Proof is in the something
Poor Little Tough Guy

Adequacy

So yesterday was not really a good day. Honestly, it started the day before, when the babysitter left. 

Ezra cried.

No, he wailed. He toddled after her as she opened the front door, his arms outstretched and his face crumpling. She stepped outside and he pounded on the storm door and howled. I picked him up and he tried to push off my chest to lunge after her. She waved and blew kisses at him while looking at me like, "oh God, I'm SORRY," while I tried to smile and put on a brave face even though oh God, this SUCKS.

Of course, he got over it fairly quickly -- 10 minutes, tops, but the sting of his preference, of him wanting nothing to do with me even after hours apart, definitely set me up for a crappy sitter-less Tuesday. Nothing I could do was enough. I wasn't fun. I was distracted and impatient and bored and scoldy and naggy. I hated everything that I heard coming out of my mouth, because it was all so damn negative

Don't do that. Stop that. Put that down. No, Ezra. No, Noah. Not right now. In a minute. STOP THAT.

So then my one Big Activity of Fun was a disaster of epic freak-out proportions and left me generally irritated and feeling sorry for myself and wondering when, exactly, I'd gotten so BAD at this. 

AND ALSO, WTF: A part-time nanny comes a few days a week and keeps the laundry done and the kitchen cleaned and the kids happy and entertained and on schedule and they freaking LOVE HER...and I manage to turn this incredibly great situation into a PROBLEM. Because she's BETTER at this than me. 

Because I got my feelings hurt by a TODDLER. Who likes to eat BATTERIES.

*kicks a rock*

*eats the rest of the pudding*

033010-1
Spare me the dramz, lady.  

I did attempt one last ditch effort at Special Fun Specialness, with a screening of the original Star Wars movie. Noah routinely asks for the Star Trek movie now so I figured he should see the one that harkened back to MY childhood, back when I was a Star Wars fanatic, before those blasted prequels ruined EVERYTHING, oh my GOD, I don't want to TALK ABOUT THEM,  I'm going to my ROOM, and I need more PUDDING.

Noah was not impressed. Apparently the Trekkie genes won this round.

033010-2 

I'm trying to do better today. It's really all you can do, right?

Comments

MKN

Amen to that. I am right there with you. Busy making the world a more unpleasant place because I am turning a vacation to Hawaii into another reason to freak out. (honestly, it is not the trip, it is the prepping, planning, packing etc for the trip and all the OTHER crap I have to deal with at the same time...work, kids, school, little league, etc.etc.etc.)Hard to be Suzy Sunshine and Fun Mom with all that to lug around. Also, is it really harming anyone if I obsess about spray tan vs. tanning bed to prep my whiter than white skin for actual sunshine, which it hasn't seen since before my twins were born six years ago? Really?? Husbands are so dense sometimes. sigh. Can't they ever just listen and nod at the right times??

MKN

and yes, I realize I sound like a whiny brat. Oh, poor me, stressed about tropical vacation! But I am hormonal and I need to whine today. Sorry.

Elizabeth_K

You're totally going to do better today. And if not, just make (and eat) more pudding. When the kids prefer someone else (dad, nanny, stranger on the street) it makes me crazy with jealousy. BUT I GAVE YOU LIFE, blah blah blah. Sorry yesterday was so hard.

Steph

Oh Amy, I am finally delurking because I have SO many days like this. It is heartwrenching when I come home from a full day at work and my boys want nothing to do with me, cry when the nanny leaves, and then I find myself at the end of my fuse 30 mins later. But it's like you said, you can only try to do better the next day.

Katie

Oh, man, I know that feeling all too well... Also can't figure out when I turned into a Hitler-mummy... Sometimes I feel I should engage the help of a litte red wine or something to take the edge off, but I'm worried that might spiral off somewhere dark and not-so-much-fun where I won't be able to do it anymore without the aid of a little something!

Crabby Apple Seed

My daughter prefers the babysitter, too.

The babysitter is my MIL.

It's a special, horrible sting. I feel your pain.

Natalie

All I could think of by the end of this post is... Oh, my goodness - Noah is the spitting image of his father. Too cool.

