Fighting my stage mom wannabe

At the risk of sounding braggy, Rachael was kind of a Gerber baby. Several people mentioned that to me, and I even heard it whispered as I walked with her through the lobby of an Olive Garden once. Some people asked if I was going to get her into child modeling. I was like, Nooooooooooooo. It’s not that I didn’t believe her to be cute, (although I try not to believe the sun shines out of my children’s asses. That way lies the path of Honey Boo Boo.) It wasn’t that I couldn’t take off work to take her for auditions, (even though, I couldn’t have.) It wasn’t just that I wanted nothing to do with that superficial world. It’s because I know something very fundamental about myself: I hate a lack of control. I knew full well that not having any control over what would happen on auditions or any jobs she might have gotten would have driven me mad. I would have become a stage mom.
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I can has contract?

I think, to some extent, it’s an impulse that most parents fight. They so desperately want to see their children succeed. It’s unbelievably frustrating or, at least it is for me, to see your child not do something when you know full well that they are capable of doing it.
It drove me insane when Rachael took dance class. She really loved it and did well at first. But after three semesters of basically doing the same thing, (even though they were supposed to be different classes) she got bored and started acting up. Rachael acting up looks like her not possibly being able to do what she’s been asked to do. Rather than sitting and doing a butterfly stretch, she does a butterfly stretch and “loses her balance” and falls over….from a sitting position. Sitting on the sidelines and not really being able to correct her was rough. (As was sitting on a hardwood floor with fibro butt and back for an hour while trying to keep ZoĆ« entertained.) I did it every once in awhile when she started getting really disruptive, especially since her teacher wasn’t at all a disciplinarian. But beyond the behavior, it was exasperating that Rachael wasn’t excelling or trying too hard, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. I praised her good performance. I fussed about her needing to pay attention and try harder, because I knew she could do it. We had to have a sticker chart with reward books to get her through recital practice. And then I finally accepted it; no matter how much I wanted her to love dance and do well, she didn’t love it in the way that she needed to in order to do well.

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She looked really stinkin’ cute in a tutu, though.

Now Rachael is trying gymnastics. She’s teeny tiny, wiry, and she likes being on her head.
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Watching TV
She really enjoyed class. I really enjoyed watching her…right up until they started doing real things beyond stretching. Every time she she got silly, I cringed. Every time she majorly messed up, (because she should totally do it perfectly on the first try, right?) I wanted to go in there and help make it right. I’m not going to lie, I motioned to her a few times to calm the fuck down while she got impatient waiting in line for the trampoline and balance beam. It’s probably helpful for me that we’re not in the room with them while they practice. Anti-anxiety meds don’t hurt either.
I don’t have any real big epiphany here. I just know that I have to keep the crazy momster in check while Rachael learns and becomes who she’s supposed to be. Also, she looks really cute in a leotard.
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Guilt

Guilt. Parents are plagued by it. Judging by my own experience, the parents with chronic illness doubly so. Most days I feel like I am crashing and burning as a mom, a wife, and a person at least once. For instance, today I used what energy I have to pee rather than stick potatoes in the oven.

I’m still adjusting to life with fibromyalgia. The best way I can describe it is like having a terrible accident. You’re fortunate enough to still have the ability to walk, but you’ll have to learn how again, and you’ll never walk the same way again. It’s so unbelievably frustrating to feel like I should be able to do something simple like play with my girls, but have to push them away because it hurts or I just don’t have the energy. And the guilt. Oh the guilt of having to say, That hurts mommy. I need you to stop. or I’m sorry I can’t read to you right now because I can barely keep my eyes open. (Try falling asleep while reading to your child some time. It’s awesome.) I think the hardest part of adjusting is sometimes I just feel like I’m being lazy. I think about how other moms suck it up and muddle through, so why can’t I? I worry that the amount of fatigue I’m feeling is just normal parent tiredness, that everyone else feels this way and that I’m just a giant pussy.

I feel horribly guilty about the impact this has on Mike. He didn’t sign up for this. We’ve pretty much been dealing with this for 6 1/2 of our 7 years of marriage. Seriously, on the day of his birthday he was watching the memorial service for the massacre at Tech on the tv in the lobby of the hospital while I was getting an MRI because the doctors thought I might have MS. While I feel like I pull my weight, I feel guilty because I feel like he’s been cheated out of an equal partner. I know it’s not my fault and that I didn’t do anything wrong, but it doesn’t always keep the guilt at bay. Honestly, I feel guilty for sitting in my bed and writing this now because he’s downstairs taking care of dinner because I couldn’t. I feel guilty for the toll it takes on him because he has to be strong when I can’t, which happens often. I feel guilty when I have to call him to come home from work because I don’t want him to get in trouble.

I’m so much more exhausted since Rachael started school since I have to get my ass up a couple hours earlier than what I’m used to. With the exhaustion comes a lack of patience. My goal for this week is not to lose my voice along with my patience. The problem is, when you’re this fatigued, every bullshit thing your child does feels like a major offense. Sometimes I can hold it together and speak to them in what Mike calls my NPR voice. Other times, I blitzkrieg the sassy “no” I have just heard from my child. And the thing that sucks is, whether my children understand that mommy’s losing her shit because she’s at the end of her rapidly fraying rope, (and they don’t. They just know mommy’s crazy and yelling at me) it’s not acceptable. I guess for now I’ll try to remain calm and look on the bright side: I’m no longer afraid to take them for a walk around the block…..you know…when I have the energy to do so.

I feel guilty for not exercising. I should exercise. It will help. But most days I just can’t. It was the worst when my body was still normal, (assuming there ever was a normal. I’m assuming I’ve had this for years and years and that’s why I totally and legitimately hate things like running and any general frolicking that includes too much physical activity and sweating. After doing all the things I need to do just to keep this house from looking and smelling like an episode of Hoarders, (I totally won’t be surprised if a cat skeleton turns up one day, and we don’t even have cats) the last thing I feel like doing is Walking Away the Pounds or doing strength training set to inspirational Christian music that still manages to sound like a poor imitation of 90’s secular music.

I wrote this because I felt the need to, not because I’m going fishing, so please no comments about But Julie, you’re the best mother of ever! because I’m not. I just needed to talk about it. And sorry for the rambliness. I’m terribly foggy right now.