Monday, December 05, 2005

I'm angry and stressed!

Most people won't read this because it is sooo long, which is probably good becuase it's not Steph at her best it's Steph fed up!

I feel really frustrated! There are many things adding to my frustration...lack of sleep, depression, not enough big macs but I think the biggest thing freaking me out right now is the judgemental nature of people regarding my parenting! I just want to scream back off! This past week alone I have been told that I'm afraid of my own child, I don't spend enough time with my own child, I should apply to be on Super Nanny, Mothers were intended to stay at home and not work, I'm not feeding him right, putting him to bed right, I'm spoiling him...you name it...I have done it. Apparently I'm the WORST mother in the universe!! And the worst part is...it's not strangers saying this to me...it's my family, friends, and co-workers..all of you who know me best...so it must be true.

I was watching Desperate Housewives last night (more evidence of my flawed character I'm sure) and I could totally relate to Lynette. She was trying to get Day Care started at the office so she could see her children more. The problem was they needed 15 children to be enrolled. The boss's wife was a stay at home mom but if she would bring her child in occasionaly it would be enough for them to get the day care. Lynette called this woman to ask her if she woud bring her child in to the day care. The women responded with an obscene amount of judgement and ridicule towards Lynette for working. She even said to Lynette I don't know why women bother having children if they are going to work. In which Lynette responded;"I'm a good mother." and the woman said;" you see that's the difference between you and I ...I want to be a great mother." I could have screamed because that is sooo real. That is totally how people treat you! Even if they don't say it that boldly they imply it. I have heard several times from Stay at Home mothers something like;" I would rather live in a card board box with my children then get a job. Mom's who work do so to support a lifestyle they choose." Give me a freaking break! For one thing you would NOT want your children living in poverty if you had the power to change it, so that is just insulting. And we are not just talking about the lifestyle of an occasional dinner out and clothe from Old Navy instead of the thrift store, we are talking about health insurance, dance or music lessons, proper meals, the list goes on. So please, if your husband is making more then 40k and you can afford to stay at home,while owning a home, 2 cars, nice clothe and so on do not presume to judge the rest of us who need to work for our ever so lush lifestyles we are "choosing".

People are way to judgemental and they often excuse theur judgement as some holy calling or righteousness. Especially in the Christian community. I remember being at Mark's fathers funeral and this man from their home church. (who I have never met before) Starts asking me what my plans are for Malachy's education. (I was only like 6 months pregnant!) Then he goes on to tell me the only correct way to do it is to home school Malachy and be home with him and he doesn't understand these women who...blah blah blah...I was like I don't even know you (or my son at this point) so how in the world can we know what's best for him yet!? I remember last year watching Dr. Phil and it was stay at home moms and working moms just tearing eachother apart and I couldn't believe it!

I always hear the TRUE statement: being a stay at home mom is like having 2 full time jobs with no days off...but let's remember working Moms STILL come home to their children! It's not like I come home and put my feet up. There are diapers to change, dinners to make, baths to give, tears to wipe the whole spectrum and we don't get vacation days from our children either. We also have 2 full time jobs. It's not a competition why can't we all just help eachother out!?!

I'm aware of my failings as a parent. My child won't listen to me, he hits me, he doesn't sleep...the list goes on. He does behave better for Kim and he is only a child. So yes, I'm aware that his behavior is a direct result of my failure to train him better and NOT beause he is a bad child. However I must say I do try. I try to be consistent. I try to discipline him and I do love him very much. So please cut me some slack it's hard enough without feeling like the whole world is against me.

DISCLAIMER: This "rant" is in NO way directed at my best friend in the whole world Crystal, she is an amazing Mom who I respect greatly and has been an encouragement and inspiration to me. Also this "rant" is not directed at Jami. Although I'm aware some of the things I'm adressing are opinions she holds and recently wrote about in her blog. Jami is another great Mom and her recent blogginig isn't what got me upset. I have been hearing stuff from people all week and I'm frustrated, upset, tierd and looking for a place to vent. I respect that most Moms are just doing what they think is best for their children.

