A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

I Have It Easy: Attachment Parenting for the Weak

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder's husband and son, I have a supportive husband. I have a healthy son. I am healthy and happy myself. My husband works from home 2 days a week and has weekends off. He helps a lot by taking Jack downstairs while I cook or get dressed. He is always around to play and cook and clean and just be with us. And in the evenings he takes Jack while I take a relaxing hot bath.

So why do I still feel like I am going to flip the fuck out?!

This parenting thing is ridiculous sometimes. I mean why is something that is so natural, something that has been going on since the beginning of humans, something so vital to the survival of the human race SO. FUCKING. HARD?!

The other night was awful. I was so frustrated by the whining and crying. By the everything-going-wrong. By the constantly-awake-baby. Jack woke up every hour. I had not slept for one minute. I got up with him around 2am in a rage. He no longer wanted to nurse, to be in the bed at all. I was so pissed off. I stomped down the hallway with him in my arms. Sat in the rocking chair and rocked angrily. He just sat there. His head on my chest. Confused by my emotions. He eventually fell asleep in my arms and we went back to bed.

I lied awake in bed hoping it was finally over and he would sleep for some extended period of time. ANY period of time at all. I was not at all convinced that he wasn’t going to get up again so I was far from succumbing to relaxed and cozy sleep at that point. And as if on cue from the devil himself the cat starts clawing at the door. I grew even tenser. My heart raced. My muscles clenched in anger. I had violent thoughts of opening the door and kicking the cat through the front door leaving a cat-shaped hole where I could watch him land on his head on the other side of the street. The thoughts raced in my mind in written form as they often do when I imagine writing to all the other mothers who are lying awake in their beds after finally getting their family to sleep wondering if they will ever sleep again and if they made a huge mistake by having a baby and if they have it in them to do this all over again tomorrow.

I have temper tantrums that would put any 4-year-old to shame. I throw huge pity parties and I’m the guest of honor. I want to punch walls and cry and scream and push Jack away and run out the door and never look back. If you ask in the middle of these nights if I am happy I would say with confidence “no, I am not happy. Motherhood is not for me. I can’t do this. I am not cut out for it. I need to get a job and a babysitter. That would be best for everyone.” I know I need to suck it up. I know I need to be kinder to myself so that I can be gentler with Jack, but in the moment it is so hard. I am a social worker, a therapist. I have been in therapy myself and provided therapy for hundreds of people. I have an intimate understanding of how thoughts and feelings work. And still I am just a Mom struggling with this parenting thing at every moment. I forget everything I know. I forget everything I promised myself I wouldn’t do anymore. Motherhood is the great equalizer. When the going gets rough we are all in that place together.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder's son. The nasty thoughts grow bigger in my mind. I snap at Jack. I shout at Jack. Sometimes I say and do nothing at all. Sometimes I go completely numb for fear that I will start yelling and never stop. I have worse thoughts. The kind that do nothing for a mother but bring on the deepest and most intense feelings of guilt. Then I look at Jack. The one who is actually suffering, confused, tired and needing love. I cry. He looks at me with tired eyes and lays his head on my chest. He always does fall asleep. In the end he always does fall asleep and so do I.

The next morning we woke up. The middle of the night is a foggy memory now. He takes his pants off and puts them in a bowl. He pours his pants from one bowl to the next. All of the anger and frustration from the night before seem so trivial and insignificant now. I laugh with him while he pours his pants and I make eggs.

 

Abby Theuring, MSW

Comments

  1. I love this for it’s honesty. Being a good parent is hard work. It is easier to throw in the towel and let someone else do it. I think our children should work our nerves. Every day won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

  2. Athena Malec says

    I am so happy I am not alone in the sleepless frustrations of parenting. You help empower mommas everywhere.

  3. Been there, big hugs to you. <3

  4. As awful as it sounds I love to hear that other mommies go through this. I could have written these exact words just 2 days ago. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I want to thank you, Abby, for being a real, down to earth, no-bullshit woman and mother. Even though we have so much technology and resources at our fingertips and can be in contact with so many people through blogs and social media, it can still be so easy to feel alone in this parenting journey. Many of the blogs and random posts I have come across make me think I suck as a mother and a person because I am not posting pictures, updates, and blog entries of my perfect child who sleeps through the night plus naps multiple hours during the day which gives me time to make a variety of crafts all while keeping multiple social engagements while wearing regular clothes and having well groomed hair…after I teach my child new words/phrases in multiples languages. But then I read your blog. You admitted flat out that you lose your shit. Your kid throws tantrums and doesn’t sleep as well as you’d like and you openly share that. You wear “lame 80s head bands”. Thank you. I feel like I am more normal now. And reading your blog has helped me organize my thoughts a bit more and has inspired me to get into writing as a therapeutic outlet (so hopefully I take my frustrations out on my husband less!). I used to write short stories and little books all the time when I was young but stopped doing it as I grew up and other things took up my time. Even though I am so busy as a mother and working part time outside the home, I will find the time to do this. You are an inspiration to all of us badass mamas, and I look forward to continuing to read your entries.

