Facing Parenting Fears – We Went to Toddler Time

A couple of weeks ago, I meant to go to toddler time at the library, in spite of the parenting fears associated with it.  The last and only time we went before?  Yeah, I spent hours at the hospital due to a toddler injury.  I felt like a bad parent and didn’t want to ever, ever experience that again.  But still, I got us ready and was determined to suck it up… only to have the husband not show up to drag us out the door.

But on Wednesday, I got brave.  I was determined to face my parenting fears and face down toddler time at the library once more.

It would only be thirty minutes.  We would not stay a second past story time.  I would bring Norton’s toddler leash with us to prevent any form of trying to run through the library like a little screaming savage.  We could handle it.  Right? [Read more…]

Sucking Up Parenting Fears – It’s Story Time

Today is toddler time at the library.  I’ve been saying that I was going to go back every week for the last month now… and I never do.  I always chicken out for one reason or another.  Quite simply, I’m letting my parenting fears hold me (and Norton) back.

I know the cause of my parenting fears.  The last time we attempted toddler time at the library, it wasn’t all that pretty.  Norton tried to run away from me in the stacks.  Norton hurt his arm and we ended up at the hospital for five hours.  And then, of course, there was the wonderful damage that this trip did to my parenting self-esteem.

[Read more…]

Parenting Stress and the Pressure to be a Perfect Parent

I know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  I know that every parent has bad days when things go wrong.  But still, that doesn’t help me feel any better.  I feel like I need to be the perfect parent in order to be good enough.

This pressure results in more parenting stress than I need.  And no one in my life is putting this pressure on me.  I do it to myself.

I came home from Strong Start earlier today feeling like a completely inadequate and overwhelmed mom.  In fact, I paused while writing my blog post yesterday to just cry for a while… and spent the rest of the day feeling like a terrible mother.  If I were a better mom, I’d be able to handle Strong Start like a super star.  I wouldn’t have felt like an overwhelmed mom who just wanted to go curl up in a ball and hide in a corner.  If I were a better mom, I’d have been able to do something as simple as toddler time at the library without taking my kid to the hospital. [Read more…]

Overwhelmed Mom Survives Strong Start

I’m an introvert by nature.  I’m not dealing with some sort of social anxiety thing or whatever.  I can handle people just fine, and have had to work with them in some capacity or another since I was sixteen.  I’m finding, though, that there’s a difference between doing a job and holding staff meetings and being social and talking to other parents.  I found toddler time at the library to be enough to make me an overwhelmed mom.  Of course, I may not have found it to be so traumatic if it didn’t end with a visit to the hospital.  Strong Start didn’t lead to a trip to the hospital, but I was still an overwhelmed mom by the time I gave up and brought Norton home.

Strong Start is a program in British Columbia that takes place at public schools.  It’s designed for helping with kindergarten readiness, but is open for all kids too young for kindergarten.  I went because our speech pathologist suggested it at our last appointment in order to get Norton around other kids more and help encourage toddler talking.  I was nervous about going, particularly since I hate to take Norton anywhere without the husband after the library disaster.  I always worry about doing something wrong that somehow results in another trip to the hospital. [Read more…]

Who Knew a Library Trip Could Cause So Much Parenting Stress?

For two weeks now, I’ve really wanted to go to toddler time at the library.  I don’t have much in terms of real life mommy friends, and we only know one other couple with kids around Norton’s age.  I’m pretty introverted, so I’m perfectly happy to skip doing social things.  But Norton needs to go.  He needs to be around other kids, and so forth.  Yesterday things worked out and we finally got to go.  I anticipated songs and “dancing.”  I did not anticipate untold amounts of parenting stress, parenting stress brought on by trying to wrangle my kid. [Read more…]

Who Knew a Library Trip Could Cause So Much Parenting Stress?

For two weeks now, I’ve really wanted to go to toddler time at the library.  I don’t have much in terms of real life mommy friends, and we only know one other couple with kids around Norton’s age.  I’m pretty introverted, so I’m perfectly happy to skip doing social things.  But Norton needs to go.  He needs to be around other kids, and so forth.  Yesterday things worked out and we finally got to go.  I anticipated songs and “dancing.”  I did not anticipate untold amounts of parenting stress, parenting stress brought on by trying to wrangle my kid.

A few times, trying to manage Norton got to be too much during that thirty minute toddler time. We almost left, but each time the activity would change and he’d be cooperative. I’m not sure that he knew what to make of the singing and such; I don’t really sing at home because apparently my singing is offensive to my kid. He screams at me if I sing while I clean the house. But we survived. And once it was over, I felt a surge of relief. I wasn’t sure if we were going to ever do this again, in spite of the fact that I knew darned well that we should. Besides, it would get better with practice, right?

We left toddler time and I tried to return the books we checked out last week into the book drop. It took longer than you might think since Norton kept trying to take off. I ended up holding a squirming little boy in my arms when I tried to get the books in the book drop. I carried him upstairs to the level with the “grown up” books to see if I could quickly find some natural childbirth method books. When I put him down so that I could look up the call number, he took off.

sigh

All I wanted was to find was just one book to help me figure out the differences between the birth methods out there.  That’s it.  Just one book.  I didn’t want to spend the day leisurely browsing through the library.  And even if I did, I know that it’s not possible with a toddler in tow.  I’m nothing if not realistic.

The computer catalog was slow as molasses (or maybe it just seemed that way because I was trying to get Norton to come back without raising my voice).  I got down on one knee and opened my arms, so he came running back to me to throw himself into my awaiting arms.  When he got to me, the results were in, and I knew the section I wanted to go.  I could relax.  We were almost done.

And then I felt my parenting stress levels rise once more as he took off.  I could not manage my toddler’s behavior.  If he could just hold it together for a few more minutes….

Finally, I caught up to him in the foreign language books.  I was getting angry.  I held his arm since Norton is too little to hold hands and won’t do it, and marched him over to the right section to find my book.  Once we were on the aisle, he tried to wrench his arm free.  I felt a pop as he hurled himself to the ground and began screaming uncontrollably.

It didn’t even occur to me that we were dealing with a toddler injury at this point.  I figured he’s my kid, so that means that things will pop just like they popped with my mother and still do with me.  All that I knew was that I had to get him out of there.  I was embarrassed as all eyes stared at the idiot mother who can’t manage her kid.  I was beyond embarrassed; I was mortified and humiliated to realize that I had become “that mom.”  I tried to muffle his screams somewhat (without actually limiting his ability to breathe) as I carried him out.

Needless to say, we didn’t get any books.

And Norton?  Well, he was going straight to bed for a nap when we got home.  I’d had it.  We’d gone beyond parenting stress at this point; my nerves were completely shot.  The screaming only stopped for brief intervals on the way home.

And I’d decided that I was just going to have to buy or check out books on my Kobo rather than ever return to the library.