Crashing Down

Right now — right at 7:24 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2010 — I don’t want to have another child. To be totally honest, I don’t even want the one I have.

Will has been extra infuriating lately. But worse than that, his onslaught of awful behavior has coincided with the complete departure of my patience. Any parent will tell you that’s not a good combination. In fact, I sit here today — my day off — just minutes removed from an episode that has me seriously considering running away.

I woke Will up to get him dressed for daycare, but he was having none of it. He threw a particularly nasty hissy fit. I tried to distract him, redirect him and deflect the negative behavior to something positive. All the Parenting 101 bullshit. Just made it worse. So then I just decided to grit my teeth and get through it. Besides, he’d be gone soon and I could finally sleep in for a little while.

That’s when he kicked me in the face.

Make no mistake, it wasn’t an accident. He had been kicking before and we have a firm no hitting/kicking rule. But as I reached down to try and get his undies on, he looked me square in the eye and screamed “NO DADA!” and then caught me with his heel.

In our house, after you’ve been repeatedly warned, that earns you a bare ass spanking, which he received.

Then he asked to get dressed on our bed. Thinking a compromise would make things easier, I granted him the wish. But he continued to be difficult and not let me get him dressed, all the while screaming and shrieking like a mental patient. I left him on the bed for a minute to go into his room to get his Buzz Lightyear underwear, thinking maybe he’d be more willing to get dressed if it was his favorite character. But when I came back in the room, I lost my mind.

Will was standing on the bed naked. And when I looked down at our pillows, I realized he had pissed all over them. I’m not kidding. He actually stood up, took aim and pissed all over our pillows and our bed. And, it being his morning evacuation, he peed a ton.

I can’t describe the level or intensity of rage that filled my body at that precise moment. But it was nothing compared to what happened next, as he proceeded to punch me square in the nose when I got close to him and asked him why he did it.

In the span of 3 minutes he had purposefully hit me twice in the face, and urinated on the place we put our heads down to sleep. And right then, I hated him. Loathed him. Wanted nothing to do with him. Longed to run far away to a place I wasn’t his father and didn’t have to put up with his shit.

And here’s the kicker.

It’s not like I can just put everything in the wash. Our washing machine died on Sunday. And it’s not as if I can run out and buy a washing machine, because we have no money. In fact, we have less than no money. We’re at a point now where we’d love to declare bankruptcy. The only problem is we can’t afford it. Do you not just love the irony there? Seriously. I don’t have the money to be bankrupt! Because of course it makes sense that financially destitute people need to come up with a few thousand dollars just to tell everyone else they can’t pay their bills. That sounds like sound reasoning to me. How about you???

I mean, I thought I had the money. I have thousands in my 401k. But fuck me for not reading the fine print. Because I already have a loan out against my retirement funds and I just assumed I could take out another one in case of an emergency. Since, you know, it’s my fucking money. But that’d make too much sense. Instead, they tell me I can only have one personal loan out at a time. But I can do a hardship loan, they say. Great. I definitely fit the bill with that, right? Wrong. I can only take out money for a hardship if I’m in the eviction/foreclosure process, if I’m trying to pay for college tuition or if someone dies and I need money for a funeral. Nevermind the fact that foreclosure will be imminent down the road if some of these bills don’t get paid, the rule is if I’m not in the foreclosure process now I’m shit out of luck. And once again, the system shits on anyone who looks down the road and tries to proactively stave off trouble.

I work as much overtime as I can. MJ works her ass off too. Yet here I sit in a condo that owns me. Surrounded by bills I can’t pay. Taunted by the allure of a way out that I can’t afford, even though my own money is sitting just out of reach in an account I can’t access. My kid is punching me in the face. My sheets and pillows are drenched in piss, reeking on the floor because my washing machine is broken and I can’t afford a new one.

And now I realize that losing Alexandra was a blessing in disguise. I can’t even provide for the kid I have now. Hell, I haven’t even been able to spend enough time with my dog lately. Bringing a baby into this unholy hell that is our life may have been considered cruel and unusual punishment.

Do I sound a little dark today? A little unbalanced? Do I have that teetering on the edge of a chaotic abyss thing going for me? Sure. I’ll buy that.

I’m not the man, husband or father I should be. I can’t provide for my family. I’ve borrowed god only knows how much from the generous people in my life, and absolutely refuse to ask for more. The gastrointestinal pain that sent me to the ER last year is back in force, which coincidentally is the last time I was this stressed out and leads me to believe I probably have some sort of ulcer. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been because since I can’t smoke or drink my problems away, I’ve decided to eat them. And I’m not nearly over the loss of my unborn daughter, but absolutely refuse to see or talk to anyone in the professional realm about that because admitting that I see a counselor absolutely would push me over the edge.

