Letting it go…

Okay…I feel like I have been focusing on the negative a lot lately.  I don’t like when I get like that.  It becomes almost impossible for me to see the good in things when I get this way.  I assume the worst about everything, and I don’t give anything a chance.  I have been doing that with Pam especially lately.  I think perhaps if I write out some of the annoyances, that I can then move past them.  Because lately all it has been is rants and raves and upset screaming.

Most of my frustration with her comes from her interaction with the kids and with me regarding the kids.  She has 1,000 times more patience than I do.  This is for two reasons: 1. She is patient by nature and 2. She has not ever had children of her own.  She will argue that a kid she used to babysit when she was younger counts, I don’t know one mother that would agree with her.  But that aside, she’s not BAD with the kids.  She babies them a lot and doesn’t really listen when I ask her not to, and she doesn’t think like an adult most of the time.  But other than that, she is good with the kids.

One thing I have mentioned to Him and Pam is that there is a reason that you get a baby when it is a newborn, and then you watch and help him or her grow throughout his or her life.  So when they are presented with a three and four-year old, that is all the knowledge they have.  They didn’t know my kids when they were babies.  They didn’t watch them move through each stage of development day by day.  And I try to remember that when they (mostly Pam) treat them several steps below their actual capabilities.  But it doesn’t really take that long interacting with my kids to learn what they are capable of and what they aren’t.  He has caught on, rather quickly in fact.  But Pam just kinda seems stuck in the thinking that both of them are about eighteen months old.  To me this is very frustrating, because I understand the importance of them learning and growing and moving on to the next step.  So buying them sippy cups when they both are able and should be drinking from regular cups?  Following the four-and-a-half-year old the to bathroom?  Doting on them and coddling them when they stub a toe?  Giving them way too many chances to listen?  Not helping, not good, and possibly even detrimental.  They aren’t babies.  And they should be treated as such.  The biggest frustration comes in when I mention these things and my words go ignored or I am met with resistance or an argument.  I get that she is opinionated, defensive, and most often unwilling to bend, but that’s not an option with MY children.  She can voice her opinion, of course, but they aren’t her kids and she never will get to have the final say.  Ever.  I think that is hard for her.  She’s used to bossing Him, and often times, me, around, and she can’t on this issue.  She is not a parent, has NO experience, and doesn’t get to have her way with this one.

She is also quite childlike herself.  Most of the time this is just cute, and doesn’t really get in the way.  But sometimes when dealing with the kids, I feel like she forgets she has to be an adult.  She can’t take their toys.  She can’t ignore the rules we have set up for them, even if she wants to do something.  She has to think a step ahead of them and be the grown-up.  Thinking like them and being playful like them is fine, sometimes.  But other times, she needs to remember that SHE is an adult, and sometimes you have to be the one that sacrifices so that the kids are happy.  One brownie left?  It gets split between the kids.  Toy Story or Nemo?  The kids get to choose.  Again, she gets a vote, of course, but she seems to have a hard time remembering when it’s time to be a kid and when it’s time to be an adult.

I have saved my biggest complaint for last.  And honestly, I feel like ALL THE REST of everything she does ever ever ever would not even kinda bother me if this one would just go away without complaint, argument, or conversation.  She repeats EVERYTHING I say.  I have a constant echo when I am talking to my children.  If I tell them to put their shoes on, she says it right after me.  If I ask them to stop doing something, she chimes it almost instantly.  If I call them for dinner, she has often started speaking BEFORE I have even finished my request.  My children need to listen when I tell them to do something.  They don’t need to become accustomed to hearing her voice too.  Should they listen to her?  Absolutely.  They should listen to any adult that tells them to do something.  But they don’t need to think that everything Mommy says has to be backed up by Pam in order for it to count.  What I say goes.  If I need her help, I’ll ask for it.  If I’m not around, of course she should tell them what to do.  But if I am there?  They’re MY kids.  MY job.

It is also a pet peeve of mine.  Not just from her, but from anyone.  Having someone repeat me, or having to repeat myself is beyond frustrating for me.  I am kinda used to the annoyance with her.  She is kinda annoying by nature.  She rambles on and on, often doesn’t know what she is talking about, she makes stuff up, and she has lots of other little habits that are just kinda mildly irritating.  But that’s her.  She’s quirky, and I can deal with that.  But her parroting everything I say is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  It makes my blood boil and my skin crawl.  I twitch and can’t stand it.

Why haven’t I mentioned anything to her about it?  Well, I mentioned it to Him several months ago, long before we moved in together.  It was when I really started mixing the two parts of me, mother and girlfriend.  I picked up on it the very first weekend we all spent together, and He and I had a conversation about it.  It was pretty much decided to just kinda let it go and see what happened.  I also didn’t want to have to argue with her about it.  I still don’t.  I don’t want to listen to her apologize or tell me why, or explain or anything.  I just want it to stop.  I am so scared to talk to her about ANY issues with the kids, because she is just so damn defensive.

I get that most of the time conversation and compromise are a good option.  And her opinion should ALWAYS count, except for now.  The same goes for Him.  Of course I welcome advice and ideas, but ultimately, it is MY decision what happens with my children.  Her reading about it won’t trump my experience.  Her experience doesn’t outweigh my knowledge.  She doesn’t get to be right on this one.  And it seems that’s when she is hard to deal with.  When she isn’t in control.  And she can’t control this.  She tries, as of now, but I know I will have to talk to her about it.  I know I will have to say something before I lose my mind.  It has gotten to the point that I am making sarcastic comments after almost everything she says now, even if it’s not about the kids.

The most confusing part is that I don’t want to tell her she can’t say anything to them or do anything.  She just has to be willing to LEARN.  She has to acknowledge and realize that she is not an expert here, and she does not get to be in charge of this one.  And that is the part that scares me.  The couple of times I have debated her on parenting issues, she does nothing but make me feel like she is better at it than I am, and I need to just shut up and do it her way.  When, in reality, it is the other way around almost.  I want Him and Pam to have an active and loving and positive role in my children’s lives.  But there is a balance.  One that He and I seem to have worked out quite well.  Her on the other hand?  Just keeps doing whatever the hell she wants, like always.

Okay…I got all that out.  Now let’s move past it.  I know that she is not being bad or mean when she does those things, and she has even mentioned that she feels like she might be too over-bearing with the kids.  The confusing part is that she realizes that, but does nothing to change it.  He told me yesterday that I need to do two things when something happens with the kids and Him and Pam: 1. Take a step away and breathe.  Calm down and think about whether I am really upset or just irritated or territorial.  After that, I need to come back and calmly discuss the issue if there is one, or let it go if there isn’t.  And 2. I need to remember that they don’t know any better.  They aren’t parents and they have only been helping for about a month.  They are bound to mess up.  I need to keep that in mind when I get frustrated with Him or her.

I need to remember that I DO know more in this situation, and the only thing I have to do is be patient with them and tell them nicely when they mess up.  I don’t want it to seem like she is the only one that messes up with the kids or ever steps a little at times.  He does too.  The difference is that He realizes it and asks and apologizes and tries to fix the problem, rather than ignoring me and doing it His way regardless.  He’s smarter and more logical, so I think that helps in situations like this.  He is acting more out of strategy and logic, whereas she is just going with whatever she feels.  A combination of both is what makes a good parent.  They’ll get there.  It’ll just take some practice.  🙂


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