I have been in such a hard place lately in my relationship with Little C. I don't know if it is a 4 1/2 year-old thing or that my hours at work have increased significantly, but she and I are having a hard time getting along a LOT of the time, and I hate it.
My whole life I wanted to be a mom. For 12 years, before having my own child, I took care of other people's children, and imagined what I would and wouldn't do as a parent myself. I adored Little C's babyhood, but I also looked eagerly forward to the age when she would be old enough to go for walks in the woods with me, and sing songs in the car, and curl up reading Little House In the Big Woods together. So now we're here, and I'm miserable. Or at least grouchy a lot of the time. I am particularly struggling with discipline, and what to do when I really do need her to comply with one of my requests in a timely manner. Is that too much to ask of a 4 1/2 year-old?
Papa D and I talked ad nauseum, before and after Little C's birth, about how we wanted to create, not a child-centered OR parent-centered family, but a FAMILY-centered one--where we live together in a dynamic community and the needs and desires of all of us are taken into account. We specifically and deliberately have tried to cultivate a relationship with our daughter that is not rooted in demanding absolute, instantaneous compliance, but that is flexible and mutually respectful. We wanted our relationship as a family to be based on trust and positivity, and not on fear or expecting the worst of one another.
And now I feel like all this good philosophy is coming back to bite us. We spend a lot of time and energy being flexible and accomodating her needs and desires, but when we don't, she throws an absolute fit. It hasn't always been this way. When she was an infant and toddler, the adjective I would have used to describe her most frequently is "flexible." For her entire life, our work and home life have intersected, first at a boarding school, now on our farm, so she has always had to go with the flow to an extent. She's never been one to be "over-indulged" (whatever that is, anyway) or have each and every whim met instantly, though of course I've tried really hard to be a responsive mother, and I have been.
I think that's the kicker, actually. I was crying to Papa D yesterday, after a particularly gruesome fight (sometimes it feels like she's 14, not 4) and confessing that one thing I really resent is that I worked so damn hard all those early ears, getting up at all hours of the night to care for her, nursing till age 3, never letting her cry alone, cloth diapering, protecting her from myriad potential toxins and chemicals (at least the ones I knew about). I loved it, and it was what I needed to do at the time for my own sanity, but it was EXHAUSTING! And now she's a "big girl" of 4 1/2, and I feel like she should be able to give a little too, or at least to understand when I say, "Mama's really tired today, and I need you to be a really good listener."
I know I'm being unreasonable right now, but I'm tired. I don't usually use this space as a venting platform, but I hope you will forgive me, and accept my frustration and self-pity right now. What I'd really love is to hear some stories. I know I'm not alone in this, but I feel like SUCH a bad mom right now. Is anyone out there? How did you survive?