2010 15/02

She’s different. I’m different. Life is different.

Zoe is our second born and, as it stands right now, the baby.  She’s nearly 2 years old and, well, I’m just going to say it…I have the hardest time connecting with her.  It’s not the age that makes it so hard for me to connect with her, as it has been this way since she was born.  It just is.  And I have a few theories!

Theory 1: She’s different

Zoe is very different from her older sister.  Different in almost every way.  Abbi was a very laid back and yet quick to fall into a schedule child.  I’ve mentioned before that Abbi was sleeping through the night at an early age and weaned herself from bottles and naps at just the right time.  Zoe’s never been a good sleeper, didn’t fully sleep through the night until after she was a year old, and is still on a bottle.  I think all of those factors have caused me stress.

Zoe is also a very intense, short-tempered little girl.  She’s constantly pushing her boundaries and, thus, pushing my buttons.  I think this is due, in part, to the fact that she’s trying to keep up with big sister.  Trying to do things she’s probably not quite ready to do.  Or at least not do perfectly.  She gets so frustrated when she can’t get the legos to line up just right the first time and ends up throwing a huge tantrum about it.  Abbi wasn’t like that at this age.  She was content reading/looking at books or building towers.  Until she turned 3 I think she only threw a handful of tantrums, whereas Zoe throws a handful or two of tantrums each day.

Theory 2: I’m different

When it was just Abbi and I at home during the day I was still doing some website design. I would do that design work while she was napping or after she went to bed for the night.  I was even able to do some of that work while she sat happily next to me on the couch or on the floor playing.  Now I’m not doing nearly as much design work but am focusing more on writing.  The workload seems to be about the same or a little more, so what is the real difference?  Well, I’m feeling more so now that I need an existence outside of just being Abbi and Zoe’s mom.  I need to be connected outside of these four walls.  Writing gives me that since of identity, that connection.

After four (plus) years and with every year that goes by, I feel my identity slipping away.  And it scares me.  I love being a mom.  I love being my girls’ mom.  I love being known as Abbi and Zoe’s mom.  But what happens when they are in school full time?  When they are no longer here all day demanding my attention?  When they are off having lives of their own?  Who will I be then?  I don’t want to be figuring that out after the fact.  I want to maintain my own identity now.  And I think that the drive to keep that identity puts a little stress on me and stress on my relationship with my kids.

Theory 3: Life is different.

I think the biggest stressor on mine and Zoe’s relationship is that life is different.  Our lives are so much more different now than when Abbi was this age.  When Abbi was this age it was just her and I in the house during the day.  Our house was quieter.  I only had one kid’s schedule to work around.  Tim only worked a few miles down the road and was often home from work by dinner time.  And he wasn’t traveling near as much, at least not overnight and long trips.

That was then.  Now I have two kids in the house.  The house is amazingly louder.  I have two kids’ schedules to consider and those schedules don’t always line up.  Tim’s office is now a half hour away which means he rarely makes it home from work for dinner with the girls.  He travels a lot.  And the chaos of our house is increased by the presence of our puppy (now 10 months old).

So, how do these theories fall in to the fact that I just can’t connect with Zoe?  In a lot of ways I guess.  Mostly though, I’m stressed most days.  Stress that is brought on by me most of the time, stress that is a result of my kids being at very demanding ages, stress from solo-parenting.  Combine my stress with a child who is short-tempered, impatient, and intense…well, it creates for some explosions throughout the day.

I’ve been trying to figure out ways that I can connect better with Zoe (I’ll be writing about that soon).  Unfortunately I’m sick right now and Tim is traveling again and, well, that just isn’t helping me reduce my stress.  Damn you, stress!

Here’s where I need your help!  Have you been in this position with one of your kids, where you connected easily with one but another was more of a challenge?  How did you make that connection?  Please, let me in on your secrets!

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One Comment

  • Sounds like we need to have our version of a momversation! Great topic. I’ve had a harder time connecting with Jessica SINCE Oliver’s birth – and I think it was just relearning how to keep my relationship with Jessica just as special as it was with Oliver. It was hard to adjust for me.

    My tips:
    Date with each child – an hour at the library one on one. Or Jp’s … or making sure there’s some kind of focus on each child separately throughout the day. For so long it was always about Oliver because he was the baby who needed feeding, changing etc so we had Mommy Daughter dates that did wonders.

    Hope that helps! :)

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