I miss the recognition

I had a really sh*t morning.

DS would not go to sleep. After closing the shutters (to make a dark and restful room) and reading a story (to relax him and prepare him for sleep) and nursing him in bed (further relaxation and sleep preparation) he was jumping on the bed and threw a complete wobbly when I switched the light off. Which ended with him slapping me in the face.

I did not handle that at all well.

I lost it.

I jumped off the bed and shouted something at him, slammed the door, and in the process broke the door handle. I had to break through the shutters to get back into the bedroom.

All of this of course was not conducive to sleep. I was still shaking with rage when I got back into bed with him, calling my husband for support. And to my absolute horror, shouted at my son again when he showed no signs of going to sleep.

I am mortified that I shouted at him twice, that he was locked in a room for about 20 seconds and that I have such a poor control over my responses to frustration.

And yet it is bigger than that. It always is.

No one likes to be slapped in the face, even if it is by a toddler, and you know they don’t know better.

Being slapped in the face on a day where I am questioning the wisdom of my staying home to be with my child for both our good, his and mine, was perhaps a bit more of a challenge than I was up to.

I hate it that I have lost respect in the eyes of people around me. Staying home and preparing healthful food and creating a warm and loving home environment seems to be regarded as menial work – for the brainless and those with no ambition. I used to think I was intelligent and that I had ambition. Perhaps I need to accept that that is not so.

I really miss the days where I got positive feedback for a job well done. Where a grandparent would introduce me by giving the name of the hospital I worked at and my accomplishments with learning a new language and building a life for myself in a foreign country. I no longer have that. I am ‘just a mum, who cooks, cleans and tidies up after a toddler’. Anybody can do that. Nothing special about it at all.

I try to make myself feel better about my choices, by reading up on food preparation and food in general. Making choices that makes sense to me for social and physical health. I work hard to clean our home with ecological cleaners, to model cleaning for my son, and to keep a safer environment for him. And to not be polluting the earth. I have begun to avidly read labels on pretty much everything I buy, as I decode the names and what they could mean for our health.

I devour chat threads on health and healing, on how nutrition is the basis for good health. I want what I am doing to count, to matter – and I want to be recognised for my outstanding choices and effort.

And yet, I know that there is an equally passionate mother, making totally different choices than I am. I touched on this in a previous post on vaccines. People make very different choices. I just haven’t yet made peace with my choice within the variety of choices available.

Last night my professor FIL felt the need to share his wisdom by commenting on our mistake of not letting DS find himself in the world alone by leaving him to fall asleep without his mother or father. Why? Apparently we are making a mistake to not leave DS alone in the evenings while we go out to dinner, movies, theatre, whatever. That we leave DS during the day to have our fun, while still being with him at night is, well, obviously pathological.

Apart from not being recognised as a competent and intelligent, I actually enjoy being at home. But the not being recognised part does my head in. I hate being thought of as inferior (aha…. I believe I have touched the core of the issue, and hence my outrageous outburst earlier today). I think my choice can say a lot about me and who I am. I just wish it didn’t say to some people, that I lack ambition, intelligence or competence.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “I miss the recognition

  1. Dimitra

    Concerning the first part of your post, you might want to read this: http://daycaredaze.wordpress.com/2007/08/10/my-darkest-hour/ I love, love, love Mary -she is my survival-guide-to-children- and this is one of the most powerful things she has written.

    Secondly, you just need to be surrounded by people who appreciate what you do… and / or stop caring what your ILs think. I’m sorry to sound so dismissive, but they don’t know what they are talking about, in this case anyway. I do not think anyone can consciously, mindfully, lovingly cook, clean, and tidy up after a toddler — I think it is a tall order indeed and something not commonly done. Much, much harder than having a 9 to 5 job, and much more important to the world at large, in my opinion.

    • mamawork

      I love the blog. This post also really spoke to me. http://daycaredaze.wordpress.com/2005/04/14/on-being-angry/

      I keep getting stuck on the people around me issue. Although, to be fair, I am finding more and more supportive people, and I do see my tiresome IL’s less and less. They don’t seem to be getting the hint. Sigh.

      On him not bothering me, I try to not let it bother me, but I just end up even more angry. I am offended when I say that he (FIL) should not open the door off the kitchen (at the great grandparents home) and he says he can, it’s not a problem for DS to go through the open door.
      That I have to explain that there are toxic cleaning materials behind that door and I do not want DS playing with them should not be required. As DS’s mother, my word should be enough. I should not need to explain myself to the man to get his co-operation.

      So, I try not to let it bother me, I tell myself he is the person who has the problem and he is an arrogant so and so. But I still hurt. And I am trying to figure out how to heal that hurt without blowing up each and every time he puts his foot in it. I know it is my issue. I just don’t know yet how I can get to a place where it doesn’t hurt. As in it really doesn’t hurt, I’m not trying to pretend it doesn’t hurt.

  2. I started a comment here, but it got so long I emailed it to you! Here, I will say thank you for the affirmation — we all need/enjoy it. As for unsolicited parenting advice? When it’s someone like a family member who you can’t just walk away from, you smile and nod and say “That’s an interesting perspective. I’ll give it some thought.” And then you proceed your own way.

    • mamawork

      Thank you so much for your response and your email. 🙂 🙂

      I really do love being at home with my son, and creating this warm and loving home environment. I am not doing everything I want to be doing just yet, but I’ll get there. I am working on our routine/rhythm at the moment. For now Tuesday is baking day. I’m building on that.

      I just really miss the pat on my back and the pride of having my good work recognised. I know I am doing a good job. I just wish I weren’t hassled for it. Not only not supported, but openly hassled. This FIL (I have two) and I have a long history – and I suspect nothing is really going to change there any time soon. Sigh.

      Again, thanks for stopping by.

  3. Pingback: I am where I belong « It’s Not All Mary Poppins

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