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Frazzled and Frustrated

It’s not fun when you butt heads with your kids. Not fun for me, not fun for them.

It’s officially summer (both by the calendar and by the fact that Zack is done with school until the Fall, when he starts Kindergarten – another post, another day). I’m looking forward to spending long days playing in the backyard (our new fenced-in backyard with grass and everything!) with the boys, sipping lemonade (or wine…) and enjoying our new home. I’m looking forward to warmer weather that actually allows us to spend quiet (maybe even romantic – wink, wink Hon) evenings outside without freezing our you-know-whats off. Not looking forward to the wind, but I’ll deal.

So yes, officially summer and 2 months (and counting) until school starts for Zack. For some reason, I don’t know if it’s me or them or both or what – my loving little snugglebugs are driving me c-r-a-z-y! I knew the day would come when little brother Brayden would beat the “heck” out of big brother Zack (payback I guess). Well, it’s not gotten to that point yet, but I am constantly telling Brayden to stop hitting, stop kicking, stop tackling, stop biting your brother. I remember when I used to scream at Zack to get off his brother. Now it’s completely the other way around. Zack is still bigger than Brayden – by a lot – but Brayden seems to somehow manage to get on top of Zack.

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like my entire days are filled with separating the two, giving timeouts, sitting down to talk about it, and then repeating – over and over and over and over and… It’s not constant (although it often feels like it), but a good part of my energy is being spun negatively towards my boys. Sometimes even to the point that I am embarassed for how I acted and feel epic amounts of guilt. Yes, so much that I don’t want to write about it – I’m not proud of those moments. I have never physically hurt them, or even hit them, but boy I have been right on the edge of a good spanking (hey, my parents occasionally acted upon their right to discipline – and I turned out okay). For me, it’s more like my throat gets hoarse from all the screaming. And then I cry.

They can play so well together. They can be so loving towards each other. They can help each other and be the wonderful little boys I know they are. I hate being this way. I hate feeling anger towards them. I hate, hate, hate not loving being home with them. So what do I do? My husband says I should get a job to pay for daycare so I can get out of the house a couple days a week. As much as I understand where he’s coming from (and he doesn’t like coming home to find me unhappy, frazzled and frustrated), to me that would be a backwards step to where I want to go. BUT, I don’t know how much more I can suck it up for these 2 months of summer.

Any advice??? Anyone been there? I love my boys more than anything, but my wine budget is going way over these days. 🙂

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It Takes Strength

Today was a pretty good day. Although I got up earlier than I ever really like to (the dilemma of having two young ones in the house and a husband who goes to work – thankfully), I did get to take a nap while Brayden (my younger son) napped. Zackery (my older son) was again at “school” today.

My morning was quite pleasant and calm after Will and Zack left, and Brayden and I sat on the floor playing with soft blocks, a mirror, books, and left-over plastic eggs from Easter. He laughed, I laughed, he smiled, I smiled. It was exactly why I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom – to be fully present and in the moment.

After our nap, and after I eventually got Brayden to eat his lunch (he’s teething and isn’t eating that well – and who could blame him? I wouldn’t want to eat if my mouth hurt all the time!), I finally got to eat something and get dressed myself. I love staying in my jammies all day, but given the beautiful sunshine and nice warm weather, I convinced myself I should put on some “going out in public” clothes and take Brayden for a walk. Sunscreen applied, we went down into the garage and I buckled him into the stroller – which he loves! It was a short walk, but none-the-less I got outside today!

Afternoon nap went pretty normal – 1 hour 10 min. I can’t complain. Zackery used to only nap for 20 min at a time! Anything over an hour and it’s a huge success for Brayden (and me). While he slept, I did my usual catching up on emails, washing bottles, and putting my feet up for a split second in whatever spare time I have left.

Usually on Thursdays Brayden and I go to the new ‘Just Toddlers’ class through our local Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District. But today, I had a very important opportunity and commitment. I got to connect with several of my fellow Get Your Woman On authors (book launch will be this June… stay tuned!) on a call hosted by Kimber Marie Lim. Brayden was up, so I had the phone on mute while I listened in and again sat on the floor with my little guy. Thank goodness I am a woman proficient in multi-tasking!

My call ending just in time, I buckled Brayden in his car seat and drove the short 5 min to go pick up Zack. He happily ran over to me, giving me a big hug while saying “Mommy!” I love that. It gives me extra energy and strength to pummel through the evening hours before bedtime.

Zack did great at dinner – ate pretty much everything I gave him – and I didn’t have to threaten with any timeouts or taking anything away. Brayden, on the other hand, was filling up my frustration meter. I know he’s teething, and hasn’t really wanted to eat much, but after 45 min and all I got him to eat was 4 little bites that I had to force feed him… I gave up. I got him cleaned up from attempted dinner, set him down once again on the floor, and I frantically prepared his (our) room for bed time (fill up the humidifier, lay out his jammies, turn the night-light on, etc). He really did not like being left there, and Zack was busy playing trains in the other room, so the tears started. Officially upset, and probably hungry and tired, he proceeded to make sure I knew all about his current situation.

With Brayden in his jammies, I asked Zack if he wanted to keep playing trains or to watch a little show while I put his brother to bed. After several minutes of Zack’s typical response of no response (he is a typical 3-1/2 year old), and Brayden continuing to tell me, by the look on his face and the tears in his eyes, that he was tired and just wanted to have his bottle and go to sleep, my frustration meter was now severely overflowing. I sat Zack down on the couch with a Thomas the Tank Engine show and told him I would be out in just a few minutes, after I put Brayden down. Brayden still tearful, I closed the door, sat down with him in the rocking chair, and gave him his bottle. My mind still racing with thoughts of frustration, I glanced down and noticed that Brayden was no longer crying, he was no longer upset – he was looking up at me with his big, beautiful blue eyes, as if to say “thank you, Mommy.”

I have never been one to switch from frustration or anger to joy or happiness just like that – except for tonight. In that one moment, I took a long, deep breath, and just like that I reciprocated Brayden’s loving gaze. I let go of all the prior events of the evening, and just loved him up – snuggling him in my arms and telling him how much I love him. It was a moment of strength for me to be able to change my perspective so quickly. I realized that for my boys, my babies, I would do anything to keep them safe, happy and healthy. No matter how frustrated I get, and no matter what the cause, at the end of the day all that matters is that I open my heart and love my family as much as I can.

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