This post has been a long time coming. I’ve written it and deleted several times over the past month or so, opting instead for some funny anecdote about daily life. It’s the first time in my blogging career that I haven’t been honest with you for fear of how it makes me look. But as I’m sitting in my house that I’m upside down on, reeking of piss from sheets I can’t wash due to a broken washer I can’t afford to replace, I don’t really see any reason to continue putting on heirs.

And if you leave a comment, don’t tell me where I can find a cheap washer or any of that crap. No offense, but I’m excellent at ferreting out deals on the Internet. I don’t need help there. And don’t tell me you’re thinking of us or say “if there’s anything you need…” Don’t get me wrong, it’s sweet and I appreciate it but I’m not writing this to garner pity. If you want to comment, tell me you’ve been there before and come through it. Or tell me if you didn’t, and life chewed you up and spit you out. Either way just be real. Be honest.

Because right now honesty is about the only thing I do still have.

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42 thoughts on “Crashing Down

  1. DUDE! I so get u… I feel like I fail in more ways than I succeed most of the time. And I have been over the edge and come back.

    I’ve experienced many a morning and day like urs. Ur feelings resonate. Much love to u and MJ. U have been thru so much. I really just want to wrap my arms around u both and pour kisses and warmth into just a moment of ur life. Sounds like y’all could use a little hope & love right now… u have mine. Xoxoxo

  2. I haven’t been trough your hell. I won’t pretend I have. I can say, though, that while he’s never pissed on our pillows, our 2yo bundle of joy has certainly made me want to run for the hills at times. I don’t really have an answer for you. Heck, if you find a good answer, let me know. 😉 The best I can offer is to be Mr. Spock.

    When Will is finding every one of your buttons and pushing them, turn off your emotions. Refuse to get angry. Refuse to retaliate. Refuse to be sucked into a battle of wills. Toddlers are bullies, and bullies get their jollies from getting reactions from their victims. They don’t know how to handle indifference. If you cease to react to provocation, you are no longer interesting to provoke. I’m still working hard at implementing this tactic, by the way. It’s not a miraculous cure for tantrums. It’s the best I have, though. Let me know if you try it, and if it works for you. Keep in mind that it takes practice and may not produce positive results on the first few tries.

  3. TODAY SUCKS!!!! As in SUCKSTHEFUCKINGSHITEATINGWHOREOFMOTHER kind of sucks. You’re entitled to hate today and everything that sucks in it. Thanks for the honesty, because, we all go there from time to time.

  4. You’ve been hit with a shit-storm. :/

    I have been in every single situation you’ve been in, and come out alive. However, I’ve never seen all of them at the same time. Somehow we always manage, although it’s rarely ever in the way we hoped or thought it might be.

    I don’t have any earth-shattering advice or neat tricks to get you out of it. I just hope to see you continue to be strong, surrounded by your family and love. It will get better – it has to.

  5. Ok, if you want honest I’ll give you my own version of your blog post. Misery loves company, right? My life is falling apart. I was raised in an abusive home. I left home at 15, went back at 16, won a full scholarship to college in music when I was 17, and went there when I was 18. It was great to have an out but it put me on a path I didn’t want and I always thought I’d figure it out eventually. I found myself doing a masters in music when I didn’t really want to (but i was offered a free ride and figured I should take it), but then I enjoyed it and was talked into doing a doctorate I didn’t want. I figured I was just burned out and would be glad later, but it’s now later and I’m not glad I did it. I regret it. I decided last fall, when I was ABD (all but dissertation, or all but dead) that I just can’t stand another minute and don’t want a career in teaching music at the collegiate level. What I really want, and have wanted for years, is to be a social worker. But I am in debt and have been on a path that I may not love but am quite talented at; I’ve toured in Europe, I’ve toured in Asia twice, I’ve been broadcast on national television in China, and I’ve gotten a lot of college teaching experience between being a TA, covering a sabbatical for my trumpet professor, and also covering a family medical leave for him. I’m also the most sought-after trumpet teacher in my area when it comes to working with kids b/c my kids always hold the top seats in the various honors groups that are based on auditions. I have an awesome CV; the only problem is, I’m miserable and the thought of doing any of this long-term makes me want to kill myself.