13 comments:

stangmasterflash said...

Steph,
Thanks for being honest.
for what it's worth...
I think you're a GREAT mom. Malachy is lucky to have you, and I am too.

Andy said...

Steffo,
Malachy is perfect and who do you think gets the credit for that?
I know Kim is a big big help, but remember, it's because your working that Kim can stay at home which is what she needs to do...also, she shares the joys of raising that beautiful baby. I know it's a lot of work, but I can't think of a better arrangement.

PS sometimes you hear criticism when none was intended, esp when you're tired. Love,

Andy said...

I mean "because you're working"
Love,

Sara said...

I'm so sorry Steph that you are stressed, just know this... you are an AWESOME person and friend (and I know an awesome mother because I know the type of person you are). I love you tremendously and I am so glad that I have you as a friend (even though we are very, very far away) :)

Malalchy is a gorgous boy and you are doing great :)

Scott said...

Steph,

Wow, sounds like you’re going through a lot of crap, sorry to hear it. I can really relate to what you're going through. I've made a lot of decisions as a father that have pissed a lot of people off. It started when we decided to keep Emily and not give her up for adoption, and my family was quite upset because "There's just no way two kids can give her what she needs!" Then there was out decision about 4 or 5 years ago to not go to Willow Creek every week, and it was "OMG! Where will your kids learn about the Jesus?!!?"

And of course there's that whole home schooling thing, which has sparked endless debates family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers who all only have my kid's best interests in heart when they've told me they wont get enough education/socialization/discipline/dates. These kinds of criticisms used to really get me upset, and from time to time still do. (Especially when they come from family members) But the thing I figured out a while ago was that Crystal and I are the only ones who are responsible for our kids.

The same goes for you and Mark. You are the only ones who are responsible for Malachy. Not Crystal, not Jami, not Kim, not your Dad or your Mom or me or anyone else. Other people will share their opinions, and yes even cross the line and try to force their opinions on you, but all those things are just words. The actions that are necessary to raise Malachy are purely up to you and Mark.

I know you probably didn't post this looking for advice, but I'd say what I've learned is that it's good to listen to what other people say, I always listen when people tell me their thoughts on raising kids. I'll even examine what they say and test it against what I know and believe. If I think they're right, I'll try and change my ways. But if what they are saying goes against what I feel is right for my kids, or what I think I need to do in order to raise them I just try and let that stuff bounce off me.

Of course that's easier said than done when dealing with an issue as important to us as our kids, or when the "advice" comes across more as an insult from the people who are suppose to be on our side. Unfortunately, I don't think people will ever stop giving advice to us about our kids.

One last thing: In the past I've been attacked by other people who have insulted my parenting techniques much the way you are feeling attacked right now. I think I've probably been known to pound my own rhetoric on other people, which is partially just my way of proving to myself that what I believe is correct. This is not right though, and even though I can't remember saying anything to you specifically, if I've ever given any unwanted advice to you I apologize fully. I know I speak for Crystal when I say that as well.

Lauren said...

Just tell 'em to bugger off!

I will say that I was very glad when you went to work because your family needed you to and you stepped up to the plate when staying home would have probably been the easier thing to do. I am proud of you.
Also, as your dad pointed out, it is a great arrangement for the family... so there.
(You can always retort with saying that stay at home moms are lazy and don't want to work and you can critize them for not wanting to give the family all they can -- and what would a few hours away from home to make a little extra cash really hurt? -- there is an arguement for everything)

I will never get on a soapbox and preach about how stay-at-home-mommying is the only way to go. I might do that in the future, but then I might not. It is all about what is right for you anre for your kid(s) and for your family as a whole. Some kids thrive in day care and are all the better for it. Other kids do need that parent at home, and if that is the case you will notice it and adjust.

Just a comment here:
In my experience (and I'm not saying this is the end all, be all) homeschooled kids turn out "weird." They are too attached to their parents. are maladjusted in so many ways, and they are extremely naive in the ways of the world (to their detriment).

