In my head I had it worked out that Joseph would scream for the entire 4-hour car ride to PEI and back, he would never sleep during our trip, I would go a little nuts from being the primary caregiver for an entire week, we wouldn’t have any fun, and I would largely regret my decision to take Joseph to PEI while Josh was away for work.
Some of my fears turned out to be true. Some of them didn’t. But you know what didn’t help my situation? My mind playing dark tricks on me, convincing me that the worst will happen.
My thoughts and worries cast dark shadows and prevents me from truly seeing what is happening.
Instead of taking challenges and setbacks as they come, I am paralyzed by distorted perceptions. Things are never as bad as I think. I always survive.
A silly example: that red fire truck in the picture. My dad lovingly scoured Value Village for some toys for Joseph to play with. He hit the nail on the head with that truck. Joseph was obsessed with it! I thought it was amazing that my dad found such a gem, until Joseph wanted to race around the neighborhood with it.
Those outdoor excursions with his red truck would have been lovely, except Joseph doesn’t like being told where to go. He has his own ideas about where he wants to run, and they often conflict with my ideas. I want to go around the block. He wants to run continuously in one direction. Forever.
About 4 times a day we would set off down the street (yay for getting to 10,000 steps every day!), and at the same corner half way around the block, I would have to pick up a flailing almost-2-year-old and his red fire truck because I wouldn’t let him keep running straight. He would break down and have a full out tantrum. Gritting my teeth and swearing profusely (in my head), I would proceed to carry him and his truck the rest of the way home. Aching arms, pregnant belly, frustrated. Just so MAD that he won’t cooperate so we can have a nice walk.
What a stupid, silly example. It seems foolish now that I think back on it, at how intense my frustration was. But at the time I could feel the twitch of stress in my eye as I held on tightly to a squirmy toddler so he doesn’t run full speed down the street. All I could think at the time was, “Why is this so hard? This is too much for me.”
I know my mantra was to be like Gortex, to let things roll off me, but it’s just so difficult. Situations like that stick to me. They convince me that Joseph is hard to parent, that I am overwhelmed, under-equipped. Not patient enough. Not loving enough. Not enough.
When I look at the pictures I took, it looks like we had a lovely time. Sadly, all I can remember is the frustration tied to those moments.
Example: Joseph gleefully running in his adorable red rain coat and boots. About 10 minutes later he refused to wear his boots and proceeded to walk in sock feet through wet, muddy fields (the adorable picture of him picking dandelions). After a while he got tired and I had to carry my muddy toddler 10 minutes back to the car. Therefore making my back ache, clothes filthy, and just generally frustrated.
I want to be a different mom. My son is a beautiful, wonderful, curious, innocent little boy. But for some reason, his toddler antics momentarily put me into a daze of negative emotions I have a hard time reeling in. I really hate feeling frustrated towards my sweet boy.