Friday, February 28, 2014

Uphill battle


I think about motherhood pretty much all day, every day, because that's what I do all day, every day.  Yesterday, I was considering the fact that children really are sociopaths.  They are the most important person in their universe, the only person in their universe, really.

In church, you learn that you should be like a little child, but this makes no sense- children are the greediest, meanest, least sensitive, little megalomaniacs out there.

My day sounds like this:



except times 4 and all day long.

One of my children made their bed yesterday without being asked and I was shocked.  SHOCKED.  This particular child has only ever made their bed without multiple requests, threats, taking away of marbles (we use marbles as a sort of point system, which they can earn and then "spend" on privileges like frozen yogurt and stuff), and being locked in their room until it is made.  It made me realize that my kids rarely do anything positive on their own.  They are programmed to be little chaos machines and fight tooth and nail when you try to get them to do anything non-destructive.

So, why did I have four kids?

It doesn't make sense.  I hate staying home all day.  I get resentful over the fact that I really can't work because paying for child care for 4 kids is pretty much equal to what I make.  I still could go, because I'd be getting out of the house and building my career, but it's a lot of work to balance all that child care and carpooling and who is going to make Lillian practice the piano?  As Liz Lemon says, "Murphy Brown LIED to us!"  For me personally, I can't have it all.  So, I grudgingly accept that this is the bed I made and now I'm sleeping in it, but I hate it.

So, I've come up with some theories about why I had so many kids.

1. There are 7 kids in my family and I LOVE having so many siblings.  I loved it growing up, and I love it now that I'm an adult.  I miss my brothers and sisters dearly and wish wish wish I lived closer to them.  I wanted to recreate that for my kids, and I hope that they grow up and are friends like us.  And I need at least one of them to take care of me when I'm old.

2. They do satisfy a biological need.  There is something deep down inside of me that gets immense pleasure from my children.  Deep inside.  Watching them sleep, you forget every crappy thing they did during the day, and the fact that you called your mother when you were on the verge of losing it and cried "I SWEAR THEY'RE DOING IT ON PURPOSE," and the fact that you swore you were done after that last kid and you whisper, "I want more kids."
     2.1 I read in Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies that baby smiles are evolutionarily engineered             to get us to fall in love with our babies, and I tell you- it works.

3.  I can't discount the social pressure of being Mormon.  Formally, there is nothing specifically taught about how many children you should have, just that you should have some because families are important.  Very important.  But, culturally, big families are the norm.  I do not regret marrying young and having Lillian at a young age, but that really wouldn't have happened if I wasn't Mormon where everyone marries young and has babies at a young age.  If I wasn't Mormon, I can't say for sure that I'd have 4 kids.

4.  For all their sociopathic tendencies, they really are hilarious.  They say funny stuff and their emotions are so real and pure.  There is no feeling like seeing them scream with pure joy when they unwrap that perfect gift on Christmas morning.

So for all the times when I despise staying at home, I remind myself that this too shall pass, and one day, I'll be surrounded by my warm, caring, happy, well-adjusted, loving children and grandchildren.  Right?  RIGHT?

5 comments:

beth said...

1. young kids are hard. older kids are the bomb. they can pee all. by. them. selves.
2. i think "and i need at least one of them to take care of me when i am older" should be a number all by itself.

Steph said...

I quote Hook once a week in my head. And my parents quoted it to me pretty often after the movie came out. Solid parenting all around I'd say.

Carrie G said...

I feel like parenthood takes the wave form of your emotions and changes the amplitude dramatically. Before kids you are humming along, sometimes a little happy, sometimes bummed..but then come children and suddenly the lows are SO much lower (your child is vomiting in the grocery store aisle), but also the highs are purer and better too. There's not nearly as much chance for real joy without kids. At least, I think that might be true.

Chad said...

Hi Sister,

Wow, this post was harsh. I generally don't agree with most of what you say, but I do tend to keep my peace. But this post does have me very worried for you and your kids.

After first reading, I wonder what your kids would say about you? And I wonder what they would say about this post when they're older - like, in their 20's or 30's? Would they say, "Huh, that's funny, because my mom never acted as though she hated me." Or will they say, "This posting makes complete sense, because it validates the feelings that I had growing up: the feeling that I was never good enough; that I always was bothering my mom; that despite how hard I tried, I never did anything right."

At this point you might be saying to yourself, "Well, I don't treat them this way in real life." Or "I don't say these things to them in real life. I just use this blog to vent." This might be the case, but there's truth in venting; and what you say in venting is a reflection of your real life behaviors. And trust me, kids pick up on this - they're pretty smart.

Look, I'm not in charge of your kids - you are. I'm just worried that you're perceptions are distorting the reality of motherhood for you. I.e. the frustrations that you're feeling because you're stuck at home, are distorting your perception of who your kids are, how they're behaving, and what they're capable of.

Look, you like to read, maybe you should check out this book: The Power of Validation: Arming Your Child Against Bullying, Peer Pressure, Addiction, Self-Harm, and Out-of-Control Emotions. Because if your blog is anything like your real life, then I worry for you, for your happiness, and for your children; because their perceptions of who they are, are being formed now. And I would hate for them to be left with a lifetime of low self-esteem.

-Chad
http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Validation-Out-Control/dp/1608820335

PS: Yes, I understand that you're going to be pissed by this comment.

Amanda Ball said...

@Chad- When I said I don't like being a stay-at-home-mom, you read I don't like being a mom, which isn't true. I severely dislike the "stay-at-home" part. I'm not a homebody and never have been and I'm just coming clean that it is really hard for me and I hate it. I LOVE my children dearly and I think that if you asked them, they would say that their mom loves them and is happy.

And, I don't want to be mean, but I was bullied a lot as a kid. I remember crying to mom, asking why my older brothers hated me so much and why they couldn't leave me alone.

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