Monday, June 28, 2010

Back to the basics

It's time to check in with myself.

Am I, "Balancing Mama", doing better with the balance I'm always striving to achieve?

Hmm, perhaps. But...

Amelia has thrown some major challenges my way with her extreme mood swings. I've had moments of stress so intense that part of my brain kicked into flight response. I just wanted to go far, far away. I've had moments of self-doubt, wondering if I did something wrong to create this difficult child. And I've experienced frustration all around. Frustration with Amelia for her behavior, frustration with myself for how I handle her issues, and frustration with friends and books that give advice yet cannot relate to MY child. I'm convinced that traditional methods do not apply to her personality.

I tell her no - she stares me straight in the eyes, sets her jaw in a defiant look, and does it anyway. I put her in "timeout" - she's up within seconds and fights so strongly that no person my size can keep her down. Sadly, 31 pounds of pure will can sometimes defeat me. She has such a strong will! Not unlike myself, I'm afraid. Did I do this to my mother?

So how are the three moms in me faring these days? I think, finally, after a couple weeks of terror, I'm doing better.

I am a "perfect mom" - because I'm always striving to find the answers that fit my child. I understand that she doesn't fit in a standard mold. I am trying every day to get more in tune with her feelings and her struggles for independence and self-expression. I even reached out for professional advice on how to handle her tantrums. And you know what? I think it's working. Steve and I have been blessed with a (mostly) well-behaved girl the past two days! Surely a curveball is coming my way again soon, but I'm taking it one day at a time.

I am a "happy mom" - this usually goes hand in hand with Amelia's behavior. When she is happy, I am happy. So we've had a wonderful weekend full of fun. I regained some self confidence by learning to better understand Amelia's needs and my role in her tantrums. And that is necessary for happiness. When I think I'm doing a good job and I see the joy in Amelia's bright eyes, I am definitely happy.

And I am still a "working mom" - vacation was great, but now it's time to get back down to business. There is a direct correlation between the challenges Amelia poses and the amount of work (or lack thereof) I'm able to accomplish. As she is becoming more adjusted and learning to play more independently, I am getting back into work mode. Working from home is still very difficult with a 2-year old at home. Sometimes I have to drop everything to attend to her needs. That can be pretty challenging when I've focused on a task at hand. But that is my reality as a work-from-home mama.

And I can do it. I can do all of it.
Moms are pretty tough, you know.
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