Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blogging in the time of babies

I read somewhere recently that parents shouldn't be allowed to divorce if they have kids under 5. It was a funny article, the author meant to be half-kidding, but I did see his point when he said that parents of young children are under extreme stress, with joyous emotional highs and crushing emotional lows. There's the sleepless nights, the constant vigilance, the no-sex life, the everyday struggles of figuring out what your non-verbal/not-so-verbal kids need, the pressure to provide and make ends meet, so on and so forth. He joked that anyone going through what parents of young children go through will complain that this is torture. It's easy to lose sight of your marriage, of anything actually, and so to make life-changing decisions during this time—whether it's leaving your spouse and kids to buying a house—should be deferred to when you can think clearly.

You know, I don't think I've heard myself think in the last few months, which makes blogging difficult. In fact, if it weren't for my blog sponsors, I think I'd have given up mom blogging. Some of my readers say they miss my brutally honest posts and some complain that my blog has been taken over by sponsors, but really there would be no Topaz Mommy anymore if I hadn't been forced to write creating content for my partners. I still put myself in my sponsored posts so believe me, I'm still honest. But I have consciously pulled back, hidden away. Mostly because I'm overwhelmed and I feel like if I blogged about what I'm going through, you'll start to think I'm unhappy! So I had to be careful!

Well, I'm poking my head out of my self-imposed "brutally honest blogging" exile today.

My silly boys 

I'm really having a hard time lately, moms. I think all I do is yell all day at my two older sons. They're constantly fighting, whining, bickering. And I'm constantly trying to mediate and reconcile. Our entire day is eaten up by this. It's driving us crazy! The yelling happens because when Vito and Iñigo are in the thick of killing each other, no sweet words or soothing tones or hugs and kisses can distract them. It's only shouting on top of their shouting that we get their attention. Am I proud of this? Am I okay with this solution? No and no. I've never hurt the boys. Not even to spank them. They may upset me but I don't think they'll upset me enough to actually make me physically hurt them (I hope!). I read once that a loving spanking is actually better than angry yelling. I've also read all the articles on the harm yelling does to kids. Well, ya know, I think I'll write an article about the harm yelling does to the parents, too. We feel upset and furious and emotionally drained, and then the guilt, oh the guilt! It crushes us. It robs us of the joy of being parents!

I don't want to blog about this. I don't want to put on the Internet what is (possibly, hopefully) just a temporary phase. And yet I feel like just blogging about how wonderful my kids are (and they truly are) is ignoring my reality. And my reality is this: I am tired. I am upset. I am guilty. I am afraid.

Naughty Iñigo! Poor Piero! Happy Vito! 

Of course, not all our days are so ugly. The boys can be best buddies, too. They are so smart and funny. They make us laugh. They make each other laugh. They dote on each other, they are affectionate to us. They are as heavenly as they are hellish! They can be a challenge, yes, but they are also absolutely our entire world! We may be struggling every single day to be better parents, to just even be good parents, but we love being parents to these amazing little boys.

I guess part of me wants to just put the joys of motherhood out of there and none of the pains of it. Not because I'm crafting an image for the world but because I want my kids to believe I've got it all together, you know? Like, when they're older and they can read and maybe understand, they'll see this blog and be amazed at me. "Wow," they'll marvel. "Mama was really hands-on with us. She never got upset with us even though we were so naughty. She was so loving and patient. She was so gentle and kind. She was so generous with her time. She devoted herself wholly to us. She is the best mother in the world!"

Sadly, I'm not. I don't think anyone can be the best mother in the world, but I want to be that best mother in the world for my kids. I'm so blessed to be given these beautiful and amazing little creatures and all I do is be upset with them.

My big-hearted boy, Vito.

Tonight, my babies are sleeping around me, their little bodies quiet save for the occasional snore and talking in their sleep. I kissed and kissed their soft and chubby cheeks, whispering my apologies for another day of failures.

They always forgive me, you know. Sometimes I wish they wouldn't, that they'll punish me for being short with them. But they always hug and kiss me and say they're happy and that they love me. I know they still see the love that I really do have for them, despite all this stress of parenting. They never seem to take me seriously when I'm angry, you see. In fact, Vito acts like I'm the child having a tantrum! He's the one that breaks my heart with his kindness and magnanimity of tenderness and understanding. Iñigo, the naughty one, will not apologize for hitting his brother/stealing Vito's toys/etc, but he'll make things right by making cute faces and saying, "Mama, be happy. I'm happy!"
My fun-loving Iñigo.

