Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I can't do this!

Today I am reminding myself of a piece of my own advice:

When you are thinking (screaming), "I CAN'T DO THIS!" - do whatever it takes to turn that into, "WHY can't I do this?"

You guys don't think I blog this crap for YOU, do you? Nope. It's for me. I ignore my own videos. I pretend to forget my own advice. Therapeutic parenting does get easier and more natural the more you do it, but then the good days put you into a new normal. And you forget. And you get lackadaisical (10 points for a big word!). And you get complacent. And your child hits a day of regression ... or one of your neuro-typical children has a perfectly predictable day of grieving their adoption and


You engage in the battle.

You don't forget to be therapeutic. You REFUSE to be therapeutic. You make it all about them. You. are. pissed.

So, here is how it looks for me:

1. Get mad. Get really, really, really, really mad.

2. Speak to my child through clenched teeth and actually brag on myself openly that I don't yell at or hit my kids. Look how great I am (shaming the holy hey-diddle out of them).

3. Remove myself from the situation if at all possible (being very NON therapeutic and bragging out loud that I am being strong and removing myself from this very intense situation that is not my fault at all - blame, blame, blame, blame, shame, shame, shame, shame).

4. Chill out for a few minutes. Think of all the things one of my trauma-parenting mentors would tell me to do and quickly pretend I have never even heard of any of their names - ever.

5. Do other things, and find that I am calming down. Feel my heart rate slowing.

6. Check email and see a message from a struggling mom. Start to give her advice.

7. Realize I ignore my own advice sometimes.

8. Cuss.

9. Cuss.

10. Know what I need to do. Know my part. Know that I CAN do this, I just don't WANT to do this.

11. Cuss.

12. Finally ask myself, "WHY can't I do this right now?" Admit to myself briefly that I want to punish my child. Admit that my anger is a cover up for a different feeling. Admit that I feel powerless and out of control. Admit that I am embarrassed and worried about how my child's behavior reflects on me.

13. Cuss.

14. Cuss.

15. Bite the bullet and go to my child. Tell them that I know why they did what they did. Talk briefly about making a repair. Talk briefly about other ways to communicate (besides giving my friends' daughter bangs with craft scissors!).

16. Put on my big girl panties and hug my child. Still wallow a bit in the anger that is covering up what is really going on inside of me.

17. Feel more anger that I hugged my child and she appears to feel love and relief. Still feel the huge desire to punish - a lot - for a really long time.

18. Go back to my room and deal with me. Seek out those people in my life who will encourage me to move toward my child and not away from her (while still giving me PLENTY of compassion and lots of emails that say, "This sucks!")

There ya' go. Christine's alternate approach. Her "18 Steps on the Days You Suck Eggs With The Therapeutic Parenting." It's slower. It's not ideal. But it did finally get the job done.

Trust me - I get it. Sometimes the days that throw us over the edge are not even due to the worst behaviors. It's just that perfect storm, plus the straw that broke the camel's back. But the key is: when you blow it, when you hate it, when you are absolutely sure you can't do it one more day ... you find your way back. If you can do it in less than 18 steps, you are kicking my tail!


GB's Mom said...

I know. So tired.

Diana said...

Ok, so all I could do when I read this post was laugh and laugh hard and loud! I've so been there and so done that so stinking many times that laughter is all that is left. It's more fun than tears, too. :-)

And nope, I can't do it in fewer than 18 steps. It takes me all of them that you mentioned plus a few more, at least one of which includes some sort of 2 year old temper tantrum on my part.

This stuff sucks BUCKETS! (((hugs!!)))

Lisa said...

It must be contagious through the tubes. Dang it.

Yesterday J did work on her bio sister in therapy. Today has suuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkkeeeeeeeddddd.

Yes, I know what it's about. Did it help me any. Nope. Not for the 1st 4 hours anyway. I just want to sit on my whiney pot and poop a whiney fit. Have I mentioned that today has sucked?

I totally acted like I had never heard of a frickin fracking Christine either.

If I were keeping score I'd say you're about 10 steps ahead of me.
Guess this means I have to go put my therapeutic panties back on. Right side in instead of inside out this time.

Heidi said...

