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When my sister and I were young we would play a game with our mother, giving her impossible scenarios and asking her to pick an answer. “We’re in a boat in the middle of the ocean and it tips over. You can only save one of us. Which one do you save?” Or “Who do you love more, my sister or me?” As any good mother would, she always demurred, never giving a direct answer, never choosing one over the other. I love you equally, she would say. This frustrated me to no end, because, how can that be? How can she love us the same, how can she not pick one over the other? How can she not pick me?

My girls play the same game with me, and I answer them the same way my own mother did. But in my heart, my answer is different.

Which brings me to today. I am going to write about something today that I’ve skirted around for awhile. I have avoided airing it here because it makes me feel guilty, inadequate and ugly. I’m not even sure I’m ready to write now, because if anyone has anything unkind to say it will hurt me very much. I’ve found my regular readers/commenters to be extraordinarily kind though, and I’m hoping they (you!) will continue to be.

I wrote about sisters last week, and said that the second most difficult thing about parenting my girls is managing their relationship. I don’t think a lot of parents of two or more children will find that terribly shocking. I suspect it pretty much goes with the territory, and as much as I dislike it, I’m mostly OK with it.

But the most difficult thing about parenting my girls is one of my girls. Belle is an extremely challenging child. At five years old she acts like a toddler in many ways: she is impulsive and loud and into everything. I love her, because she is my child, but I don’t like her. She is abrasive and difficult and can be wildly inappropriate in ways I choose not to write about in more detail. I do not like the feelings she evokes in me.

And today I saw someone, professionally, about all that. I went in looking for parenting help, with anger management perhaps. But I left with the therapist thinking Belle should be her patient and not me. Some of what I had to say concerned her very much, and she felt we would both be better served by her seeing Belle. I’m willing to go that route. She’ll see her next week for the first time – a few minutes with me there, and then one-on-one with the therapist. I am nervous, but hopeful. I still feel guilty, inadequate and ugly. But I know that something has to change. It needs to start with me, and it has. I know I (still) need to change some things about my approach with her, but there may be things underneath that I’m not equipped to deal with. Enter therapist. We’ll see how it goes.

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5 responses to “Untitled post

  1. It’s sounds like you’ve got some mega parenting guilt for sure. It’s times like these when I have to remind myself that I’m only human, and that it’s perfectly ok to ask for help. Even though I am mom and a know-it-all in my kids’ world, I don’t know everything there is to know about everything.
    I hope the therapist will be able to aid you in finding an easier way of parenting! I’ll keep my fingers crossed :o)
    *hugs*

  2. I’ll start off with a huge hug. I have been there. I am still here. It is hard to do, but YOU DID IT. You asked for help. If nothing else, you now have someone with whom you can share the good, bad AND ugly with no repercussions other than ideas on how to better cope.

  3. OK, not a parent. Disclaimer out of the way.

    It seems to me you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. Many parents, if not most, would not be taking the steps you’re taking to deal with your feelings. The very fact that you’re willing to bare your soul here speaks volumes concerning your actual caring.

    Do the session with both of you present, and go from there. In the meantime, don’t beat yourself up. You don’t deserve it.

  4. Not inadequate at all. Two kids is more than twice the work. And some kids are wired differently. You’re doing the right thing. Just remember what Mother Theresa said, “I know God won’t give me more than I can handle, I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”
    God gave Belle to you because he knew you would be the best person to take care of her. Hang in there. Sending big hugs to you and Belle and Krystal.

  5. Hang in there. You are not inadequate or ugly. But if you think that other parents are perfect, or not going through the same stuff you are, you’re kidding yourself. It’s parenting, not the Army, that’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.

    I think you should be commended for taking positive steps to deal with something that you see as an issue. Most people like to ignore problems thinking they’ll go away (*raising my hand to cop to this*). You are strong.

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