I am often jealous of my friends with kids my son’s age. Their lives seem so much easier than ours. I try to assure myself that we only see glimpses of their lives,. Plenty of people think P. is a well-behaved little angel. But deep down I know that we’ve got it harder than most.
A lot of my time is spent second guessing myself. Before I went on meds, I just assumed I was a shitty parent because of my depression and anxiety. I thought the whole situation was my fault. Now I have a more realistic perspective. I realize some of it is me and Nikola and some of it is just the hand we were dealt when P. was born.
It feels like everyone else has good days and bad days with their preschoolers. We don’t even have good hours and bad hours. We have good minutes and bad minutes. Okay, maybe that’s a lie. There have been good hours. Even half days, when we are doing exactly what he wants, he’s had sleep, and he’s cooperative. But whole days? Nah. Those don’t seem to exist.
These days I spend my time wondering:
- Am I irritated because my meds need to be adjusted or because I have a three-year-old?
- Are we being too hard? Too soft?
- When is this “stage” going to end?
- How did two introverts create such a socially demanding extrovert?
- Should we go to a child psychologist? Family counselor?
- Does trauma transfer genetically? Is history physical?
- Am I failing my kiddo?
- How do I nurture the positive aspects of his personality? He is so creative, loving, caring. He has no problems sharing. He is artistic. He has such joy. How do I cultivate THAT and not the anger and defiance?
I read so much parenting advice that makes everything sound so easy. Firm boundaries, lots of attention, and positive reinforcement and your child will magically turn into a compliant angel. But it doesn’t happen that way, at least not for us. His testing of boundaries is… well, instead of pressing against them he hops all over them, jumping gleefully and giggling. Whatever it is, it isn’t easy for us. It’s a constant struggle and both Nikola and I are exhausted from it most of the time.
Then I hear the worst news- four is harder than three. Five is harder than four. When does it get easier?
I guess today I just feel like I’m failing my beautiful baby boy, and I can use some support and encouragement. Maybe the idea that there is a light at the end of this preschool tunnel.