano lesson time?

I hope you find peace soon. Finding a therapist is not defeat! Its a step in the right direction. It is a lot like going to WW and you totally rocked at that! You can do this.

And.... turn off your computer. Take a blogging break. You always return happier after one of those.

Julie said...

Isn't Janelle awesome? What she has to say is right on.

I was actually just thinking -- would any of your piano lesson students' moms be willing to do a trade? Like they clean your house in exchange for piano lessons? It might work better if she had a couple or more kids taking from you, but that's a thought. We do trades like that with Stanton's business and it works out great.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say except I'm here for you. :) And Janelle's right, you are a good mom. A good mom who makes mistakes. There's no such thing as a mom who doesn't make mistakes.

Hoping tomorrow's a little better.

JustRandi said...

Oh, Cheryl, I'm so sorry. When I go off my depression meds I find myself angry all the time. I used to feel horrible about what I put my kids through. Especially the older ones.
I know that people who take the meds think that everyone should - and that's pretty much where I'm coming from. Have you thought about it?

If you want to "talk" about it email me privately.

Cardalls said...

All I can say is the Atonement can make up for your mistakes as a Mom (we ALL make them) and can make up the difference for your daughter too. Please don't berate yourself for being imperfect...your Heavenly Father doesn't do that so you shouldn't either. I'll pray for you.

Summer said...

I have a difficult time with expectations for my oldest. I've been having a hard time with this too.

Liz said...

It's so crazy how you can live across the street from someone and be so wrapped up in your own worries that you don't have the faintest clue what that someone is going through. For what it's worth, however: I feel ya, girl. Sorry I haven't been able to help more ... you're not as bad a person as you think.

Alison Wonderland said...

You're way more honest than I could be about it but I've so been there.
Every day we start again to do the best we can. (And when we screw it up we try again tomorrow.)

m_and_m said...

I wrote a post about progress in motherhood today. Maybe that would help?

I love you, girl. Be kind to yourself, too. This is all a process.

So frustrating that it is often so dang slow, though. I know. Oh, how I know.

Desi said...


I could have written this same exact post, except for the piano accompaniment and such. I love reading about your struggles because it make me feel like I’m not so abnormal. Thank you for being so open and willing to share. I hope everything will look up soon.


blogging and bliss~ said...

You are soo right. I feel that way a lot. You need to leave the house for a bit (maybe go and help someone else...). Then come back and maybe with the kid's help put your house in order and clean it all up... I always feel better when my house is all clean and it is easier to keep it clean that way. I hope you feel better soon.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

OMGosh Cheryl,
Once again, you have reached into my life and written about my day. I had a guilt-induced breakdown this morning after making my #2 cry before school. :( I think that mentally referring to myself as 'verbally abusive' might just catapult me out of my hole and get me to stop. Who wants to be remembered as abusive? We can get past this Cheryl....Let's count to 10 and breathe together. Love you.

Anonymous said...

This post was beautiful. Do you know why? You are owning it. How many of us had screwed up childhoods because our parents didn't own up to their mistakes? You, my dear, are on the right path.


FoxyJ said...

Like others have said, you're owning it and that's what's important. I never thought I would be a yeller, and yet I am. Most people probably wouldn't know it either, but I yell at my kids a lot. And say things I never thought I would say to them. And I don't need to. Depression often makes you angry--an interesting book about depression and mothers is called "The Ghost in the House"; it just came out a few years ago. I know my mom had the same problem, and I don't want my kids to be scared of me like I was of her. Anyways, you can do it. Progress is always a wave, not a straight line, but owning your problems is a good first step. Maybe I should do the same...