Sunday, June 24, 2007

Parenting hard kids is hard . . .

Parenting in general is difficult. I have to say that working in a daycare for 13 years before I had children, I thought I had it all figured out. I couldn't fathom how parents could be constantly running late for work. How could they forget show and share day? How could they forget it was a party day and come in late? Why did they carry the 4 year old down the hall? Etc. I knew that I would be a great parent and have it all figured out when I had my own because I had oh so much experience at daycare. WRONG.

I forget stuff for projects, I would rather carry the kid than drag him. I am always running late. I take back everything I ever said about any parent. Parenting is hard. You're "on" 24/7. I am by no means making light of "normal" parenting, but parenting "hard" kids is much harder. My children are difficult. I know that all kids have their very own issues. But, throw a children who has brain damage due to pre-natal alcohol exposure into the mix and you have a recipe for DIFFICULTY.

My children are better for having Dustin in their lives in many ways. They are much more tolerant of behaviors of their peers and they are probably far more compassionate than they could've been. They are also much more independent due to the many "melt-downs" and extra attention that Dustin requires. They have other issues that go along with that. They are incessantly annoying, probably because they have to fight for attention some of the time. McCartney is terribly strong willed and stubborn. She knows how to push buttons and then works it for all it is worth. She is in some ways more trying than Dustin. I will never know if this is a product of nature or our environment.

Parenting kids such as these is difficult. Not only does it do a toll on you as a person and a parent, but also on your marriage. It is a huge responsibility as a parent to take these issues and make them a part of your daily routine. It makes you grumpy and irritable. It makes you much more likely to snap at your spouse. They are the one person who is your ally in all of this, and the one you take it out on the most. It's unfortunate.

Like any marriage, Robert and I have different ways of dealing with the stress. Neither of us can understand the scope of what our words and actions have on one another. Robert retreats into a project and I keep on advancing. Mars and Venus. I push and push, like the stereotypical woman, and irritate and irritate. He is a true trooper. I can't imagine the stress that he has on him dealing with Dustin 24 hours a day. I have a break when I go to work, he doesn't. I couldn't do what he does. I suppose that is the mark of a truly great relationship, he is weak where I am strong and vice versa. Unfortunately right now I don't feel so strong.

We came to the realization last winter when we were dealing with so much difficulty with Dustin that only one parent can check out at a time. It's tough when there is a constant stressor in the home, especially one you love so dearly. One you wish you could fix and can't. I love my husband with all my heart and thank him for walking this journey with me. . . even with all my faults.


Patty said...

Your confession about your thoughts regarding parenting before you became one did two things...Reminded me of me, and reminded me of a certain labor nurse who couldn't grasp why women had to "act so difficult" during childbirth, until she went through it herself!

It is good to hear about a couple that really understand the notion of "For better or worse," in a society where "cut and run" seems to be more of the norm. Your husband is a good guy true, but he also is with you because of who and what you are so don't sell yourself short.

FAScinated said...

I have read studies that suggest that the divorce rate for families who adopt children with special needs is higher than for the general public. We go into this together and with good intentions but the stress often tears us apart. Keep that in mind and hold on to each other. I'll take my own advice on this one as well. ~Kari