  6. Wow, love your honesty! Thank you for sharing and how relieving to know that I am not the only parent who feels like this at times. I start feeling so guilty and as the most horrible mum on earth and even think sometimes that my son be so much better off without a mum like me who gets temper tantrums like this at times. There are so much pressure at times where we want to do the right thing and react in an ideal patient, calm, peaceful and conscious way – and i feel like a total failure as a mother when i lack the emotional-regulation to do so at times where i am at breaking point. It is so nice to hear from another mother that this is normal…thank you very much. Plus I am a therapist too…so it makes the whole thing even worse because I know about child development and expect of me to be more patient and attached during conflicts and go on with a huge guilt within myself if i haven’t reacted that way during bad moments.

  7. Oh yes! I have had a few temper tantrums myself – nearly all were due to lack of sleep. There have been many days when I have looked at my childless friends and thought “Why wasn’t I as smart as they were?” I get jealous when they take awesome vacations and have date nights that don’t require an act of congress to pull off. I get tired, and angry, and mad, and frustrated.

    But then, I also get kisses and hugs and little people that will rub my back and gently brush my hair out of my face when I cry. I get hands that hold mine and tell me it will be Ok. I have nights where my three year old will miraculously sleep the entire night in his own bed, and I miss him cuddling with me.

    Motherhood is work. It’s raw, messy, heartbreaking, and exhausting. It is also uplifting, life-affirming, soul changing, and joyous.

    I LOVE the honesty you bring to your page. Thanks so much for being such a badass!!!

  8. It’s wonderful to read you write this and know my moments of frustration are normal, or at least there is someone else out there who feels this way at times. I love my son whole heartedly, but this mother thing isn’t easy sometimes! Thank you again, for making me feel like I’m not a horrible person, that I’m human.

  9. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

  10. It’s eerie to me how I could have written this post.

  11. Julia Robinson says

    Thankyou. Just thankyou. For saying what Im always too afraid to say. Its like you have taken these words right out of my head.

  12. I love this! I am so glad you captured it this way – honest and raw and true. It is Kali, the dark mother Goddess peeking out from the shadows to say hello, hell, to take center stage. Just for a little while, in the middle of the night, and then the earth mother goddess is back with the dawn. I love the pouring pants in a bowl part – made me laugh out loud. Hang in there – one day it will be easier, and you’ll have an 11-year-old running around like a Ninja instead of a toddler pouring breakfast pants! And you’ll wonder where all that time went. And you won’t remember those lost nights of sleep at all.

  13. I laughed hysterically at the cat kicking part. I feel your pain, anger, frustration, fatigue, exhaustion and I can truly say you are not alone. I had my first baby when I was merely 22, I found myself a single mom, alone, scared, angry, frustrated at motherhood, frustrated at single motherhood. I tried my best to be the best mother I could be, I loved that baby girl more than anything in the universe and it was my duty to give her the best beginning.

    Now fast forward my life 9 years I am happily married, with baby #2, thinking “I got this” HA! Was I wrong, I had forgotten what it was like to have a baby. I found myself scouring the Internet for answers, for solutions, for anything to tell me that everything was going to be okay, that this is all normal.

    I think that motherhood, is a delicate art form, some of it comes natural but a lot of it is learned and perfected over time. We’re not perfect and we can’t beat ourselves up for having feelings and emotions towards motherhood that we would rather not speak of. At the end of the day our babies will only be babies for a blink of an eye, I know this from personal experience, and before you or I or anyone else realizes it our babies will no longer need us.

    We all lose our shit from time to time….

  14. Ann Webster says

    The cat part is so relatable for me. Every time I have E finally asleep, the fucking cat is meowing his full head off right in the door way. When I shut the door, he’ll even meow louder.

    • Are all cats like this? I leave the door open and he thinks 2-8am (or whenever I feed him to shut him up) is the perfect time to meow and knead my back.

  15. elle fitzgerald says

    Reading me this brings me such relief. You as a mother figure are an inspiration to me and to know that someone I look up to goes through this also reminds me that I’m not alone and that its ok

  16. I was feeling like the worst mother. Moms aren’t suppose to feel like I told myself. I was sure the state was going to break down my door any minute and take my son. I grew up in fc and I’m sscared my son is going to. But then tonight I was nurseing my .little guy praying he would back to sleep fuming mad at dad for falling asleep on the couch and I find this. And I think maybe I’m not as bad as my mom.

  17. Ali Tumbusch says

    As I read your post, I am trying very hard to keep myself from sobbing. I do the exact same things. I lose my fucking shit. And then I hate myself. Knowing that I scare my child and put him around those intense emotions, makes me feel like I’m the worst mother in the world. Even though nothing in the world could ever make me feel like what I have just done was okay, thinking about all the wonderful things I have learned from mothers like yourself (you personally have given me so many useful tools and thought processes) and applied in my son’s life makes me feel like I must be on somewhat of a good track. It feels good to know that I am not the only one. Thank you for sharing this.

