Monday, December 19, 2011

Dissatisfaction...Part 2

Ok, so I didn't quite get around to this post as soon as I had planned. What can I say? I have five kids and it's the holiday season. I think that's enough reason to get a free pass. :)

I talked about how I have been dissatisfied with my home, but there are other areas in my life that I am also dissatisfied with. My kids top the list and that makes me hang my head in shame.

I know it is not uncommon or unheard of to compare your children to other children. In fact, a little comparison can be good. It's nice to observe another child that is close in age to your own child. You may realize that your child is ahead/behind where he/she needs to be developmentaly. I have often observed another child and then realized that my child was not being challenged enough. So, it has helped me to "up my game" so to speak. However, I am not talking about gentle comparisons. I am talking about out and out "I wish my kid were totally different" statements.

I have mentioned before that Lily (my four year old) is the most challenging child I am raising. I am ashamed to admit that not only do I compare her to other children; I also wish she were different nearly every day. I don't simply think that she could improve her manners. I nit-pick and find fault with every little thing she does wrong and wish she were a different child. I cut her no slack and I am very tough on her. I wish I knew why I am that way. I find myself sighing a huge breath of relief when she is tucked into bed. I am so finished with her by the end of the day.

Recently, I even admitted to myself that I don't like her very much most of the time. I don't want you to misunderstand me. I LOVE Lily. I would lay down my life for her. She is my daughter and I would not trade her for anything. However, I have come to realize that most days I don't enjoy spending time with her. I am embarrassed that I feel that way.

I think that with Annie and Megan I can see bits of myself in each of them. It's easy to understand their actions or even enjoy their quirks because of that. I look at Lily and I see very little in common with me. My husband, Carlos, is ADHD and I just know that Lily is as well. I look at Lily and I see all these unexplainable traits and actions. I am guessing that a large chunk of them come from ADHD. Of course, she is a bit too young to diagnose ADHD at this point. I am just making assumptions. I assume that if she is nothing like me, then she must be like my husband. Noah isn't really like me either, but he's a boy so it doesn't seem to irk me as much. Claire is too young for me to say if she shares any or my qualities or not.

So, I have been praying and reading and going over things in my head to try and come up with a solution to this issue. I don't want Lily to grow up and look back on her childhood and simply remember all the times I corrected her or nagged her. I want her to look back and have fond memories of joyous times spent with me. So, what should I do?

I have come to the realization that Lily is Lily. She is who she is. I am her mother and it is my job to appreciate her for the unique child that she is. So what that she doesn't fit the mold of the typical daughter? Yes, she challenges me the most but that probably means that when she grows up she won't take slack from anyone. She will probably go far because she is so determined. She is fearless and has an amazing sense of humor. From now on, I am going to focus on what she is instead of what she isn't. I am simply going to love her for being the wonderful little girl that she is. I am going to stop comparing her to her older sisters, who have always been a bit more conventional.

I figure that if I can get over my dissatisfaction with my house and with my daughter; I will be a happier mother/homemaker. I figure if I am happy then I can accomplish more and live a fuller life. If I am happy then everyone around me will be happy. :)


  1. I so understand where you are coming from because G is my Lily. He is a wonderful kid but he aggravates me to no end. I suspect he has some OCD issues like his dear old mom, and his obsessing over things is what often drives me crazy.

    Having kids is such a crap-shoot. I hope that I can have and maintain a close relationship with my kids but it is possible that some of them will just be not my cup o' tea. They just come out the way they are, and even though we as moms think so much of what we do molds them, I think we have much less impact than the guilt we lay on ourselves would suggest.

    Hugs to you, friend. You are certainly not the only mom to have these feelings.

  2. Oh, Shelby, I so appreciate you sharing your heart on this subject, and being vulnerable by admitting the things that you feel that aren't necessarily "pretty."

    If it's any consolation, I think it makes perfect sense to not like spending time with someone who essentially causes you nothing but aggravation and stress. If such a person was your co-worker, you would avoid being on projects with her. If she was a classmate, you would sit on the other side of the classroom. If she was a neighbor, you would pull down your shades when you saw her coming. Just because someone is your child -- and even if you LOVE her -- it's still perfectly normal not to enjoy spending time with someone who is a source of trials for you.

    My mom and I were just talking this morning about the fact that every mom should have a "Lily" or an "Audrey" or a "G" or, in my mom's case, a "Jeremy." Raising such a child challenges us to be better individuals and spurs on spiritual and personal growth. Raising such a child makes us more humble, and more compassionate and understanding towards other parents who have a Lily or an Audrey. Raising such a child gives us wisdom to use in many areas of life.

    I'm going to try to find a link to a blog post I read months ago that might give you some insight and some comfort. In the meantime, (((hugs)))!