Sunday, July 31, 2011

I need help!

Okay, one crazed mom to a million out there in the blogosphere...

For those of you with "spirited" children, or "fiesty" children...aka CRANKY children, how do you deal with it?!

Kate is such a handful. I love her more than life itself, let's just get that out there first. There is not question about it. I have a special bond with her that God in Heaven knew I would need to survive her! But she is so tough. I feel like I'm in a constant state of frustration trying to figure out how to keep her happy and healthy. She's been my toughest sleeper, my most clingy child, and my most emotional child. Beth and James were delightful babies. They both have their moments as they get older, they both have their tough phases, what kid doesn't? But Kate has been tough since she was two weeks old. She cries. A lot. I literally had a melt down the other day because she was crying and the thought came to me that she has probably cried a significant part of every day since she born. That's 17 months of crying. No wonder I'm at my wits end!

Kate seems to only be happy when she has 100% of my attention or some really good distraction. And sometimes that's not enough. Which is tough since I have a two other kids, a house, a life, and a calling at church. I feel like after my other kids were born we had an adjustment period and then life got back to mostly normal. I could handle housework and all that. But now I'm at a loss. Every time I clean or do something else productive, mostly when its a desperate situation, she follows me around crying, and then screaming, until I sit down, preferably on the floor and pay attention to her. That makes it hard to get things done! I have let a lot of things slide because I do realize that her happiness is more important, but I can't let everything go all the time!

Now, don't get me wrong. She is not always sad. We have lot of good moments. She LOVES to play outside, go on walks, take baths and be out and about. She can be hilarious playing "i'm going to get you" and other popular family games. Sometimes she'll play well on her own for a while, and of course there are naps here and there. But there are just a lot more moments than I would like that are sad or whiny or demanding and screaming.

What I really struggle with is the fact that she puts me on edge and then anything my other kids do can push me over. So I feel like I take out my frustration on them because they are older. I don't know how to help Kate, but I know how to punish Beth and James. Its bad. Its bad parenting and it makes me feel awful. I feel like my fuse is always lite and just waiting to blow. I hate feeling wound up. I feel like I miss a lot of moments and opportunities because I'm too close to my breaking point. I know that in general I am not a bad parent. My kids know they are loved, there is no lack of "I love you's" or attention, or affection in our home. Ryan and I teach the important things, and in general I think we've done ok so far. But this is not working right now. Does any of this rambling make sense? I just felt like I needed to call out to all of you wonderful mom's out there that I know struggle with the same things. I need to feel like I'm not alone in this scary world of parenting.

How do I deal with her so that I can stay calm and collected for my other children?
How do I discipline Kate's misbehavior in a way she understands?
How do I keep her happy and still accomplish what needs to get done in my home and life?
How do I give her what she needs without completely draining my personal reserve?

*sigh* Life is not all bad. I really do love my life, I'm sorry if this is coming off as complaining. Motherhood is what I wanted for my whole life, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I can't imagine my life without any of my kids, even Cranky Kate. ;) I just want to be the best Mom I can be, and I don't feel like I am being that right now. I'm trying. Any advice is appreciated and welcome!


Stacey said...

I am not the person to ask for how to fix it for Kate cause like you said with your first two, Becca was a great baby. I often have said that the Lord knew what I needed because a clingy baby would drive me absolutely over the edge. So I can sympathize that way.

But I CAN say that I know that feeling of having my buttons pushed and losing my cool. Becca is just at one of those stages, and I admit I have been a horrible horrible mom at times when I lose my temper. Especially it has been bad since I've been pregnant and my emotions snap really really easily.

The only thing I can say that has helped and worked for me is to ask her forgiveness. To admit that I was wrong, and try to do better and move on. Basically repent of that behavior. Prayer helps me feel better and do better.