    This time a year ago my best friend was falling apart, too. She’s married to a cold, emotionally abusive asshole and she had a 4 month old daughter with him at the time. Long story short, husband works in another state 3 weeks a month and friend asked me to move in with her and be the baby’s nanny while I worked on my dissertation (I’d quit all of my teaching and performance groups in the name of finishing the dissertation). I’ve spent the entire last year putting them first b/c I knew how much they needed me–especially friend. This friend and my dad also helped me find the courage to not finish my doctorate and instead pursue social work. I was going to need lots of help seeing as I’m 32 and in debt. In other words, I can’t work a crappy job and afford to live on my own and go to school, plus I don’t have health insurance. Dad told me I could stay in his home as long as I wish, which would be good b/c he wants to travel alot. I could look after the house and dog, go to school, and he’d be free to do as he wishes without going to extra expense or losing his house. In March, he bailed b/c he’s decided to move to Florida to be with his partner. This friend was already talking to me at that point about how badly she wants to help me find my path and help me through the worst time of my life b/c I did that for her. We had a fight b/c I didn’t trust that she’d stick to the 2yr promise, which is how much time I need to do a masters in social work. We fought over my doubts and how unfair it is to our friendship/her that I don’t trust people and am always waiting on them to bail, even though she realizes my upbringing is responsible for it. I finally agreed to this mutually beneficial arrangement: we live together in a house. I’m living rent-free (paying half utilities) but providing help with chores as well as some evening childcare when her work takes her to after-hours obligations (baby is daycare now). 7 weeks into it friend announced that she’s leaving her career and going back to her husband (STUPID) and that this arrangement is over in May, so I didn’t even get to start my new degree. Instead, I’m working part-time and not making enough to cover my various expenses. She got what she wanted and needed from our “mutually beneficial” arrangement and I got only another year of floundering around. I did just get the graduate school to agree to give me an extension so now, if I can finish by December I’ll get the stupid doctorate. The bitch of it is that it’s in a field I no longer like even a little and the economy has put the job market down to nothing in the field, so I probably won’t even find a job anyway. I have 13 friends who have gotten doctorates in music in the last 3 yrs and none of them have found jobs!

    On top of that, my sister’s an alcoholic pill-head and my mom is raising my niece, who’s 9. My mom is terminally ill and on hospice and when she passes I’ll be looking at trying to take care of this child, whom I love more than anyone else in the world. (I’m in NC, they’re in Louisiana) My sister will probably fight me for my niece, so it will be expensive and I probably won’t be able to afford it, and God only knows what will happen from there. This is where things are for me. I’m scared to death of what will happen next b/c I’m close to flat broke, and my niece is going to need me. I owe on student loans, my car is 10yrs old and I have no health coverage. In other words, I’m 32 yrs old I’ve got nothing figured out.

  6. I’ve been there and gotten through it. My kids are mostly grown (16-24YO). Yes, dark days are hell on earth. Trust, pray, have faith brother. This too shall pass.

  7. I am there right now with you, I won’t go into great detail but getting out of bed yesterday and today was more than I could bear. As much as I love my family, right now I’d give almost anything to go somewhere and be left alone for a couple days, even a dark closet.

  8. I’ve been there. Hell I’m still there. It takes a big ol’ chunk out of your pride to have to go back home to mommma and daddy ’cause you can’t provide a decent place for your kids and yourself. I love my girls. Love them dearly. But when you’re down so deep, exhausted, frustrated, and angry, you can’t help but want to escape. You’d give anything for one day, one hour even, with no deadlines, nobody wanting or needing anything from you. And if you’re anything like me, you feel guilty as hell for feeling like that. You’re not supposed to want to escape from your kids right? This is all part of what you signed up for, isn’t it? Well, fuck if I know, but I know this is not how I imagined life for my girls… or myself. Bottom line: You’re entitled to rant and rave once in a while. Life sucks sometimes, and some days suck more than others. Here’s to hoping things suck a bit less for you soon.

  9. I’ve wanted to run away and felt I failed more times than I can count. My kid hit the pinnacle of shitheadedness when my husband had been out of a job for some time. I wondered at times if my PPD was really gone or if a bad situation was simply making me depressed. No advice. Been in a bad place and somehow made it out thru coincidence (he has more work these days, I got a better job, the kid uses words more than his feet or his bladder now). You’re good people. It has to get better, right?

  10. I have so been there. Life doesn’t just like to kick you when you’re down, it likes to dance a jig on your crushed corpse.