I am so there! Printing this out.

:)De said...

Were you spying on us last night?!?!? How did you know I was clenching my teeth as I told her that "I am talking in a clear voice without yelling or threatening?"

My big girl panties are strangling me right now...too tight... don't wanna wear them...whine whine whine!

Dia por Dia said...

I pretend you and Lisa don't exist and move my computer to another room so I can't find you even if I remember who y'all are. It's very liberating (for about 2 minutes.) I once went online to look up new swear words when I exhausted the ones I knew in English, Italian, Portuguese, AND Spanish before I was ready to work my way back to where I needed to be... sort of.

The Lundys said...

ha! now, sadly for you sorry, i needed that laugh! grateful for honest posts like this!!!

Jolene said...

That was me today....I just wanted to punish...totally just punish him because somehow its suppose to help the situation...slink away feeling a huge amount of guilt that I blew it again...RADiant one and I both blew it again.

Start back at step A and do it right this time from the beginning...

Sarah said...

Been there. Done that. Praying to someday make it happen in only 18 steps...

Brenda said...

: )

Brendazzle* said...

I needed to hear this for how to handle *myself* today.
I'm 22 years old and my first reaction today was still to decide that I can't do this [in my case, art class] and to throw a temper tantrum because at the moment, I was convinced that I [There is no way I can be the only person forced to sit in front of the class and have everyone criticize my work while my peers' work is not open to even constructive criticism.] But seeing this has helped a lot. I guess what helps the most is being given permission to get mad and work it all out of my system before I have to start rebuilding my plan of attack. I know exactly what I needed to do to handle myself and I can parrot back the advice that everyone gives in this situation; I just could not take my own advice. It's almost like I had to parent myself today. Now that I'm asking myself WHY I can't do this, I can [hopefully] get past this.

I didn't mean to write an essay. You can delete it if you want. Really, I just wanted to thank you for providing a framework for working through the way I feel that doesn't automatically tell me to suck it up.

Shannon- said...

Thank you for posting this. Every once and a while its nice to know... know know know- that i'm not the only one who screws it up and bites it from time to time.

Andy and Kiara said...

Ha! How did you know about our day yesterday? I held it together through a crazy unregulated day. All day long. Until 3:30pm. Then I lost it....big time. Ugh. The only redeeming value there is my kids saw me screw up big time, lose it big time, BEG God for help and a new beginning, and then I got to practice making it right with them. I was not the only one shedding a few tears over my own crappy behavior and the way I undid most of a day of working SO HARD to respond in the right way. Thankfully my sweetie (and therefore her Mama) is having a much better day today! Thanks for keeping things real.

Mary said...

de-lurking to say a great big huge "thank you" for this post, christine. Not 30 minutes ago I put the 7yo to bed, full of righteous anger and wanting her to know how I felt. Came downstairs, read this blog and CRAP. My ginormous screw up hit me right between the eyes. T put on my big girl panties and made things right with my little one. Thanks from the bottom of my heart. Tomorrow is another day, let's hope I handle it better.

Hannah_Rae said...

Whoohoo! Yup. Amen. Hallelujah!

The end.



J. said...

that was our december, I hear you! Holy do I hear you. Hang in there, how many days till Orlando?

the wrath of khandrea said...

step 14 is my favorite. i like to stop there, i enjoy it so much.

brenkachicka said...

That's me way way more often than not lately.

Kerrie said...

I've been acting like I've never heard of a Lisa OR a Christine. On purpose. Thank goodness you're both writing now.

Mama Drama Times Two said...

18 steps or 100 steps - happy you are there to remind us to keep movin' forward when quittin' feels so much easier.

coffeemom said...

My steps are at 872 and still counting and doubling back on themselves. Sigh. Thanks for this and reminding me that I'm not alone in feeling this way or trudging along...... gosh those steps are tiring....bless you for what you do for us moms (and the kids too...)

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Yeah, this pretty much looks like my method too.

Jen said...

so I'm not the only one! woo hoo!

and, can anyone explain to me why I now really want to cuss (when I NEVER did before?)? Something about adopting 9 children from hard places will do that to a person!

Simply Moms said...

Love this post, Christine.