I guess the other thing I could suggest -- and of course I don't know the entire situation, but it would be to learn to let her cry. Maybe stick her in her crib or playpen while you're cleaning the house, and just ignore it. Maybe she'll learn there are times that she can't be on your heels, or maybe you'll just be able to vacuum without fear of knocking her over because she's on your leg crying. It is something I WOULD have tried. Maybe some of the other moms will know better! And honestly I am going to keep track of their comments cause my biggest fear is this baby will be clingy and cranky and cry a lot, and I won't know how to handle it.

I can say good luck and hang in there. I know you are an awesome mom and love those kids tons. When I have seen and been around Kate she is such a cute happy girl. And if you need a GNO next week, let's do it! ;)

Ratliffs said...

Hi. I'm Stacey's SIL and I just had to post a comment because crying babies are so hard! Just remember that she's not doing it to annoy you...she loves you and wants to be with you. My daughter is exactly the same way. I would suggest carrying her in a backpack as much as you can stand to...My daughter is often very happy being carted around, and I'm happy because I can get things done without having to worry about her. I do agree with Stacey about the crying thing too...we have done that with each of our 4 children. Hang in there!!

Rob & Tiffanie said...

I really don't have any super advice. I feel like I am always chasing my guy around from one room to antoher to keep things from gettign detroyed...he finds the naughtiest things to do in every room, adn creates a lot of mess for me. I do feel like I hold him to much when I should let him cry because he doesn't really need anything but jsut hanging on my leg and crying. I pick him up and hold him while I am making dinner and then I think, why am I holding this 30 lb baby and struggling with cooking one handed? He is fine while I am holding him of course but I put him down and he screams. I try to distract him or tune out the tantrum as long as he is ok. Sometimes it works if I take him in another area and sit down and paly a few mintues with a toy with him and then he chills out and palys and I go back to my work without his help. It worked the other day to let him help me cook in the chair next to me and it was messier and longer but he really enjoyed it and wasn't hanging scraming on my leg. Maybe these kids just need more attention than other kids. My first 2 were content babies, but my 3rd was an awful sleeper until 2, and very needy. We got through it and that time will come that these little ones will "get it". I am not sure how to discipline him at 16 mths because he is into everything all day and says "naughty, naughty" when he does it and gets caught...he thinks life is great:) meanwhile I am cleaning up his disasters...I am sure going to church will be more bearable once nursery age comes as well. I keep telling mseylf that I will miss all of this one day, and to remember how cute it is. When he naps I do all of those things I can't do when he is around. Some things are just impossoble with him and if I try it will just stress me out more.

Sharla said...

I can relate to a lot of that post. Although, my tough kid has been 2 of them, just at different stages. Carie was a very difficult baby. I loved her because I was her mother, but it was hard to take it any further than that. Doesn't that sound awful? One time I was talking to someone else who had a demanding child that age and she said the same thing. I was SO relieved! However, after she turned 1, she turned around and has been the sweetest girl ever since. The other mom I referred to had her child turn a corner at 18 months. Maybe that will be your case (don't plan on it, but hallelujah if it is!).

Now my hard child is Natalie who was a fairly easy baby, but has tested my patience as a toddler. I'm finding myself able to deal with it better each day. I try to focus on the bazillion ways she makes me laugh or smile between the trouble and messes. But there are some days when I cannot handle it. I don't know what is different about those days. Still figuring that out. But on those days I feel so on edge, like you describe. I wish I had a solution too!

Enough rambling... good luck! It's not a job for wimps. :)

jennybrum said...

I think Heavenly Father saved some of his strongest personalities to send to the earth now. He needs people who know what they want and are willing to stand up for what is right when everyone around them disagrees. Be glad Kate is fiesty! It will serve her well someday. When my kids are driving me crazy, I always try to look at them with the potential they have, rather than how they are acting at the moment.

Also, I've noticed my kids feed off my mood so if they are getting really worked up I try to calm myself down first and get things into perspective before I just start yelling. When I am calm it is much easier to get them to be calm. Don't worry about Kate's crying...sometimes babies are ok to just cry it out! Turn on your ipod so you can't hear her and as long as she is safe, she will be just fine!

Good luck! Things will get easier with time. And you can always call me if you need a break!