    My only advice is to stop holding on so hard. Stop trying to control everything. Just let it all happen, it’s happening anyway. I’m saying this from the perspective of a person who’s been juggling bills for years, who knows exactly which company will shut off which service for how many days overdue and pays bills accordingly. When I can. I’m saying this from the perspective of a person who knows that eating that for lunch means no dinner and has to decide whether they’d rather be hungry now or later.

    You can’t control it, so just let go. Do what you can and stop worrying about everything you can’t do.

    And trust me, the more stressed you get, the more the boy will push your buttons. It’s what kids do.

  11. I have been there…twice! Its quite the roller coaster ride and I cant really tell you it gets better, it just changes. The “hissy” fits become over other things and they get attitude you have to learn to work with and just when you think you are on your way they become adults. HAH!
    The financial challenges well….. sometimes you just have to work not harder but smarter. Iknow that sounds weird but it can be done. But in the end all these challenges are what bind you together and make you a family. You will make it thru probably a lil grayer, heavier and balder (just ask Jeff) but the first time they look at you as an adult and thank you will bring the most amazing joy to your heart.

  12. Well, I’ve been there…and in fact we ARE there…with 2…16 months apart…and guess what? Our most infuriating little shit’s name is…drumroll…WILL!!! He’s 22 months and his sister just turned 3. We live in an insane world of toddler/preschool HELL with 2 of the most STUBBORN, BULL-HEADED, CRAZY FOR REACTION children to ever walk the earth. There is no book that has been written to deal with the behaviors that we have dealt with…because my children defy anything and everything that is normal and predictable. There are SO many days when I want to shake them…A LOT…but luckily they can be very sweet too, which saves them from being duct taped in a closet. I love my children more than anything in the world, but my husband and I are PRAYING for this phase to end quickly…and to give us some peace. Every day is about survival right now. If all 4 of us are breathing by the end of each day, we consider that day a success. Things HAVE to get better…right????? Good luck!

  13. All I can say is it’s ok not to like your kid sometimes, even be really angry. You know you love him.

    And shit.

  14. I hear you.

    And I feel what you’re saying.

    I am one or two steps back from where you are financially and one or two steps ahead of where you are with the child. My daughter is 4.

    I, too, have faced a slew of problems over the years and I have to concur with what Mandy said… You will get through this. The details – the how’s and why’s – aren’t what you think they are, but they will appear.

    I always tell myself “Things always work out.” And they do.

    Trust. Believe. Take action.

    And… Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve never read your blog before, but it really struck a nerve with me. I wish you and your family the best.

  15. therapy is a good thing.

    many think having a therapist is a sign of weakness, yet the only sign of weakness in that scenario is allowing one’s concern for how one is perceived to interfere w/ one’s mental wellbeing. honestly? a take-no-shit, call-it-as-he-sees-it kinda guy you are? refusing to even consider a counselor “because admitting that I see a counselor absolutely would push me over the edge”? that surprises me to no end. i thought you didn’t give a fuck what people thought of you. yet the quote i just pulled is dripping w/ self-consciousness. it strikes me as out of character for a man of your intelligence, passion, and talents.

    don’t get me wrong…there are a lot of quacks out there. and for a therapist to be effective, there has to be a connection. but if you keep an open mind and scout one out — one that works for you, you’d be amazed at the result. straight up — when ANY of my friends hit darkness, you know who they come to? me. you know why? b/c i give good advice. you know how i’m able to do that? THERAPY. three years of visits to a guy that keeps my shit in check. my guy? an ordained minister (i know you’re not into that), a published author, and a graduate of oxford. highly regarded in his industry. even caught the eye of scott peck. you my guy doesn’t know a thing or two that never occurred to me?

    life’s like any other game that’s worth playing. it gets harder as you go along. the only way to “win” is to get good from the inside out.

    so you know what i say? do some research, find a couple of counselors, make an appointment, and print out this post. walk in his or her office, and let it rip.

  16. haven’t been there, and i’m glad i’m not. i wish you weren’t there, too. it’s darkest before dawn, my friend – keep pushing through.

  17. I have been in the depths. I know I will be there again. At my darkest point I stood on the edge of an abyss for several hours. A couple seconds of flight and then it would end. A simple step would finish the problems for me. Over. I finally walked away, realizing that though my problems would stop they would not be over. The problems would continue.

    I prioritize the dog when I feel myself slipping back into the depths. Make the dog walk a major priority each day. 20-30 min with just you and the dog. No kid, no wife, no phone. The simple exercise makes a difference, the dog’s joy helps, and the short break is critical.

