Wednesday, February 03, 2010

In Which I Fight With Blogger, Grind My Teeth to Nubs, and Run a Lot

Where have I been, you ask? I have been trying and trying all week to post photos of the girls' valentines boxes that we made on Sunday. Blogger refuses to allow me to publish photos all of a sudden. I wanted to put up a Happy February post with these cheery pictures of heart-filled, pink-and-red, love-ly craft projects, cardboard containers ready to receive little school notes and candy. (Actually, Julia's kindergarten does not allow candy, only the valentine cards. Genevieve's nursery school, however, allows candy. Go figure.) But it is not to be. I hope Blogger rights itself soon, because what is a blog without a photo now and then?

I have been beset by parenting stress. I know people always say, "Little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems." And I'm sure to a large degree they are right. No one here is experimenting with drugs or discovering porn on the Internet or skipping school. (Sorry, I used to be a therapist working with teens and their families; these are the things I think about when I think about having teenagers.)

But little kids can bring big problems too. They're just a different sort of big problem. In some ways, the problems that can arise with small children are almost worse, because you have no knowledge of the future yet; you haven't the slightest idea if, in years to come, your child will turn out largely OK despite her problems, or not. (Not all do; I know that from being a therapist for teens and their families too.) You can't see if the problems of now are minor phases, or signs of what is just beginning and what is to come, clues that you'll look back on in ten or fifteen years and say, "She's been like this forever. I remember when she was small and she used to...."

The stress of difficult parenting situations causes me to clench my teeth with the force of a vise, lose my hair, and lie awake for hours at night. Parenting is tough. Parenting with no family nearby and no one who can relate to your particular parenting problems is killer. Parenting on a tight budget and with no vacations can grind you down to a nub.

The only thing that really keeps the stress and worry at bay (relatively speaking) is a good long run. It takes me a good five miles to come home feeling sane. If I could run a solid hour every day, I think I'd probably be able to sleep every night. Too bad my aging hips and knees are not on board with this strategy. (I'm turning THIRTY-NINE in five days, people! And that is alarmingly close to FORTY.)

What about you? What keeps you sane? And have you been making valentine boxes, too?


Mom and Kiddo said...

Unfortunately, right now, nothing his keeping me sane. OK, maybe the cookies.

Mnmom said...

All kids = problems. They just come in different shapes, sizes, and packages. Yours will more than likely be just fine, but they'll wear you slap out in the meantime. And you can always talk to me - I've been where you are with high maintenance girls.

Maybe we could work out a barter of some kind. L is DYING to be your mother's helper. Maybe this summer at times while I work, she can hang at your house but she'd function as the girls playmate while there. Win-win!

I don't think anyone can be fully prepared for the rigors of parenting.

Shan said...

Mnmom, you tell L. I am FULLY PLANNING on hiring her as my mother's helper this summer! Seriously!

Donna said...

"You can't see if the problems of now are minor phases, or signs of what is just beginning and what is to come, clues that you'll look back on in ten or fifteen years"

SO true. I am so worried about parenting my daughter when she is a teen. She's going to be hell on wheels.

I also agree with MNMom... we can never be fully prepared, but sometimes just knowing that is half the battle, because it keeps you on your toes.

And the summer barter for a mother's helper/playmate? Whoo hoo! MNMom and her family sound amazing.

Aylin-Melissa said...

I started to read the "Happiness Project " by Gretchen Rubin .... and HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Shan said...

Hey Aylin-Melissa---I've heard that book is interesting, and that her "experiment" is rather entertaining! Is it keeping you sane, then?! :)