So, I've just hit my ninth month of pregnancy and though this entire pregnancy has been plagued with hyperemesis gravidarum and this particular month happens to be my least queasy and unbearable so far, I'm seeing a terrible trend starting to happen as D-Day gets closer and my body becomes more bulky and clumsy with every passing moment--I'm grumpy. My temper is getting shorter and my voice is getting louder.
Now, I'm not the most patient person ever, but after 10 years of teaching school and nearly four of being a mother, I've all but mastered the art of calming my tone when my students or my daughter are making bad choices. I've learned to use relaxing tones when my little girl loses her cool and to ask questions that allow both her and my students to reason out the correct behavior for themselves when they are making less than ideal choices. I'm not perfect at it--I never have been, but I've learned to make it a habit. There are always those days where I say something more sharply than I had intended or dole out punishment that is heavier than the crime, but for the most part, I'm okay with my responses to the children God has given me to teach and to raise. For the most part, I feel that I do an okay job at being patient and kind towards them.
But I'm nothing like that patient Mother/teacher anymore. Currently, I'm miserable and uncomfortable and with that comes selfishness and grumpiness. If nothing else, my daughter is learning to apologize when she's in the wrong because I have to apologize to her two to three times a day. Poor little girl! She's so excited about having a new baby brother and she just wants to help me get ready for him. When I cleaned the walls in his nursery, she grabbed her own bucket and washcloth and worked right along side me. And she spilled the cleaning solution everywhere. When I pulled out all the old cloth diapers and started categorizing and stacking them to get ready for her brother, she eagerly grabbed armfuls of my stacks to bring upstairs, effectively undoing everything I'd done. And when we were opening the new infant carseat, she grabbed her little scissors and helped me open the box, and then proceeded to pull out every piece of fabric and cushioning to examine them, followed by the instruction manual. When we set up the baby swing, she discovered that it was a wonderful contraption and did her best to turn it on herself and to practice for her little brother by pushing it quite forcefully back and forth. Shamefully, all of those times I got impatient with her and spewed something to the affect of, "Bunny, don't touch that!" or "I can't believe you spilled!" or "You're going to break that! Can you just give me some space?!?!?" and as soon as the hasty words came out, I realized how unreasonable I was behaving and apologized as quickly as I could. "Bunny, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. Do you think you can ask me before you touch the diapers?" or "Honey, I shouldn't talk to you that way. I know it was an accident. You're being such a big help." A couple of times, she even hid under her brother's new crib because she was upset that I yelled at her, and if my belly hadn't have prevented it, I would have probably followed her under there to hold her close. Of course, there are times when a parent needs to raise their voice, but those times haven't been as often as I've done so in the past few weeks.
I can't really do anything to un-yell at her, but as my stomach becomes less and less angry (yeah, it waited until nine months to drop most of the morning sickness symptoms) and I find myself being more able to engage with her, I can do all I can to make her feel special despite the fact that I have the shortest temper she's ever seen. In addition to the apologies and the explanations that I'm grumpy, I try to include her in my chores. She picked out fabric for a blanket for her little brother and helped me pin it and sew it for him. It's a blanket that she "made" and she's so proud of it. She stands beside me and helps when I cook meals. I even let her "wash" some dishes, which is a chore she absolutely adores. She wastes tons of water when she does it and nothing is actually fully clean when she's done, but she loves it so much that I let her do her thing and then quietly clean up after her. I've even been able to go outside with her more as she splashes around in her wading pool or tries out her new lawn chair. It's been the first time that I've been capable of just sitting with her and watching and/or talking with her as she plays and she is soaking up every moment. I've also spent some time playing card games and tea parties--something that I used to do with her all the time before I was pregnant but that she's learned has to wait until her Daddy comes home these days. And today, when she felt the urge to dance (which she feels daily), I joined her and I don't know who had more fun--she or I. Finally, despite the fact that I'm huge, I try to climb into her little junior loft bed as often as I can to simply hold her and pray with her as she goes to bed at night. I know I'm not perfect and she knows it too, but I hope she also knows what a treasure she is and how important she is and will always be to me.
I hate that I'm grumpy and short with her (and also my husband, but he can fend for himself ☺). There is no good excuse for it, even though I'm full of excuses. But I can do the best I can to recognize the problem and remedy it. And when I mess up--which I will, because I am human--I can show her what humility looks like, and apologize.
When I have days and weeks like those that have just passed, I think I find the greatest comfort when I think back to my mother. She wasn't perfect either--I don't know why we always feel we have to be. There were times when she lost her temper with me and my siblings. There were times she yelled and said things that she shouldn't have. But we weren't irrevocably scarred by this. She loved us unconditionally and these instances were more the exception than the rule. She was an imperfect person who did her best to raise her kids and provide for us not only physically but emotionally. I'm not ruined because she wasn't perfect. I feel absolutely and completely loved when I look back on how she raised me, flaws and all, and I hope that when my daughter grows up and looks back, she feels that her Mommy loved her unconditionally and that she was cherished--even though her Mommy was far from perfect.
Sarah Reichart Date 7/9/2013
I totally felt like this as I neared the end of this pregnancy. My oldest is 2.5 and does not sit still, so no else should be sitting still including heavily pregnant mom!
dannyscotland Date 7/9/2013
Don't be too hard on yourself. I didn't even have morning sickness as bad as you've had but when I was pregnant with my second, I still was like that. It's hard! You want to be left alone but can't, you want to sit and do nothing but you can't. You want to do ____ whatever, and you can't, and it's frustrating and hormones are raging. You're human. She knows you love her. It will be okay.
Laura Date 7/10/2013
Thank you so much for posting this! I'm 8 weeks away from my due date, and feeling so horribly guilty that I'm so impatient with my two year old son. I want to enjoy this last little bit of "us time" that we have together, but I'm so grumpy and irritable all of the time. I'm trying to relax and laugh and apologize when necessary.
Lauren P. Date 7/13/2013
I am also currently going through this pregnant with a 2 year old toddler. I find myself apologizing to him a lot and sometimes I just feel like a terrible
Mother but my son knows mama is pregnant and hopefully he will continue to remember that.
Robyn Hendrickson Date 7/22/2013
I have been there including the morning sickness up to the day of delivery and a four year old who LOVES to help with dishes. Whenever I lose my cool I try not to beat myself up and remind myself I'm not perfect. Thankfully there have been fewer uncollected moments after the birth of our second daughter.