KEEPING IT REAL(LY FRUSTRATED)
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
You can’t see me (obviously) but I’m taking a lot of deep breaths as I write this post. I almost skipped it this week. Frankly, I’m embarrassed by what I’m about to share. You may say it’s an unreasonable response. You may say I’m being dramatic. But it’s my truth. I’m frustrated and I’m embarrassed.
My sweet, perfect angel baby is hitting. No, not just hitting. Hitting is the action, but not the experience. My perfect angel baby has started looking me right in the eyes, smiling, and smacking me hard in the face. And as I grab his hands and say, “Avi, we don’t hit. We use gentle hands”, he hits me again and laughs.
Ok veteran moms, you can stop laughing now. It’s not that I don’t realize that this is a phase. Or that it’s developmentally appropriate. Or that he’s frustrated by his inability to communicate. Or that he thinks it’s a game. Or that he lacks impulse control. Believe me, I get all of that.
It just doesn’t make me feel any better.
I may have mentioned previously on the blog that patience is not one of my strengths. (That’s putting it lightly). When it comes to Avi, though, I somehow have a level of patience that I’ve never experienced before. I can put up with a lot when it comes to him. But the hitting has pushed me over the edge. And by edge, I mean crying outside of his bedroom after angrily storming out because for the full 20 minutes of our bedtime routine, I couldn’t get within arm’s length without him hitting me with his full strength. And laughing each time.
I’ve been struggling to figure out how to handle this situation. It feels like this is a test of what kind of parent I will ultimately be. Every theory on discipline is swimming through my head at once - positive discipline, gentle discipline, boundary-based discipline, emotional coaching, behavior modification, etc, etc, etc (yes, I actually looked all of these up). What if I choose the wrong one? What if I can’t choose one and just end up yelling? What about time-outs? Do they actually work and at what age? And what about guilt? I’m so terrified of living that stereotype of using Jewish guilt that I’m afraid to take action. I haven’t felt this helpless or lost in awhile. It feels so much like those early days when Avi wasn’t gaining weight and I had to figure out nursing v.s. formula v.s. pumping v.s. supplementing. It feels like I have to make a decision NOW or he’ll only get worse. And I’m terrified of making the wrong decision that leads to Avi in therapy complaining about his terrible mother.
I picked up Avi from day care yesterday and got to witness him hitting several of his classmates. One of whom, he hit on the head with a wooden rattle. The teachers told me that he had been hitting all day. Mortified doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt. And if any of Avi’s friends’ moms are reading - I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.
I need take a pause here. I’m exhausting myself.
From the time I started this blog almost a year ago, I’ve tried to be honest about my experiences - the good and the bad. I wanted to counter the always happy, always satisfied, always balanced moms that we so often see on social media. And that has meant making myself vulnerable. Writing this blog means that I’m constantly in a state of self-reflection and I can recognize my own spiraling. I considered not posting today. I considered keeping this downward spiral (and my vulnerability) to myself. But I know that I’m not the only mom going through this. If it’s not hitting then it’s biting or hair pulling, or throwing food, or tantrums. I know I’m not the fist mom to spiral. To feel out of control. To feel the weight of another person’s entire future on her shoulders.
Today, I don’t have any answers. No advice and no solutions. Just solidarity. Being a mom is hard sometimes. That doesn’t mean you’re bad at it. It doesn’t mean I’m bad it. It’s just hard. For me, just knowing that I’m not alone helps.