I was about to write a post about how things have been going really well lately. And quite literally the day I started drafting it in my head, shit seem to hit the fan here. Osita is having a really hard time. Again. I was really hoping that the farther out we got from 3 1/2 years old, the better things were getting. And they were for a while. Then it all went to shit again. LeSigh.
I find, during these times, that I don’t want to write much. Part of it has to do with the fact that I don’t feel all that comfortable talking about specifics when it comes to Osita anymore. But I think really what it boils down to, again, is shame. I feel very alone in the struggles with my daughter. I just don’t read about it on other people’s blogs. And I certainly don’t hear much about it in real life. Sure people can relate to a specific situation of defiance, but with very few exceptions, no one seems to be dealing with these things over and over again, or to the degree that we are. And while we certainly don’t deal with them constantly, we cycle through these difficult times more frequently than I’d like to admit, even to myself. I would say we spend more, if not most of the time, reacting to really difficult behavior, than we do enjoying the tranquil times.
It’s hard to discern why there is shame around this for me. It’s not that I think she has diagnosable issues that require professional attention (I think if that were the case I would feel less shame). But I also don’t think that what we deal with on a daily basis is necessarily “normal.” Can both be true? Is there a grey area between where most people experience parenting and where those with “diagnosed children” parent? Is everyone dealing with these same challenges, and I’m just totally incapable of navigating them?
Because sometimes these issues just feel so overwhelming. And I feel so wholly unprepared for the task. I literally feel like I can’t do it. That’s a horrible thing to feel as a mother, because I have to do it. I have to figure out a way. Except I don’t know what that way is. And it’s isolating. And it’s frustrating. And it makes me feel inadequate and inept.
And I guess that is where the shame lies. In the fact that I feel incapable, and in the suspicion that others are dealing with the same thing, and are MORE capable than I.
Anyway, I was hoping that by putting it out there I’d feel better about it, but honestly? I don’t really. My poor girl is having such a hard time and I don’t know how to make it better. I don’t know how to help her through it. And I don’t know if what I’m doing it improving her difficult experiences or exacerbating them.
And the idea that we’ll be doing this, in some form or another, forever, is… well overwhelming doesn’t really seem to suffice.
Maybe, the whole point of this is that sometimes you can’t know what to do. Sometimes there isn’t a right answer, and you can’t make it better, and in those situations, being a parent is just about loving your child unconditionally, no matter what they are going through. Maybe right now my biggest job is to just be here for her, even when she’s angry at me, or upset that she has to go to school, or overwhelmed by her own emotions and what little control she feels she has in this big scary world (at least on that point, I can absolutely empathize). I know what the hard boundaries are, the ones it’s absolutely not okay to cross. I can hold those boundaries. The rest exist in various shades of grey, and it’s okay if I muddle through that part of parenting.
At least I hope it is.