Hi Squidpup, Well, I'm not a specialist in child rearing, but I am a mom and a certified life coach for what it is worth. I will share with you what I see happening.
What I see is a mother who doesn't really like her position as a parent and two little children who know it. They are desperate for attention even if it is negative attention, which it appears that they have become accustomed to getting. But they are still very much young enough for you to turn things around, for yourself and for them.
Your babies are looking to you for the rules. So far "Get away from me, I'm busy, I just can't perform for you right now" is what the rules are. But children need gentle eye contact and one on one attention. They need to feel validated as little human beings who are struggling to develop a place in the world. If you see parenting as a "performance" then you are not in the right place emotionally or mentally. When you decided to have children, no matter what the reason, this is what you signed up for. The rule maker and spiritual guide. It appears that you are fighting feeling enjoyment with your kids.
What you need to do is make a mind change adjustment, and fast. Priorities change when you have children. There can be time made for yourself and for things you have to do like cooking dinner and washing your hair but you have to arrange it.
What you need to do is simple. Get out of your head and take ten deep breaths. You are wound up so tight even I can feel it - imagine what your kids feel. Feel that your children need you to see them. I mean truly see them as little people. Take yourself back to when you were little and how the world seemed to you. How your mother seemed to you. Now you need to be the mother who gives. You are the grown-up and need to get comfortable in your role. Take the idea that what ever is going on in your head that holds the grandest importance, and dump it. Get out the coloring books and crayons or the Chutes and Ladders and smile in your heart. Announce to the kids that mommy and they are going to play together. Be present. Praise them for good behavior and accomplishments. Notice what they love. Favorite colors, animals and people. These are your children. Get to know them!
Here's the bottom line. If you don't shape up and pay attention, your kids will remain acting out as they are for love, affection, validation and attention for the rest of their lives. Yes, you have that much power. Welcome to the grown-up world of parenting!
If your babies feel validated, they will be contented to allow you to get the work done, like taxes and cooking when you need to. Teach them to take care of each other, as well. Teach them to play together and respect one one another so that they will be happy to keep each other company while you are busy. Having children doesn't mean you have to come last, either. If you need to have a hot bath or to read a book, there is absolutely room for that as well. You just can't come first anymore. And your attitude that mothering stinks can't come first, either. Them's the brakes.
Now the rules have changed from "Get away from me, I'm busy," to "You are an awesome person, I love you, but right now I have to do some grown-up things. When I am finished I will read you a story." Big difference, huh?
You didn't mention a husband. If there is one, you have both got to get cracking on the same page journey.
A parenting class is a great idea. You would be surprised what you can learn from watching shows like Super Nanny. Your days of muddled thinking have come to a close and you need to take action.
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