Kim

Does it help that I think you're an awesome mom? Or that I'm feeling a little better about my Momzilla days right now?

eva

My daughter often does not want to leave daycare at the end of the day...to the point where she runs and hides! I feel your pain:)

Heather

I'm with you. Our baby girl is about a week younger than Ezra, and EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. her father sets her down she wales. He keeps trying to tell me that it's a phase and soon she'll prefer me, to which I say PSHAW.

Patti B.

Holy crap! I thought Noah always looked just like you but mayyyyyybe not! Today will be better, you can't give yourself the Bad Mom Award more than 1x per week. Its the rules.
:)

Ade

Totally know how you feel!!! My little boy sometimes spends the weekend with my mom. As I struggle to say Good-bye because I will miss him...he says "Go home mom, I'm going with Grandma." Great, I can tell you will be missing me:( Hang in there...you are a wonderful mother!

Parsing Nonsense

Don't beat yourself up! Everyone has an off day once in awhile. I was a nanny for three years, and there were plenty of times the girls did the same thing to their mom. What you don't see, however, is the far more frequent times as a nanny when they're sobbing and inconsolable and they don't want YOU they want their MOMMY.

Trust me. You don't see it happen, but it does. Plenty.

Sprite's Keeper

Whenever Sprite talks up one of her teachers and how they do things differently from me and she likes the way THEY do it, a little spear digs into my heart while I clamp down a retort about what I would say about the teacher.
You're right. The prequels KILLED Star Wars.

Miss Grace

Almost every night I find myself whispering to my sleeping boy that I will do better tomorrow.

LPC

Ain't it the truth. Just look at this as though Ezra has had SO MUCH love from you now he wants to spread it around. Might be true.

Hannah

Happens to everyone, at least sometimes. I try to tell myself that at least my boys are with a sitter who loves them like they are her own, and I know they are happy & well cared for when I'm working.

Still, I know - she is infinitely more patient than me, and also freer with snacks & television, so they act like they love her better. I know that they don't, really. Lucky boys to have lots of people to love.

And yes, the prequels. Aarrgghh. If I had a hot tub time machine (a movie I can't wait to see, because I am apparently a sixteen year old boy on some level) I would go back in time to 1983 and hit George Lucas with a shovel to stop the freakin' prequels in their tracks.

Pinkie Bling

F-king PREQUELS!!!!

beyond

i was a nanny and a child caretaker for a while, and i can assure you that 98% of the time the kid wants/misses/adores the mommy way more than the nanny... you're lucky that your boys love her. (but you already know that, don't you.)

Melissa

I actually enjoy when my kids prefer my husband or grandparents or current babysitter. I think it proves that I'm the parent, molding and guiding them, not playing and spoiling them. To be fair, they prefer grandparents to my husband but him to me because 'he's more fun' and 'mommy says no'. So take it as a compliment, that they know you're doing the Mommy job and she's doing the fun, temporary job.

and yes, the prequels killed star wars. the originals are forever tainted by those ridiculous things.

Mary Lou

Well of course she may be the "fun" one at times she is with them only part time! How hard is it to be fun for a short-while? Meanwhile you're with them 24 hours a day on most days and doing all the hard work of mothering and teaching them, and cleaning up after them and millions of other non glorified things.

So I think you're doing a great job, and give you're self a break! You had a bad day but you're right the ONLY thing you can do is try your best again, no one is perfect. : )

Laurie

My two-and-a-half year old sometimes cries when I pick him up from daycare and always wants daddy to put him to bed. I try to look at it as making up from that year I spent breastfeeding but I still get down about it.

Thanks for putting it out there. We're not alone!

Christina

I was felt this way at first with my first with our various childcare situations but I quickly realized that it is like this with everyone (a new kid, a new teacher, a new caretaker, etc) and as the years go by my kids are always going to prefer someone besides me. And yet the littles still secretly hug and kiss me and turn to me when they are sick and cuddle during the quiet times when no one else is looking and I am reminded that my husband and I are still the most important people in their lives.

At the end of the day, I am always there for them and they know it and so I think they take us a bit forgranted which is okay. Hang in!

jodifur

my BFF, who is a Rabbi, and the wisest person I know has an expression.....we do the best when we can, and when we know, we do better.

Michael school is only closed 2 days and I'm all, WTH am I going to do? At least Friday and the weekend are supposed to be gorgeous. Plenty of time for more scoottering for Noah.

jodifur

make that-

we do the best when we can, and when we know BETTER, we do better.

