Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The blogging Gap and the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

"Have you seen my Mommy's blog? I think it disappeared!"

Ah, the gap in posts has become ever wider. What started out as a brief blogging break in the summer stretched further than I wanted. Well, today follows the feast day of one of my favorite saints, St. Therese of Liseux, and therefore great day to begin again.

First, let me start with the good. This summer my husband and I went away for our anniversary and hosted numerous friends and family at our house. We also watched in great joy as 2 IF friends adopted baby girls. Longtime readers of this blog (if there are any of you left!) might remember Blood Test Buddy, my faithful companion during our many rounds of blood tests for our NaPro doctor. Blood Test Buddy gave birth to a baby girl (after 6 years of trying) on my birthday!! What an awesome gift. I celebrated a low-key 35th birthday as well.

But then came some bad. My husband’s company laid off almost 600 workers at the end of August. Thankfully his job is safe for now, but it was a very terrifying time. He also had to watch several of his talented coworkers lose their jobs.

Right around this time, my support system started to crumble. Our dear friends at our parish who have been like a mentor family decided to attend another parish…and fall out of touch (the exception was blogger friend K, who helped me on a couple difficult nights!). Close friends who were normally available became busy (rightfully so) with new babies. Other friends just kind of forgot. And might I add, with the loss of Gymb.oree, I lost the companionship of moms with kids the same age. These days, I seem to end up at events with parents who have cute, cuddly babies (who don't say "NO") who end up gaping in horror at the antics of my toddler.

And the UGLY. My sweet little girl’s entrance into the Terrible Twos has started early. There are many reasons why this was so jarring: I have never spent much time around toddlers before (I only teach Grade 2 or above); KB had been a very laid-back, docile baby; being at home makes things harder.

And to boot, I've been very embarrassed to blog about this turmoil. After all, this blog began as an INFERTILITY blog. Having a child was something I desperately wanted. In addition, I have the opportunity to stay at home with her full time, knowing that several friends would give anything to do the same but can’t. (Note: I respect working moms who support their families! It is their decision and they do not deserve to be condemned).

After a while, I did think more about the issue. We all know friends or family members who have pursued careers in medicine, teaching, or law, which require years of preparation. Such professionals often have bad days, but it doesn’t cause us to admonish them mockingly, “but THIS is what you wanted!” The voice inside my head often says that to me, after a long day of chasing a toddler who throws a tantrum at the word “no.” Some days are better than others, of course. Thankfully, talking to a good amount of mothers (including my own mom and mother-in-law) affirmed that toddlerhood is both an exciting and challenging time. That I wasn’t the only one who got very little out of Sunday Mass because most of it was spent wrestling. Or that tantrums (especially public ones) were normal but required consistency. “Do you remember some of your most difficult students?” asked my mom. “Just imagine how they were as toddlers!” Talk about incentive!

What has changed a bit, however, are my coping tactics. We switched our gym membership to the local Y as its kids’ club is fantastic. Even if all I can muster is 30 minutes on the elliptical, that still gives me about an hour of “me time” and KB an hour of play in the kids’ club. We've also started “take a break Sundays” when we attend another parish once a month who offers a nursery during Mass. It’s nice to have a chance to concentrate on Mass. My husband has been wonderful about shooing me out of the house when I've had a long day at home. He will take one look at my tired face and tell me to go to Sta.rbucks. J I’m also going to check out a local Mom’s group at a neighboring parish.

I hope some of my words make sense. As I've often stated on this blog, IF has many effects that stay with you for a long time. And toddlerhood REALLY surprised me after a smooth babyhood. And who knows what adventures lie in store for us. Right now, I’m trying to take one day and one prayer at a time.


This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

Do you ever wonder what Jesus was like as a toddler?? I mean, he never sinned, but I guarantee he gave Mary a run for her money. :).

Percolating Petals said...

Ha ha ha, TCIE! I wonder if He was turning water into milk during his toddler years! :)

Maureen said...

Even though the transition to the terrible two's has been difficult, you have done very well. I am very proud of your resiliency and commom sense in confronting this challenge. You are helping to raise a child who will not be easily swayed by the allures of the material world. Hang in there, Kristy. I can already see improvements in her behavior after this past weekend. Parenting is not for the faint of heart.

Kasclar said...

You're doing great, mama!! So glad you get some little breaks here and there. And I sometimes feel the same way, like on a bad day someone is going to say to me "but this is what you wanted!" Actually, someone did say that to me once and I've never forgotten it. It stings, it hurts, and you feel guilty for having a bad day. And it shouldn't be that way AT ALL. Bad days happen and we should be allowed to feel overwhelmed at times without someone putting a guilt trip on us. So ... my point ... stay strong against those thoughts, know it is okay to have bad days, and know that God is with you and you WILL make it through. That's what I tell myself!

allyouwhohope said...

I'm right there with ya on the terrible two's! Luke started early so between the two of mine "No, I can't!" is often the most frequently heard phrase in our house! And he's biting. My sweet, little angel likes to inflict bodily harm on his sister all day long. Good for you for getting out when you can! We, too, recently joined a gym with a kids' club and it's been awesome. And we also now have a nursery at our parish. Sometimes we need little breaks for our sanity! You're a great mom and this too will pass. Except everyone says the 3's are even worse! Haha.. just kidding. One day at a time :)

allyouwhohope said...

Oh, and if Jesus had been anything like Clara as a toddler, he'd have changed milk into juice! That's another constant battle in our house ;)

Joy Beyond the Cross said...

Hey K - I am still reading! I was wondering how things were going. KB is such a dear little girl and I know that her spunk and spirit will serve her very well as she grows up and you and M are wonderful parents. I hope we parent Elizabeth with as much grace and love. And if you ever want to talk or face time - hey, Elizabeth and I are home during the day...just let me know. I would love to chat! Our Lady of Joy, pray for us!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear more about how you handle the tantrums! Some tips if you have them on what's working for y'all! I'm getting a glimpse here and there of those terrible twos- Isaac has mastered the "jelly" body where he goes completely limp when you try to get him to go anywhere he doesn't want to go. Reminds me of Dennis the Menace (the movie)... We have a few tantrums here and there, but luckily nothing public yet.

Percolating Petals said...

Hey, thanks for the kind words, everyone!! :) I'm glad there are still some people reading!