  18. Thank you so much for posting this!! I love it & I’ve been there… a lot! I feel like if you’re a baby-wearing, breastfeeding, attachment parenting type of mom people think that means you’re calm & relaxed all the time. Maybe some are, but that has not been true for me. It seems like the nights are the worst.. you’re tired and alone (even if your husband/partner/etc is there you still feel alone) and it feels like you’ll never survive. Then the sun comes up and things aren’t perfect, but you magically forget how horrible they were. Thanks for your honesty… it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    The new site looks great!

  19. I needed to read this. I am a new stay at home mom and I feel like I suck at keeping the house clean and being patient. I have this negative inner monologue that Im trying to stop. Keep writing!

  20. I’d forgotten that those crazy moments when you feel like you could throw something across the room are temper tantrums…and I’m going to try my hardest to remember that how I feel when that happens to me (due to lack of sleep or momentary support) is how my daughter feels in a couple years when it happens to her. Thanks for that reminder Abby! It is truly a blessing to have “heard” your experiences and know that I’m not alone in having moments like that. 🙂

  21. SO GOING THROUGH THIS RIGHT. THIS. MINUTE. !!! Thank you for sharing what is on my brain.

  22. Thank you!! I really felt like I was the only one dealing with this. It is one of those taboo things that you just don’t say or admit to the thoughts that run through my mind sometimes. I love my son to a heartbreaking degree. He is my whole world and heart, so I am horrified with myself sometimes for my silent thoughts. Thank you for letting me know I’m normal, and that I am a good mother despite my struggle with frustration. As I watched my son flip over a bowl of eggs just now, all I could do was laugh.

  23. Jessica Powell says

    I love your honesty! Sleep deprevation sure can make rough moments in motherhood. I can relate…for the last 11 years. 7 kids later and dealing with babies/toddlers who can’t sleep doesn’t get much easier, but like you said- the next morning when you look at your precious child you forget for a moment at how you were ready to run away the night before. I nurse on demand, co-sleep with a baby and a toddler and just got through cold and flu season. Did I mention my children have night terrors where they walk around the house confused and crying and there is nothing I can do to wake them or sooth them? Oh, and don’t forget my giant English mastiff who needs to be under my feet 24/7!!! I’m far from perfect but still a great mommy and it’s very refreshing to see a blog where awesome mamas like you can be so bold and honest with other mamas looking for support and reassurance that it will all be ok. =)

  24. bookmarking this, so that i can find it again whenever I’m feeling like i am the one human being who shouldn’t be reproducing,like three times a day. thank you.

  25. Amber Kelley says

    Oh yes, I loose it too. Mine are usually brought on by PMS. At which point, I look at my other half and flat out tell him it’s his turn. Thankfully, he never complains or runs! Thank you for your honesty.

  26. You are very brave to post this! I can honestly say that in my sons infancy and early toddlerhood I had many moments exactly like this. Sleep deprived, depressed, frustrated and fearful. For a long time i looked at this as a great failure. I looked at myself as not able to cope, weak. Why couldn’t i manage my son without falling apart? Why wouldn’t he sleep or stop crying? Why wasn’t my experience like everyone else’s? Why was it so hard! Turns out my son wasn’t like everyone elses. At three he was diagnose with a sensory processing disorder as well as some other motor planning and regulator issues. I was told by our developmental pediatrician that if I hadn’t done what i did in the way i did it (AP) my son would be much worse off. I cried with relief but also because it turned out i was not weak or stupid or a failure. The exact opposite. I was intuitive, strong and well human! So are you. It all has its purpose. You’ll see..

  27. I’ve taken to telling my friend (who’s a mom to a child the same age as mine) that fantasizing about slapping your child isn’t a crime. You’re just reacting to all the button pushing, the fatigue, the not-listening that is happening right now. Now, doing it is another matter.

    Still, I wish that I could keep my cool more often. That I could empathize with him and not rush him through the morning routine to go to daycare (and me to work) or because his dad, a very impatient man, is waiting for us to get ready.

  28. Michelle says

    I love and appreciate you! You say the words I feel and think some days. I am so glad I found someone like you that has such an amazingly strong voice. Thank you.

  29. Brenda Holland-Robinson says

    How beautiful. And oh, so very true. Bless you, Abbey.

  30. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I could’ve wrote that myself. And I needed that today. With 8 kids and a husband (so 9 kids) and a cat that’s not even mine but I have to take care of (my sisters cat I brought home for her when we were teenagers that she couldn’t take with her when she moved across country so I offered to take her….I hate cats….or any animal right now because I have EIGHT KIDS AND A HUSBAND TO FEED AND CLEAN UP AFTER, I don’t need some more poop to take care of!!!!) those “bad mommy/wife” thoughts seem to be on replay…, until I pray and chill the eff out to prepare for the next freak out sesh.

    WE’RE NOT ALONE IN THIS!! Amen.

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