DAMN PROOFREADING

Amy

Oh, man. As my 3 year old was FREAKING OUT this morning because I insisted she take off the ill-fitting flip flops that were moments away from ripping her toes to bloody stumps while my husband was trying to work (he's a WAHD) while tsk-tsking my inability to keep our spawn quiet during a conference call, I was thinking all about this. And I realized our kids' emotions are just BIGGER with their mamas. They may be more whiney, screamy, and stompy during the bad moments, but they are also often more huggy, lovey, and cuddly during the good ones. So I guess it's a trade-off.

Cincy

It really *IS* all you can do. I've been trying to do better for many years now.

And it looks like Jason isn't too revved up by 'Star Wars' either.

iambellaluna

Well, the nanny, she gets paid to keep all those things in order. Her house is probably a freakin' disaster.

Just sayin'
(But really, what do I know? It sounded encouraging in my mind.)

Greg S.

That last pic -

OMG! Twins!

Amy

Amen - it's all you can do. Just keep doing it!

Andrea

Yesterday was weird. I don't know what it was, but everything Jack did annoyed me. And all that negative bull-shit coming out of my mouth was equally if not more, annoying. Today though, the sun is shining, and we ate banana bread for breakfast and played trucks. Gah. It's hard sometimes. So hard. I'm right there with you.

Michelle Madayag

What? Are you kidding me? Don't you mean that you are TOO good at this sometimes. I mean, you were SO good at hiring that particular nanny that your kids adore. And also? You keep trying to come up with fun activities that will help Noah with his sensory issues EVEN IN THE FACE OF ALMOST CERTAIN PERIL!

Now put the pudding down and back away slowly for I am armed with a spoon of my own.

lizgizzy

She may be fun, but she goes away, and you don't. He's not choosing her over you. Ezra is so confident in you being there with him always that the he can't comprehend the idea of you being gone. At least that's they way I chose to look at those moments. My heart would have been broken otherwise. You'll have a good day soon.

kelly

Yes, that's all we can do. Try.
I am having the week from aych ee double hockey sticks and I am trying trying trying not to lose my mind.
You're an awesome momma. Thanks for reminding me that sometimes it all just sucks, and then we try again the next day.

kelly

Also, I big sparkly puffy heart Star Wars, and I don't want to talk about the prequels. Ever.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Awww! You are amazing. But even amazing people have bad days. And even sweet, adorable kids have days where nothing can please them.

Go back and read your post about the ocean. Maybe it will remind you just how awesome you are.

Julie

I haven't read the other comments so maybe this has been said . . . of COURSE they like the babysitter better! She is there only for their entertainment, not required to discipline them to make sure they don't grow up into self-important serial killers! Parents have the hard job of correcting poor choices constantly, which is not so much fun as the babysitter redirecting behavior to something else fun. :) (That's what I tell myself, anyway)

Barb

The last 2 posts you're blasting your Mommy skillz. Not once did you check your Mommy handbook, did you? Next time check and you'll get it right!

Michal

There will always be days like those, all we can do is start fresh the next day and no dwell. I have to tell myself that everyday. My oldest has hit the whine everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) stage...gah. Sometimes I send her to her room just to get some peace...and then I feel bad. But it always gets better.

OMG!! Noah is a blonde Jason! Could they look more alike?

Susan

You know what I remember about my childhood? Those special crafty moments that my mom designed for me, those outings to a special field of flowers that she just knew I'd love and would make great pictures...NOT. I remember her holding my hair and wiping my head when I was sick. I remember her making my favorite dinner for my birthday. I remember that she always loved. I don't even remember what she really looked like then. That's not what mattered. You're the bomb mom, Amy.

Amy

Yesterday my 3 year old screamed at me, so I screamed back, "YOU WANT TO YELL AT ME, BECAUSE I CAN YELL TOO!" so loud that her face crumpled and she cried for 20 minutes, and my throat hurt for about an hour.

Awesome.

Sometimes I like to think of the future psychiatrist whose children will have the best of everything because my children will have to pay them tons and tons of money to unscrew them up.

It's kind of a service I'm providing to the future.

Pass the wine.

