Wednesday, March 3, 2010

thoughts on being a better mom

Lately I have been feeling like kind of a crummy parent. I mean, I make sure my kids are clothed and fed and sheltered and stuff like that, but I don't feel like I have had much to give them emotionally the last few weeks. It just seems like I am so tired all the time, and feeling run down and worn out, that I am just counting the hours until bedtime, and the children are being entertained more and more by the TV or video games. And I feel really bad about this. I never wanted to be the kind of mom who just sat around and let her kids watch tv all day.

I think it is worse with Emma. Annie and I are together all day, and usually erlier in the day I have more energy and we do something fun, like go to Playpals or have a playdate with friends or something. But by the time Emma gets home from school I am so wiped out that I am semi-shut down and just feeling like I need a break. So she kind of gets the short end of the stick as far as quality time with me goes.

I was talking about this with my therapist Kim yesterday and it helped me feel a little better. I was able to see that if I truly were a "bad" mom, I wouldn't even recognise what is going on or be concerned about it. I would think "well my kids have food, clothes, and a place to live, so they are ok". But I know where I am lacking and am making plans to do better.

It is hard when I have a limited amount of physical and emotional energy, and there are priorities, things that NEED to get done, like housework, dinner, ect. But I can make small goals. For example, the sun is shining, and I have a goal to play outside with Annie in the snow today after lunch. We dont even have to go out for a long time, but at least like a half hour or something. And tomorrow i am taking Emma out for a "date" to Perfect Games video arcade/bowling place.

Part of this is staying on top of my ED, too. When I am not eating or taking care of myself, everything gets harder. I have no energy, I am cranky and irritable. Also, I hate the way the Ed pulls me into my own head. I am not able to really be tuned in to my childrn because my mind is filled with thoughts of food and weight and stuff like that. It is like being in the same room with my kids, but being totally seperate. But really, all the ED stuff is just so meaningless! I mean, how will I feel if I look back at the end of my life, and realize that I wasn't there for my kids because I was preoccupied with controlling my weight?!

I really just want want our family to have a quality life, instead of just passing time. Does that make sense? There have been several reminders in my life lately that you never know what the future holds. I cannot protect my kids from things like natural disasters and serious illnesses. So what can I do? I can help make positive memories and happy times with the time that we do have on this earth. There are no guaranties that we will all be here tomorrow. All we have is today. I know i can do better to make every "today" the best it can be.

P.S. can you tell I watched the movie "2012" last night?


lisalisa said...

by the way, "2012" was waaaaaay cheesy and improbably. Chris and I kept yelling "oh, come on! Like that would ever happen!".
But seeing all the innocent people die, and especially the children, really got to me.

Maeve said...

I think your therapist is dead on when she says that you wouldn't be worried about this if you were actually a bad mom.

The next time you feel like you're a bad parent ask yourself this question: would you fault a cancer patient for being too tired to play with her children? If the answer is "no" (which I suspect it is), then don't fault yourself.

You are absolutely right to be fighting for recovery, and your kids will love having their mom healthy, but while you're still sick it is not your fault.

If you're even half as kind in real life as you come across on this blog your kids will love you and be glad they have a mother who care so very much about them.

You are a good person!!

Eating Alone said...

Every body has problems. You are doing good for your kids. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of them. And I still remember just sitting down and watching a favorite cartoon with my mom as one of my best memories.

Tia said...

I could have written this post myself. The guilt I feel at not being a good enough mom eats at me and I try not to think about it. I feel even guiltier when my son comes up to hug me and says, "you're the best mommy". because I know deep down inside that I'm NOT. I could be such a better mom if I didn't have an ED. After work I'm so tired, I barely have energy to play and I (secretly) look forward to after he's asleep so I have down time. IT's tough. tough tough tough. But we care and we notice that we could do better. One day we'll get there. But for now, let's enjoy the time with the kiddies one step at a time :)

Lou Lou said...

it sounds to me like no matter who the parent they are all feeling bad about their parenting skills.
my friends that work, feel bad that they dont see their kids enough, my friends that dont work feel bad that they dont work and try and save for their kids education, my friends on a holiday coldnt stand being on a holiday away from their kids spending money on things like cocktails, it seems like when you give birth to a child you are served a plate full of guilt. sometimes even in my 20's dad is thinking, oh god i should have stayed on the farm, this eating disorder wouldnt have started on the farm, nick nbeing bullied at school wouldnt have hasppened in the coun try. i hate it when i know my dad is ultra guilty over being a bad parent, because he is truly amazing. and it makes me feel guilty in return that my dad feels bad, maybe i dont show my appreciation enough. guilt in families breeds. i think you seem like a fantastic mother, and we cant all be a box of flowers every second of the day. we are only human. but your kids know u love them, thats all that matters. i think what maeve said is so right and what your therapist said is spot on.
what will you do with all this guilt? beat yourself up? what does our eating disorder love? when we feel bad about ourselves.
write a big list on what makes you a FANTASTIC MOMMY, the things you have done and do every day for your kids, small things, things they say, only positive.
much love

Alexandra Rising said...

First, I have to say the new picture of Annie is so, so sweet!
Second, I'm with others and your therapist. If you were a bad wouldnt be worrying about it. It'd be a 'whatever' to you. You wouldnt be trying so hard to do things for them and feeling like you arent doing enough.
Third, I think you have done lots of wonderful things for those little girls and I think they understand if their mommy is sick for a week. Even mommy's get sick!
Fourth, hang in there. You are a great mom and I think kids are fairly intuitive and probably understand that you are feeling a little tired but they know you love them. Maybe curl up and watch a movie of their choice with them...or have a mother-daughter slumber party!

I Hate to Weight said...

i agree with everyone. you are working so hard to do the best job under some hard circumstances.

my parents spent no time with me. sounds like your kids have an excellent deal.

do you realize how much you're working on your recovery? from your blog, i see your hard work, growth, insight, honesty and your ability to get back on track.

that's a lot, right? pat yourself on the back!

Cammy said...

I am continually impressed with what an incredible mom you are. Like the others have said, I think that the fact that this is a concern for you is just further testimony to that. When I was a kid (hell, even now that I'm an adult), "date days" with mom were/are the BEST things in the world. I think you are a much better mom than you give yourself credit for, but please remember that taking care of yourself is the best thing possible you could do for those beautiful girls! They want to have you around to enjoy for a very long time.

Lou Lou said...

when i remember posts you wrote about your children and how they want to do things like give their allowance to haiti.. it really shines how your amazing parenting has rubbed off on them.
i am always amazed by your amazing parenting lisa, i thought about this post and wanted to come back and re-comment. i think your an amazing momma bear.
be kind to yourself
give yourself a ferocious pat on the back for it.
check out this post cos it will explain what i mean when i say, i would love to see your list!!!!! said...

One of the first things I think aobut when I think about you is how good of a mom you are. I think your therapist is dead on in what she says about the situation. Also, don't be so hard on yourself... it's not gonna kill your kids to get some screen time. Sometimes you just can't be an entertaining mom 24/7, you know?