Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Uncomfortable Truth

Two days and counting, until we pick Ben* up in Oregon on the way to our family reunion. (*I have decided to do away with the initials for the boys as I have links to Flickr and other sites with their real names. Beside, I'm easily confused not to mention lazy.) I'm very excited. So is Danny. He told me last night that Ben is not allowed to leave home again! In case you were wondering how long he had to be gone before I really missed him... I know I was... The answer is six weeks.

Up until the six week mark I was thriving on the peace and general lack of raised voices around our house in the evenings. I guess around that time the yelling faded far enough into the distance that I could miss him again. Does that make me a bad parent? Because I have come to a very uncomfortable realization this summer.

I am not a good parent to two children. Or rather, I am not the parent I want to be when I have two children. If I have both Ben and Danny I am stretched too thin. Ben is impossible in the morning before his pills kick in and incorrigible in the evening because of their rebound effect. In contrast, Danny is a joy in the morning - a smile personified. Mid to late afternoon is his witching hour. Between the two they grump, yell and otherwise bemoan the very existence of parental authority - all during the hours I am home from work. And it doesn't let up until they finally fall asleep. It just wears away at my patience. I yell. I am short tempered. I have no reserves to draw from.

But when I am alone with Danny I have the mental energy to slowly walk him through his little autistic quirks. If it's just Ben & I we fall into an easy routine that comes from the close mother/son bond seasoned well over these past 8 years.

I am ashamed to say that is not who I am when our whole family is together. I have enjoyed the mother I have been this summer, though I have missed my oldest boy. And I dread the return of the stressed-out harridan that cannot handle her own emotions or her children.


Anonymous said...

I just wandered over from Mothers with Cancer. Don't be so hard on yourself! omg you have a tough row to hoe. It sounds like you needed a break and I hope it helps.

I think you maybe need some help too! Maybe you could get "alone time" with each kid once in a while, by getting day care for the other one part time?

Maybe you can get some young psych or child development student some work experience. They could just come hang out and keep one kid at a time out of your way? ...just the first, none of my business, advice that popped into my head, dere....

I'm glad I had a closer look at those bears below. Nice bears. :)

Everybody's Aunt Amandalynn

Joan said...

Thank you for being so honest. You have been given more than the usual amount of life challenges, and you have very much impressed me with your handling of them.

None of us are always at the top of our game. We all need to recharge our batteries at times.

IMO one of the best things you can do is to be honest about your feelings and reactions. You have done so, and from there can consider how to best deal with them.

What a wonderful idea for your son to have such a great summer experience! A WIN_WIN all around, it seems to me!

Sarah S. said...

I think evrryone feels the same way. I do anyway. I enjoy the quiet when one or two of the kids is not around but then eventually I miss them a lot and feel like I am missing a limb when they are gone for too long. :)

marybethvolpini said...

Stella - you are so honest. I think you have said what many Mom's probably feel but are afraid to put into words.

Karen said...

Stella don't be hard on yourself many of us have been in the same place - I still find it hard to deal with my 3 at the same time-and they are now 19,17,15! We do the best we can.

sarah said...

Haha - I bet if you ask them they'd say you're awesome all the time. Ok, well, maybe "almost" all the time.

Besides, if you felt like a great mom all the time, then you'd probably just be deluded :-)