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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Measure of a Mother

Do any of you moms out there ever feel like you're just running uphill during a mudslide? That's what I'm feeling these days. Last night I even asked my husband if we were good parents. How do you measure or judge that? Andrew is alive (a plus, I assume), clean, healthy, has a house, good food, and too many toys. Does that make us good parents? He's not potty trained, uses a pacifier, and is still in his crib at almost 3 years old. Does that negate all the good things?

I look around and I've got friends who have 2 years old children who are using the potty, sleep in a twin bed, and have never used a pacifier. How can I not compare Andrew to those kids? Did we drop the ball somewhere? Or are we just doing what we feel Andrew can handle?

He's peed and pooped in the potty several times. But the number of times he has peed in the floor is exponential. In fact, he thinks its hilarious when he pees on the floor. Especially when he stomps in the puddle, then runs through the house, leaving pee pee footprints everywhere. Monday morning we were working hard with the potty until he apparently decided he'd had enough, and actually threw the potty at me. So, after that incident, paired with the eight sets of pee-soaked underwear, and the availability of ZERO clean towels in the house, I (we, Brian has a say too!) decided it wasn't worth getting angry at Andrew and putting pressure on him. Nevermind that I'm now 20 weeks pregnant, and losing the ability to get up and down off the floor (easily and painlessly) to wipe up pee. So, we're taking a break.

How do you judge whether or not you're doing a good job with your kids? Do you compare them to other kids? Or do you just wait until they're older and see if they put themselves in jail? Or do you really ever know? I suppose that's where prayer and faith come into play. You do the best with what you have, rely on God to mold their hearts, and pray for the best. After that, it's up to them to decide the kind of people they want to be, right?

In the meantime, it's 12:09 pm on Tuesday, we're both in our pajamas still, and haven't had lunch yet, and Andrew is watching TV. See what I'm saying? Other kids have already been to playgroup, the library, and had lunch and are sleeping peacefully in their twin size beds with no pacifier!!!


Anonymous said...

Try not to worry. From what I can see, you two are great parents. The fact that you think about these things is a testiment to that.


Jessica said...

I think you're doing a GREAT job. I think all of us mothers can relate to your post so don't worry. Hannah didn't have a pacy but she's super attached to her thumb and the doctor said we need to break her of that...a year later and she still sucks it ALL THE TIME. She wets her bed at night and I'm clueless as to what to do....she watches too much tv..and my house is a DISASTER. You're not alone're not alone!!

johnston5in5 said...

So true, Jenny, I have 5 kids 5 and under. They don't get enough attention, they get yelled at from time to time which causes me a lot of guilt. The house is a TOTAL wreck. Brianna sucks her bottom lip like a passy which has messed up her teeth and she is 5. Since then I have nursed longer on demand to solve that problem but am now tandem nursing an 18 month and 2 month old which most people frown on. With the 3rd child on they started sleeping with us too so I can actually sleep. You do what you what you have to do and don't worry about it, although we all do. Having 2 parents that love each other is more than a lot of kids have now.

Gormangirl said...

So glad I’m not the only one to have such thoughts about motherhood! Though Davis does sleep in a big boy bed, he does still use a pacifier, and our attempt at potty training was a bust! Both of the last two items I wanted to try and have resolved by the time our next one got here (especially the pacifier) but I’ve accepted the fact that it’s not going to happen! Parenthood is constantly bringing to light my imperfections & making me second guess myself as a mother. I recently found encouragement in a book my in-laws got me for Christmas, Sacred Parenting, which I highly recommend! It said that “none of us can mess up parenting so badly that our children somehow extend beyond the reach of God’s mercy.” Though it seems easy to comprehend, I remind myself of this when I start to question myself or compare my son to children who appear more advanced! It seems to take a little bit of pressure off! I think the most important thing is that that our children know the joy they bring into our lives (which on those potty training days is challenging to convey)! I’m sure Andrew knows just how loved and adored he is and from what I can tell he seems to be a GREAT kid. Please know you aren’t the only one who struggles with thoughts like this but know that I (and I’m sure many others) look at your family and think what a great kid, what great parents!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jenny,
Your comments brought me back to the early days with Max. I remember very clearly thinking "how are we doing!?!" It is so hard to know how your doing without some sort of context. This is such a new responsibility and there is no checklist or instruction manual.
Here are some words of encouragement/reassurance from my years of experience: Growing up is not a race nor a competition. Our children are wonderful and sometimes exasperating individuals. They will grow and learn at their own pace and in their own ways. Our job is to love them; watching and listening for those "signs" that indicate they are ready for the next "steps". You know your child best and will come to trust him and his signs alittle more each year. By loving each other and caring about the details of creating a healthy, happy home/family life provides all that is needed for healthy, happy children and families. You are so doing a great job!
Here are 3 things that worked great for me:
1. The book series "My ___ year old" by Louise Bates Ames.
2. A Mom Support Group. I gained great reassurance and lots of helpful support and information by belonging to a small group of new moms who met once a month.
3. Your mom is a great resource, too!
Try not to worry. Think about all the good things you do accomplish and the wonderful things that Andrew is learning and experiencing.
Aunt Ann

LB said...

hey, I am just now catching up on your blog. First of all, have ya'll decided on a name?

Second of all, I can so relate to this post. Ada still has her paci and she is definitely not potty trained. I had big plans to have her potty trained before the baby came, but I don't think it's going to happen. I also planned to move her to a "big girl" bed, buy mom and sister both said not to worry about either. They said Ada would let me know when she was ready to potty train, and as far as the bed goes, my only goal is to do whatever will equal the most sleep for everyone involved. It is so easy to compare--I do it everyday. But I really, really think that so much depends on the individual child.