Although Natalie's ear infection seems to have gotten better (she's at least sleeping through the night again) she has developed a rattling cough and super runny nose. It could be the congestion from this ear infection breaking up or it could be due to the quick change in weather (80s last week, 60s this week) but whatever the reason..........she's a little miserable. A little whiny. A little more prone to temper tantrums over the tiniest things. She's not running a fever so technically, by the standards of health my mother held while I was growing up, Natalie is fine to go to day-care with Ms. Rebecca.
But I'm not going to lie or mince words here........
This is where being a working mom (and coach) really sucks.
This is where I sit and wonder why on Earth I am working such long hours.
And for what?
The kids? Perhaps. They are lovable little buggers at times.
The paycheck? Possibly. We couldn't live our life without it.
The fulfillment? Most of the time. I enjoy what I do and I know that I'm good at it.
Volleyball season was hard. I felt like I was missing out on a lot of her life. And now that we've switched over and Daddy is working more hours I thought that this would be the perfect time to reestablish the Momma-Natalie relationship and have all that fun bonding time that I missed during the season.
First person she asks for in the mornings when I get her out of bed is "Dada." When we get home from school at 5:00 she is itching for Dada to come home. If she is upset the only person that can comfort her is Dada.
I feel like a failure. I feel like all the Attachment Parenting propaganda was true - since I didn't co-sleep, baby wear, quit my job and stay home, or breastfeed long enough I failed to establish a secure relationship with my daughter.
There. I said it. That's my greatest fear.
My fear is that I've sabotaged my relationship with my daughter forever because of the Postpartum Depression I suffered in the very beginning. And then I think....maybe if I parented her "right" (whatever THAT is) from the start maybe I wouldn't have had PPD at all.
And then I realize that I'm falling every so quickly down the rabbit hole.
This is what bothers me about "parenting experts" and all the books and theories that are out there about the "right" or "best" way to raise a child. When you propagate that THIS way is the BEST or ONLY way to successfully parent a child...........if that plan doesn't work for your family or child, then what happens next? Are the parents and children doomed to failure? Are all hopes of the children going to college dashed? Will there be no fun family reunions over Thanksgiving and Christmas? Should we call the local jail and get the orange jumpsuit ready?
I guess I could psycho-analyze myself and say that all this anxiety stems from me wanting desperately to do things RIGHT and follow the rules so that everything goes according to plan.
And I feel this more so with Natalie than with any other thing in my life. When I say that she is my greatest accomplishment, I don't mean it in a creepy living-through-my-child or my-life-revolves-around-my-daughter kind of way. I mean that I fully understand the immense importance that God has placed upon me in raising my daughter.
This is serious stuff.
This is a little girl's life and future that for right now........is held in my hands.
Do I respond with grace and compassion or anger and frustration..........
Do I hold fast to the expectations and boundaries that I feel are appropriate for our family or do I give in to the exhaustion that goes along with dealing with a temperamental toddler and just let her do as she pleases.............
I feel as if everything I do (or don't do) directly affects her mental and physical well-being and that it's my job to live in a manner that will set her up for success later in life.
For example, Craig and I were eating dinner the other night with Natalie after a high school basketball game. It was late, she was not so hungry but a little wound up and definitely sleepy. I was just anxious in general. Part of it was having been around his family at the game, another part was the late evening and Natalie being squirmy and some of it was just me being me.
Craig handed Natalie his iPhone to keep her occupied during the last few minutes of dinner so that we could eat our dessert and then pay the server.
My stomach ached and my brain frizzed out on me.
No, no, no, no, NO. This is against the rules. The rules say that our toddler does not play with electronic gadgets such as iPhones to keep her occupied.
I was practically twitching.
Because in my mind, it wasn't just Craig getting through the last few minutes of an already frustrating dinner with a toddler. To me, we had just shown her that obeying the rules and behaving appropriately isn't important and that if she behaves badly during dinner, Daddy will reward her with getting to play with his phone.
And it's all downhill from there.
See how quickly things can escalate in my head?
I know I'm irrational. I know that I blow things out of proportion. And I most certainly know that when I am tired (like I have been all week) my brain begins to play tricks on me which can result in the ramblings you just read.
But be assured that I'm okay. I'm just really ready for a week long break.