Melissa

Yesterday I gave myself a timeout b/c I was yelling at my 2.5 year old to eat his dinner DAMN IT!! Went upstairs and left my husband with the crying baby and 2.5 year old. Took a few deep breaths, came downstairs and made my son toast and applesauce. The moments pass. And here's hoping they remember the good ones!

kim at allconsuming

Bad days blow.

Almost as much as Star Wars prequels.

MP

First off, The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the original 3. The prequels? Not so much. And maybe I was just too old when the Ewoks came on the scene, but I thought they were just silly.

Second - Jason's genes are strong if that picture is any indication. Chip off the 'ol block.

Third - if your kids craved you all the time and thought you were always the "fun" one, you'd be in a lot of trouble. They feel safe enough with you (aka loved) to show their emotions so openly. You are there to raise them, not always be a fun, permissive playmate. And yes, it gets so OLD being the one to say NO all the time. To nag and cajole and be pissy. But the thing is, you don't always do that. It just feels like it somedays. And it's for their benefit that will pay off down the road when your boys are grown men - responsible, well-adjusted, respectful MEN who we all stand to be around. :) The "other" parent and nanny get to be "fun" because they don't spend 24/7 with the kids like we stay at home moms do. I say, if you're not yelling at your kids sometimes you're not spending enough time with them. So there. In other words, you're doing everything right. :)

Jessica V

My son told me the other day that I am "always saying "just a minute," and Luc's (his friend) mom NEVER says that!" *keels over with the weight of mom-failure*

It is funny b/c (a) it isn't true and (b) I'm usually in the middle of doing something FOR him or his brother, which is why I can't address his latest desperate need that very second. Also? Last night I had a similar meltdown when the chaos got to be too much for me.

Your post is helping me recognize that yes, all you can do is try again tomorrow.

Hope your today is better than yesterday was!

Miss Britt

She may be a better BABYSITTER than you, but that's only because BABYSITTING is way fucking easier than PARENTING.

That's what I tell myself when I'm cussing out the perfect angel child care provider teenage girl that my children love more than me.

Debbie

I used to be a nanny, am not yet a mother. I can promise you, promise you, that the nanny often feels his preference for you as well.

My charge was 15 months when I started, 3 when I had to leave, and by the end she would tell her mom "I want Debbie" whenever she was getting in trouble. What a stinker, because she was doing the same thing to me, too. "I want mom" was all I ever heard! And I had to move across the country when I left their family.

I know that it stings. A good nanny will do her best to minimize that preference and minimize its impact on you. It sounds like she's a good nanny!

She's NOT doing it better than you. She is just your helper, like an extension of you. If she's a good nanny, trust me, she is learning a lot from YOUR example. A good nanny only exists in a family where there is a good mom! You're great!

Emily

As a nanny, I can tell you every toddler I've worked with went through a phase where they cried when I left or they left. They didn't like me more, it was just a transition, and those are scary for toddlers, particularly towards the end of the day.


As a mommy, I can tell you that even though I *KNOW* my son loves me and misses me, it still feels like a knife in chest when after our initial greeting and hug he wants nothing to do with me while when I pick him up from my moms. I know it's not that he didn't miss me, he's just BUSY. But still, ouch.

Abbey

so I guess I'm the odd one out, because I kinda like the prequels. & I think the Ewoks are kinda cute. Episode 2 might be my fave cause Obi-Wan is plain freakin awesome (I love him. he+C3PO=best parts of the movie). & Yoda's duel at the end? EPIC. & Anakin is his least annoying in it. I really dislike Episode 3 because of how annoying Anakin is in it.

Anyway, enough about my geekiness. You're an awesome mother. Some days are just better than others. & we all love you :)

Stacy

I was sometimes the much-beloved babysitter before I became the mama; it's why I so much wanted to be a mama.

Insert hollow laughter here...being the mama isn't perfect. My kid....the one who tracked mud in the house 3 times today...not perfect either.

But tomorrow is another day. And even perfect gets tiresome.

LaurenK

Thank you for somehow being on my exact sucky experience schedule. Maybe it is something with the stars aligning or something, but my daughter SOBBED when I made her leave daycare today... Which in turn made me sob... And throw our bags on the floor when we got home... And stomp off for a few minutes claiming that my daughter hated me.