And that's why it's so hard to blog now because I am happy. I am grateful. Under all the extreme stress of parenting young boys is the solid foundation of happiness. The stress may drive me crazy but the love and joy is what keeps us sane and going. So I want to blog with honesty but I also want my kids to know that when they were babies, their mama was just amazing. Full stop. No tears, no frustrations, no uncertainties, no fears, no anger, no guilt. Just a mommy who enjoyed every second of being their mother. I want that out there—that I'm happy, blessed, grateful, overjoyed. But that's what's underneath, for now. What's actually seen is something close to misery!

Well, I can't have my cake and eat it, too, right? I promised I'll always be real on this blog. I guess this means I'll also have to be just as honest to my kids. And maybe by being honest to everyone, my kids will see that some of the best things in life can actually be difficult, maybe even painful, but it's always so worth it.

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  1. Frances, thank you very much for this. I've always wanted to blog but I just can't find the time to write down and publish my thoughts. You were spot on with what I am currently feeling right now: "it is difficult, sometimes even painful but always worth it". I've read so many books on yelling, but I am looking forward to what you will write about the lasting damaging effects of yelling on parents LOL Every night and early in the morning when the kids are sleeping, I, too, whisper my apologies for the previous day and pray fervently that God will give me the grace to be better today. When people say "You're so selfless for choosing to be at home to take care of your kids all day" I silently want to die and think "you don't know what you are talking about" I don't know what to say without sounding like I'm humblebragging but it is emotionally taxing, mentally gruelling and physically exhausting to take care of kids but I wouldn't trade it for anything else too.

    1. Yes, it's embarrassing to complain because we really are the lucky ones. It's just so hard to see it that way when we're so exhausted! Hugs hugs hugs!

  2. Sigh, I feel you Frances. There are just days when I cry because I too feel overwhelmed, frustrated and most of all, guilty of having a short temper or yelling. But it really happens and Lyndel too is very forgiving and loves me to bits which makes me guilty all over again. This is the beauty of the Mommy community because aside from sharing our happiness, we also get to share our fears with each other. Praying for you and for all of us Mommies :) may our kids always remember how much we love and adore them :)

    1. Yes, I hope that even when we have all this conflict with our kids, they'll always see that our love is stronger!

  3. I feel the same way when I yell at my daughter. But I only need to hug her, kiss her and tell her I'm sorry Mommy yelled at her and she forgives me. They say mothers love unconditionally but I really think we learn it from our babies. Even though we make mistakes and we get upset with them, they still love us, ready to give us hugs and kisses and forgive our mistakes.

    1. That is beautiful! You're right. I think it's our kids who teach us about unconditional love!

  4. This may be my most favorite post of yours. Thank you for voicing out what I know so many of us feel and can't express. May God continue to bless and guide us as we strive to be the kind of parents our kids need us to be.
    We can do this! :)
    - Menchu P.

    1. I'ma little scared for voicing it out. I don't want people to ever think I'm ungrateful. My kids are my life! They make it a very exhausted life but I can't imagine otherwise! =) Yes, we can do this!

  5. Thank you for this. You started this blog to share wisdom and hopefully affect other people's lives. You have no idea what this post can mean to someone going through the same thing. We're mothers, yes. But that doesn't always mean we're right and perfect all the time. Our lives is not always a Johnson & Johnson commercial where babies sleep peacefully and smile all the time. This is the reality of what motherhood is really like. And I applaud you for posting this.

    1. I am so glad this honesty is resonating with you! Mommyhood is wonderful but it has its crazy moments! Still, we wouldn't have it any other way =)

  6. Wow. My thoughts and feelings exactly! I feel so lost sometimes with this parenting thing. I feel inadequate as a mom, guilty-- yes! It's quite overwhelming, no? Most esp in your case cos you've just given birth (*hugs*)! In my case, raising a teenager in this time and age?! It's really scary, actually! Plus I have two more constantly fighting and bickering toddlers! But you know, no matter how nerve-wracking it gets; we still live to love them. So I just pray, pray and pray and I always try to see the little things-- a smile, kisses, hugs, the peace and quiet when they're all taking their naps! Haha. You are a super momma! You're my idol kaya. :)

  7. Frances, you truly are a great writer, mother... and just a great person! :) I don't know you, but I feel like we could be good friends. :) I only have 1 son, and it could be tiring at times. You have 3! I admire your dedication and hard work! You are a super woman! God bless you and your family! :)

  8. Hi Frances! I love reading your blog and you've been an inspiration. Hope you can check my blog also I think I need so more tips from my idol :) Take Care and God Bless.


This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!