Malachy is a great kid and at his age, they are supposed to be disobedient and spoiled.
Don't worry about it.
It is always so easy for outiders to criticize and to have a perfect picture of what they would do and how it would be better... but they are not you and they can't know what is right for you.

We love you!
(Noah, Lauren, Max 1, Max 2, & Audrey)

thekooiet said...

Seph,

My heart ached for you when I read this...My feelings went from anger, to frustration, to sadness, to "Help me God, how am I to feel about this?" Close my computer screen and forget about it, or comment in frustration, or "try" to comment in love, or "Please God, help me really love on Stephanie."

So, I have decided that my heart can over-rule my brain...I can let God wash me clean and burn the chaft in my heart...

I just want you to know that I LOVE you, I love who you are and who you were created to be.

I have chosen to stay at home with my children; it's what I believe without apology - at the core of my being. I can say that Crystal holds this belief in her heart too. We do believe that it is a divine calling.

However, I know many woman who love God with all their hearts and also, truely believe that they are doing right by their families by working outside the home. They to, can make their case strong and sound.

We are at an impass.

Just so you really know, neither I nor Crystal love you less or think of you as a bad mom because of your decisions. And know, that the comments we make and the things we write about - staying at home - are not directed toward you to make you feel guilty, "convicted" or angry...they are not directed toward you in any capacity.

We would NEVER say that "Steph's a bad mom because she works." We would say, because of what we belive so strongly, "Steph is a great mom! She loves the Lord and her family so much. She is working hard to support them...I pray for Stephanie, I don't know how she does it all! I pray that she has energy, that she gets enough rest...I pray that she has patience, all mother's need more! I also pray that Stephanie understands our hearts (mine and Crystal's), that she knows we love her. I pray that she understands our beliefs are, just that, beliefs..although we hold to them strong, we still can admire and respect those with sound opinions who belive differently....I pray that Stephanie knows she is one of those woman who we do respect and admire."

These beliefs are, simply, who we are; they are part of the foundations of our families...these beliefs define us...yet, as said before, we are at an impass.

We LOVE you!

Scott said...

homeschooled kids turn out "weird." They are too attached to their parents. are maladjusted in so many ways, and they are extremely naive in the ways of the world (to their detriment).

See?

Kim Traynor said...

Ummm, since we're all sharing our observations and opinions...I haven't noticed that kids educated in the home are weird and maladjusted. They might not have that talent for conformity that so many of us puclic schoolers pick up early on, but other than that the half-dozen or so I have known have been indistinguishable from kids educated outside the home.

Andy said...

Wait a minute - I resemble that comment..Why is everyone so down on weird? Weird is what makes this country great.

Unhappy, on the other hand is a bad thing.

Love

Lauren said...

Scott & Crystal, I know you homeschool and I meant no insult to ooled kids turn outyou in saying that and I hope your kids don't end up "weird." They seem fine so far. Good kids you got there (and I know I've said that before).

"Weird" can definitely be good and is definitely appreciated in most cases. The "weird" I was talking about was just the weird I sort of "defined" when I said They are too attached to their parents. are maladjusted in so many ways, and they are extremely naive in the ways of the world (to their detriment).
Andy... I love your brand of "weird". I think we all treasure it.

Lauren said...

re-reading that, it may look like I was drunk when i wrote that but Iassure you I am not and have been for weeks, totally sober.

Steve May said...

Stumbled across your blog, and I can relate to this particular post.

When my children were little (we had 3 in 4 years) I remember getting fed-up with unasked for advice. Especially with our first child. My wife was a saint about it, but I had to tell members of my family more than once to mind their own business: I knew we were on the right track. That was 21 years ago, and my kids accomplishments and character indicate now that we were doing at least something right.

Just keep smiling and keep saying, "Thanks for your input; I'll consider it." and keep raising your child with all the love that is within you.

Another point, it used to irritate me when people told me how fast they grow up. Unfortunately, on this matter, they were all too correct.