This post and all these comments have helped me immensely. Thank you internet!

Kate

Well, as a working mother of a 15 month old (who has been going to his grandmother's every M-F since he was 7 weeks), I've learned that the formula is this: [desire to be with most recent caregiver] x [amount of time spent with most recent caregiver] = determination to stay with most recent caregiver. This appears to apply to myself, my husband, my mother, my father, and even the dog sometimes.

As someone who grew up going to babysitters while my mother worked, don't worry-- I don't know where any of those babysitters even live these days, but my mom is still my best friend.

mamacass

Lord knows we all have those days. Give yourself a big hug, and eat some more pudding :-).

tasterspoon

Christina makes a good point, which I would restate only as, they only take you for granted because they're SURE of you. Isn't that a lovely thought?

Christina

Remember that there is a long list of things that Noah didn't used to do that he now does like it is no big deal, like last week when you wrote about him climbing the wall at the park or what you did at the beach earlier this year or even the things you do to help him that go well like the shoe box line.

He just needs to try some things and freak out at you before those things get added to the list of things he conquers. You're his sounding board. Hard to remember when he is in the midst of a tantrum but the tanturms are part of the journey to growing-up-ville.

Meg

As a part-time babysitter/nanny type, I can say that the kids like us because we are novel and new, and because we can be fresh and fun with cool ideas and all kinds of patience because we don't spend 24/7 with the kids. We come in and rarely have to deal with the hard stuff! We get to take a "friend" role while the moms do the real work, which is sometimes hard and stressful and not so fun.

Leslie

Did Star Wars make YOU fell better, at least? I always watch one of the originals when I'm sick for comfort.
You're a great mom, and they know that. But seriously, how did you feel about YOUR parents?? Exactly.

Dawn

Oh honey, I can relate. My MIL watches my 7 month old. On Monday I heard him moving in his crib so I got him up and it was all smiles and coos and yay. Then my MIL comes upstairs and his whole face LIGHTS UP and practically lunges out of my arms for her. Which is fine, I'm glad that he loves his Grandma but she gave him back to me to finish getting dressed and AH MAH GAH the wails! And tears! And this coming on the day of my grandmother's viewing did not help matters. But know that he loves you so much.

Guess that is what makes us the parents: everyone else is just so much more fun. Though my nieces and nephews think that I'm just the coolest thing ever so it helps a bit. Must get that validation from someplace.

And chocolate pudding does make everything better.

Gillian

My guess is that this is the birthing of the infamous toddler
characteristic of wanting everything to be the same all the time unless it is the child who makes the choice to do things differently.

Katie Kat

Oh God Amy - I CAN SO RELATE! I have been in the "I'm the worst Mom in the Universe" rut lately. I know I'm being too impatient and, just like you said, I hate every word that comes out of my mouth. B wanted to go outside and have me push her on the swing last night, and I actually said "NO. I don't have any shoes on and I don't want to walk allllllll the way out there" and went back to watching some ridiculously stupid show on TV. WTF? And let me tell you just about how well my "We Will Just Go To Disney On Ice And Everything Will Be AWESOME-O" plan last Saturday... let's just say B wasn't the only one who ended up having a total meltdown.

Got any pudding to share?

Chris

Whatever you do, don't let him watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan until he's thirty. Seriously, the "worm-thing in the ear" scene scarred me for life. I still don't think my mom has forgiven my dad for letting me watch that.

AmyC65

With a stronger-willed child, what Ezra demonstrated wasn't so much a preference of her-over-you but a preference that NO ONE leave this house right now. He may not have been saying, "I prefer HER" but just "I don't want her to leave". Then maybe you translated that and then everything the next day went through the filter of his perceived preference.

Ease up on yourself. We all do the best we can. And, as a mom of 2 teens, I will say you have to brace yourself for the days when you are NOT their favorite person and they WILL want you to leave.

Kendra

I get upset that my kids seem to think the world is going to end if they're not an arm's length from me at all times, but I have been through a few times when they wanted someone (anyone--Daddy, Grandma, some lady at the store who looked nice) more than me, and it's actually worse.

It's hard not to take things personally, even when they are insults in the form of "I would rather eat dog food than snuggle you" or the always-popular "You're not my friend anymore." I hope today is better.

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