The Exhausting Reality of Children

I woke up this morning like I wake up every morning: ready to go, planning the things we would do through the day, excited to try to make my (and our) day a good one.

Then it happened.

“Mooooom, carry me!!!”

“Moooom, she’s playing with my car!”

Mooooom, I need you!”

This all took place within the first 15 minutes of coming downstairs. The conflicting yells for me and for me to give the kids breakfast always hit me hard because it’s not humanly possible to make breakfast in the kitchen if I’m sitting next to the kids at the dining table!!”

But make them understand that. Make them understand that I only have 2 arms and hands and not 8. I do frequently joke to my older child that I could do everything she asks for in the minute she asks if I was an octopus.

This means though that this great, exciting, fun-filled day we were going to have is over as my mood goes south by the end of breakfast time. Then, I’m playing catch up all day to feel like I actually have control of something, anything.

I know these are 2 little humans with their set of needs and wants and incapable of completely regulating their emotional well-being. I know they depend on me for a lot of things (although I do try to make them as independent for certain tasks as quickly as I can). But all of this knowledge disappears when I end up arguing with them over which shirt they want to wear or which plate they get to use.

Oh my gosh, it is exhausting. It’s mentally draining. It’s emotionally draining. And even though I have now been a parent for over 5 years, I have no idea on how to thrive. I’m surviving sure. I will never be a Pinterest mom and I have long accepted that. But I’d like to be better. I’d like to at least be a Berenstein Bear Mom.

I’m not, though. Unfortunately, I get rude and sarcastic and mean. My goodwill melts away into impatience. My requests become orders. Honestly, I’m just trying to get through the day.

Is it possible? Is it possible to not be so exhausted by these little humans?

Or is it just reality?

The Boy Who Wears Bows

We are in a new time in our lives. When I was growing up, the ideas of what boys wear and what girls wear were pretty established.

Now, if you were growing up like me, it was okay to be a tomboy. You could wear boys’ clothing and play sports and video games and it was no big deal. But if you were a boy, the same gender neutrality wasn’t the case.

I have a son and a daughter. My son is the baby so he follows his sister everywhere. She is a tomboy in princess’s clothing. She wears dresses, does her hair, and puts on a necklace and then goes to climb mountains and play baseball. There is no separation of what is acceptable for her to do or wear from any other child.

My son likes to do the same thing his sister does plus a few things she didn’t do. He loves cars and trains and trucks in a way she was never into. And he will participate in all of it with a bow on his head. He sees his sister wear bows and asks for them as well. Because we have never established something was a “girl thing” or a “boy thing”, we put the bow on and let him rock it.

It definitely raises interest especially in our South Asian circles. We have heard “that’s for girls” a few times. But really is it? Or is it just something that we have established as a “girl thing” in society? If boys were given a fair chance to express themselves, would they themselves have immersed in the bow culture?

The next question that arises is what happens when my son wants to wear something else his sister wears. What about princess dresses or necklaces or bangles?

What do we do when we have let the kids live in a gender neutral zone where they can be free to do or wear whatever they want? Is it better to follow society’s gender norms at least for now so we can protect our son from the chance of being bullied until he can understand how to protect himself? Would we follow the same rules of parental protection as we would with climbing structures and riding bikes? Would we do whatever we could to protect them in the real world until the real world catches up with the way we think?

As parents, what is the correct path? I don’t know if there is one. I think we are in a new territory where children have the freedom to become who they really are, who they are truly comfortable with. I want to be able to be there for my children for whatever choices they make. I want to be there for them to fall back on and to be their shield when they need it. My parents did that for me when I was breaking society’s norms and I don’t want to be any less for my kids.

It may turn out that our son doesn’t care for “girl things” as he gets older. It may turn out that he loves them.

It may turn out that he may go on to drive monster trucks with a multitude of bows in his hair.

Say Yes

I have trouble saying yes to things. Last week, my husband suggested that I go get a massage while our kids were napping. My neck and shoulder had been hurting and I could feel knots everywhere. I couldn’t resolve the pain even with the help of medicine and rest. I was causing more pain in my hands by trying to massage out the knots myself. The next logical step was, of course, for me to get a professional to try to help get the knots out.

My first reaction was to say no. My first reaction to every suggestion is instinctively to say no.

Why is this? Why do I feel like I can’t say yes to anything? I don’t know if this is a part of my personality or if it’s something I’ve picked up as a mom. I wonder if a part of me thinks I don’t deserve what I’m being offered. I feel like I have to sacrifice what I want or something good for me in order for me to be a good person.

Is this something that we, as women, do? Do we turn down things automatically before we even think about whether we would want to do them or not? Why is that? Do we feel like we aren’t deserving of every opportunity that comes our way?

I also wonder if it could be the fear of something different or new. Does the idea of stepping outside our daily scheduled box make us feel uncomfortable? Am I going to start questioning myself when something that scares me meets with head on with an opportunity? What would convince to say yes?

A little while ago, I read Shonda Rhimes’s book “Year of Yes”. She found herself receiving all sorts of opportunities because she didn’t turn down the requests she usually did. She is one of the most successful women in the entertainment industry and still, she automatically said no to things that forced her outside of her comfort zone. It changed some aspects of her life.

I know that getting a massage isn’t exactly facing a big fear for me but leaving my kids seems to be. I overthink every time I make plans away from them. I don’t exactly why this is but I’m glad that I can at least acknowledge it and hopefully, I can say yes to a few more opportunities that come my way. I want to be able to face my fears and see what saying the word “yes” will do for me.

