Thursday, March 12, 2009

Don't sweat the hard stuff/It's all hard stuff

I keep coming back to this thought about parenting. I imagine that for some people parenting (ie: handling the crying, choosing rewards over discipline and managing the minor stresses of how and when to roll over, stressing about the health and safety of it all) comes easy.

I would not be one of those mothers. First, I take everything too seriously. Second, I take everything too seriously.

I know this and have known it and yet I can't seem to find a good place or age when it just starts getting easier for me. Sure, 3 is easier than that first year. It's still easier than the second and third years.

Now, I realize that having two of the same age intensifies this feeling. And, I also know that since I'm dealing with the first born times two that I don't get that natural take-it-easy approach that usually tags along with the second and third borns. For us, it's all the first time and it's a bit frustrating that there are so little books for parents of twins dealing with discipline vs. rewards. You can't honor one and not the other without someone having their feelings hurt.

There are things about 3 that lead me to wonder ... is parenting always going to be this hard for me? Will I ever get to feel relaxed again? Stop worrying? Stop having to intervene.

It's been three solid years of changing diapers, worrying how to get them back in bed when they wake too early, trying desperately to get them to settle down for bed at bedtime in their shared room and making sure they get a healthy diet that does not include too many sweets.

I'm fairly sure that they are happy and smart and that we've done a great job thus far. But, I'm also fairly sure that I've made some bad mistakes, things I wish I could do differently -- for them and for myself.

Does anyone else feel this way? Not necessarily regret, but remorse.

Since I will not be getting a second chance at parenting a second born, I am going to dedicate this week to my advice for new mothers, especially new mothers of twins and how to deal with issues of rewards and discipline.

Because, seriously, we can't always sweat the hard stuff in parenting. Because it's all hard stuff -- if you ask me.


LauraC said...

I've heard from many people that things do get easier once you get past these first five years, when they truly have more independence and can communicate much better. I personally just find the challenge has been different. In the newborn days, I was emotionally and physically exhuasted. So exhausted I couldn't worry about the small tings.

Now some days I feel on edge, almost ready to snap from the stress of dealing with two almost 3 year olds and their constant demands. And the bitter jealousy.

I don't find any of it easy, but I do find the more space I give them, the less stress I put on myself. This week outside has been good practice. I just set out their dinner and let them run around and eat whenever they want. No constant standing over them telling they have to finish their meal before they can play.

And same thing on the fighting, we have let them play outside without interfering or interacting. Amazingly, they find a way to work through their little fights without us. I guess you could say I'm learning to let go and not supervise them as closely.

But I still find parenting very very hard.

Shannon said...

We've been talking about this alot lately, because of Tye being so stubborn and the time-outs not really working. We talked about doing reward things like giving him a cookie for not fighting us when we try to put him in the carseat/potty/chair/bed/etc. But then we remembered we tried that and it didn't work either. He would just scream and beat his head against the seat/chair/potty/bed/etc. instead of trying to be good and earn the cookie.

Let's not even talk about the constant fighting between them. It's ridiculous. Although the preschool says they don't fight there at all.

I'll look forward to other mom's advice.

kisatrtle said...

I think everyone wishes they handled things differently from time to time.

I have a 10, a 7 and a 5 year old and while some things are much easier other things are much harder.

Right now I'm slowly becoming second chair to oldest's friends. they know everything and I know nothing.

Anonymous said...

Hard/soft, it's all sweat. And that's what a sweat gland is for. Even as certain things get easier, other things get harder, and along the way, we forget what has already been perfected, and are blind to what is to come.

Still and all, nothing is more than this love. Especially when everyone is asleep and I am too.

Claroux said...

I could have written this post! I frequently think about how things would have been different - and possibly easier - if I would have had just one baby. I keep waiting for this to get easier and it doesn't. It just gets different. I don't have any regrets but, like you, I feel bad about things that I have done and about things I haven't done. I feel jealous of my singleton Mom friends who can do things that I think I would like to do and can't. Now that I'm getting a shot at having just one baby I'm worried. I'm worried that I will bond more with this baby than I did with the twins in the early days. I worry that I'm being stupid by thinking that this baby will be SO MUCH EASIER. But seriously - how can having just one NOT be easier than mothering newborn twins???? It will be very curious how this new baby thing goes and I will be sure to write all about it. But in the meantime I still struggle - almost daily - with my feelings about being a Mom to twins. It's definitely NOT easy. It's definitely HARD. It's the hardest thing I have EVER done.

Great post! *hugs*

justagirl said...

I think that is it, it doesn't get easier it just gets different.

Catherine said...

Wow, I hadn't realized that it's been three years of diaper changing for me too... yikes. Motivates me even more to potty train - think of all the money we'll save!

Great site, thanks for the terrific perspective,
~ Catherine, occasional visitor another twin mom of girls - just turned 3, whew and whee (simultaneously!)

Beth said...

Parenting twin girls, now almost four, has been the hardest thing I've ever done! I was one of the those people that kept saying, "It'll be easier when..." and my wise husband would say, "Well, some things will be easier, but there will also be new challenges." And he was right. And it's still hard, because every time I think I know how to do something, there is something new to figure out. And of course, I feel like I have made mistakes.

But, like Laura, I am trying to relax more, trying to give them more space to play, to learn, to mediate between them, to let them make mistakes and messes. I don't know anyone who has twins, and I have found reading twin blogs to be an enormous source of comfort. Just knowing that someone else feels what I do about twin motherhood makes me feel better. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Loukia said...

The first 5 years are the toughest for sure. My children are 3 and a half and 14 months old. Taking care of both of them is extremely hard but at the same time, so rewarding and wonderful. I always sweat the small stuff. I do take things too seriously. I'm not a relaxed mom, and I worry about everything. Of course we all make mistakes in parenting. It's the hardest job there ever was! I know that I will always worry...