I have recently been eating a lot of humble pie, huge amounts which have been accompanied by ice cream. In my world, when you are being beaten down by life, whether self inflicted or at the hands of the mean, mean world, ice cream makes it all better. Well for at least the few minutes you are eating the ice cream. Then the guilt of eating too many sweets sets in and your tummy starts to have rolls and... well I could go on but that would be too depressing and this blog post already has me sad enough.
So I have been eating humble pie. And I must say it is well deserved humble pie. My pride was getting way out of hand. The saying goes, "pride comes before the fall." My belief in my stellar parenting skills was at an all time high and I was dispensing my wisdom far and wide. I was recommending books I had read, well I had read most of the book, to those I thought might need a little "help" in the parenting department. I was tsking under my breath at the lady at the park whose kids totally ignored her. I was silently judging the parents around me and even worse, finding joy in sharing a funny story of bad parenting with a friend. I was proud of the parenting job I was doing because my kids were really delightful for the most part.
Well in my case the saying should be "pride comes before the summer" because this summer has been my fall. Oh how the tables have turned. I am now the parent yelling at her kids to "get over here right now" which is ignored time and time again until I finally walk over and round one son up, only to look over and see a second son of mine running off in another direction. I am the parent whose kids are unruly, loud, and disrespectful in stores. I am the mom whose son starts screaming at people and then throws sand right in other kids' faces when they make him mad. I am the mom in that funny story about the kids who were climbing on the video games while the mom was totally oblivious, not paying attention at all. I am that mom.
My parenting skills are no longer working and I am not sure why. My friends have offered helpful suggestions which I really should take but the problem is I think I have lost my will to parent. I am feeling really burned out, overwhelmed and honestly hopeless. And all these feelings bring up a deep seeded fear I have that I will someday follow the women before me in my family who have fallen under the weight of depression, depression so deep my grandmother committed suicide and my mother attempted suicide. I am very aware of my family history. And in times like these, when my world feels out of my control, when my moods swings and I am tired a lot, I worry. I don't want to walk down that dark path.
Now if you are reading this and a friend of mine, don't worry, because I am not even close to walking down that path of depression. Yes, I get depressed. Yes, I get overwhelmed. And yes, I worry that I might need help sometime, that eventually my family legacy will catch up with me and take me down. But in the past when I needed help I asked for it. I got the medication and therapy I needed to balance my moods and deal with my life stressors. And I honestly don't think I am in that place right now. I have been in the pit and even at my most frustrated, I am not there. One of the ways I know is because when I was depressed before, I was supposed to be happy, experiencing what should have been the best years of my life. Yet it was not.
Right now, I am in some of the hardest years of my life. I have been taking care of small children all day, every day for the last 7 1/2 years. I am pretty sure Little One is in the midst of a nasty phase that both my older boys have been through and come out the other side. And summer it turns out is tough. We were all so excited for the carefree days of summer, and while we have enjoyed some great times this summer, it has also been really hard. My boys are often antagonizing one another. They are fighting more. And without the structure of school, I think we have all lost some of our discipline. Carefree and lazy days, has morphed into lazy behavior and carefree self control. Especially on my part.
School does not start for 5 more weeks. So I am thinking I have lots of humble pie still to eat. Feel free to judge me by how my kids behave. I have done it to others. Hopefully though I will be showing a lot more grace to the moms around me in the future. If this summer taught me anything it is this: judging parents by their kids' behavior just asks for trouble. Maybe I will start judging those wonderful moms with those amazing well adjusted kids who are having a ton of fun this summer, enjoying each other's company and all the fun activities they get to do together.