Controlling Your Thoughts

Have you ever had one bad thing happen to you and it made you focus on everything that has gone wrong in your life lately? How about thinking about one thing that scares you and it makes you go into an out of control negative thought spiral?

There are days that I will wake up fine and have a hard time dealing with my kids and then it just seems like nothing goes right. I start thinking of all the things I’m unhappy about and it grows and grows until I’m completely resentful. I think about all the things that used to make me feel good in the past and dwell on that instead of my present.

The crazy thing is that if I just change my point of view to focus on the good instead of the bad or found a better way to deal with the harder things that happened, I wouldn’t go into this downward spiral. That’s not to say that I’m not correct in what I’m feeling. It’s just that there are good, positive things that do happen. I just focus too much on the negative.

It’s hard to control our thoughts. It’s easier to follow our instincts. It’s an uphill battle to continuously think positively. It’s work to recognize the good things, especially because they may be little things. I can easily name 5 things that I don’t like about my life but constantly struggle to name 5 things I love about it.

If I continue to follow this pattern though, it will be hard for me to find happiness. I’ll stay in a constant state of anxiety and disappointment. I will miss the great things that are happening in front of me.

I also do believe that appreciating the good surrounds you with positive energy and it attracts more good stuff. So as much daily work as it is, it is definitely worth trying to stay positive. Recognize and understand anything bad that happens and feel it but don’t dwell on it. Shifting your thinking is a daily mind exercise.

So work on not sending yourself into a downward spiral. Find the good.

Am I A Bad Mom?

Today, I yelled at my kid.

Let me be completely honest.

Today, I have constantly been yelling at my kid and considering the day isn’t over yet, I’ll probably be yelling at her a few more times.

I tried having patience. I honestly tried to dance it out and be silly with my child. I love her a lot and can be so proud of her a lot of the time. She amazes me in so many ways and is a really great kid.

But, man, can she push my buttons! It’s like she knows exactly what to do and what to say that will really push me until I do get mad.

I don’t want to be the uptight, angry mom. I want to be the fun-loving laid-back mom. But I can’t seem to find a way to be consistent with my kids. No matter what my intentions are, I feel as if I’m going to lose by the end of the day. And then, I feel terrible. I feel like I must be the worst mom in the world. Who gets angry at their kids all the time?

I only feel like myself again after I either exercise or sleep. I do those as much as I can but the breaks don’t come often enough. There are some days I just want to give up altogether. It’s draining constantly trying to make a toddler and an infant understand that I’m saying “no” to them for their own safety.

I feel like I used to be a patient person….until I had kids.

I hope that this is something that I can improve on. I’m hoping that both the kids and myself will grow and it’ll help our relationship. I hope that I can prove to be a better parent to my kids.

All I know is that I will keep trying to be the mom my kids really deserve.

Mom Funk

It’s really easy to lose yourself in general. I remember that I was constantly working on improving myself before I got married, before I had kids. Even though I am in a different stage in life now, that hasn’t changed.

Complacency is so easy to fall into no matter where you are in life. I’m pretty sure that I was somewhat complacent when I was in a comfortable job. And every so often, I feel that same feeling as a stay at home mom.

Seeing yourself clearly takes work. And it’s easy for that vision to get blurry when you are always looking at yourself through the lenses of your children.

Your priorities revolve around your kids. When you have some downtime (nap time is a welcomed break), if you’re like me, you are finally eating lunch in front of the tv. As soon as lunch is over though, it’s time to start on your task list. Laundry, dinner, or plenty of other things that are easier done without a child or two hanging onto your arms and legs. All of a sudden, the kids are up and you are back to being Mom.

I was reading an article today and the lady writing it was talking about “Mom Funk”. It struck that that was exactly where I kept falling into. I don’t know if I interpreted it correctly or how to exactly break out of it but the words resonated with how I’ve been feeling.

I have 2 great kids and a great husband and friends and family who are still consistently present in my life. I figure if I still can feel like I’m in a Mom Funk every so often, I can’t possibly be the only one.

So here’s my question to you: For those of you who have visited this land, how did you break out of it? How did you design your life so that you were able to find some personal fulfillment as well as the family fulfillment that you are receiving?

The Incredible Hulk Mom

I’d like to think of myself as a patient person. I definitely thought I got more pissed off at people when I was in my teens and 20s and I grew past it and learned how to just let things be in my 30s.

That was before I had a 2 year old.

My kid can push my buttons like no other. I don’t know if it’s a phase or if it’s her personality but I become this super angry mom around her. And I hate myself for being that way.

I always thought I’d be this really cool mom. You know, like those moms on Pinterest. And when she acted up, I’d put her on timeout and that was the last time that behavior happened.

I can’t believe how mad I can get. I can’t believe a 2 year old can make me cry. Put her together with my infant and they can make me believe I need to be in therapy all the time.

I don’t know if this is something that will pass or I will learn how to deal better. I read other articles with the hopes of some major breakthrough so I can figure out how to deal with my toddler that benefits both of us. Because screaming at her doesn’t seem to help either of us. I want her to understand the things we ask of her are for her benefit. She also needs to learn how to deal with her emotions because I do understand that she is feeling all sorts of new things. It’s a unchartered, crazy path we both walk on together.

Now we just figure out the way to go so that neither of us has a meltdown.