  18. I moved halfway across the country to live with my boyfriend. In the first week I’ve lived here, it has rained inside of my house; the AC has broke in one of the hottest summers Louisiana has seen in awhile; tree roaches have infested my kitchen; there is a nest of hornets by my front door; my car broke down; I have no job; I’m terrified that we’ll find a week where we can’t buy groceries; his parents keep fucking with the rent (and trying to fuck with custody of his daughter, too); and I am waiting, begging, praying that nothing else breaks, because he can’t even afford to fix the AC in his truck so that his daughter can ride comfortably. I sure as hell have no money; it took all I have to get down here. We live in a POS house plagued by insane in-laws and roaches from hell and I don’t know what to do.

    So I sort of commiserate. And I’m sorry life is beating the shit out of you. I think it gets better. I hope it does. It seems to be worth it when I laugh my ass off for three hours because of some stupid joke he made. But it’s still scary as hell.

  19. Any parent who dares to say “I’ve never felt about my child/ren like you admit in this post” is a lying sack of $%^&! EVERY parent comes to a moment/day/experience where they would gladly trade in their young for a minute of peace. Why should we are parents feel guilty for not liking our kids sometimes? As human beings, sometimes kids do crappy things and I don’t want to deal with it. I have 3 kiddos, and one of the 3 has an emotional disorder. Its taken us a lot of time to get the kid to a more normal existance, but we will always have issues. Trying to be patient and understanding in the face of irrational behavior would drive anyone toward the edge.

    And money problems never help. I (VERY RECENTLY) contacted all the peeps to whom I owe money, and very blatently told them what I could afford to pay each month and when they could expect the money. Surprisingly, more than I expected were willing to work with me about that. Of course, there will be no birthdays or Christmas’ for a few years, beyond a small gift or two, but life sucks sometimes.

    Find someone to talk to. Give yourself permission to be angry and scared and disappointed. Then forgive yourself for being human and give up the guilt. You are a good man who loves his wife and son, even when said son annoys/pisses you off like there is no tomorrow. Never lose sight of that.

  20. I’m with JCO on the therapy. Yes, it sucks to admit you need to get help or have someone to talk to. You’re too smart a guy to believe that stuff about therapy being unmanly or whatever. However, you guys have so many stressors going on your life right now that something is going to break down if you don’t get some of this off your chest. You just had a tragic and traumatic loss in your lives, the money, the work, the childcare situation and everything else life throws at you is overwhelming to say the least. Please reconsider going to a counselor. It will give you outlet to speak your mind in a safe place about all this stuff going on.

    One more thing that as your friend I have to say because if I don’t I wouldn’t be a good friend in my opinion. Please be careful with the anger, especially in relation to spanking. To each his own and how you want to discipline your child is nobody’s business but yours however with all of these emotions going on right now it’s going to be really easy to make a mistake.

    I’m just a tweet/e-mail away if you ever need someone to chat with about this stuff.

  21. Jesus Christ, you are in a black place. I’ve been there–food stamps, wishing my kids had never been born, telling my husband I wish they’d never been born, having my husband tell me I’m a horrible mom for saying so….we’re doing okay right now, but no one knows the future. It’s not just the anxiety, it’s the guilt, like you’re a complete and utter failure if you can’t provide for your family. So here, if it helps: You are a good writer. YOU ARE AN AMAZING WRITER. And a good husband, and a good father. Your son loves you, you are not a fuckup, you are just going through seven flaming hoops of hell right now. Hope things turn around soon.

  22. We went from owning a 6 bedroom house on a private road in Barnstable Village with panoramic views of Sandy Neck to renting a 3 bedroom shithole ranch on the section 8 program. Yea, I’ve been there. No, it did not turn out at all well. Still workin on it.

    Maybe you should have gone and pissed all over his favorite stuffed animals. Yes, of course its wrong. But thats not to say it wouldn’t be satisfying.

  23. First, let me say that I seriously considered abandoning my daughter at the store the other day because she was having yet another screaming, hitting, biting, scratching fit. I am sometimes convinced I am raising a sociopath.

    Secondly, let me share my darkest days story: my severely disabled son was 18 months old when I found out I was pregnant again. That was ok. I mean, we were in an ok place for another pregnancy, and then my husband’s law firm starting falling apart at the seams. Every day more and more of his partners and associates would find different jobs, the rats were leaving the sinking ship. My husband stuck by for a bit but we put our house on the market just in case. Then I was put on bedrest in the hospital because my water broke 10 weeks early. Then my husband found himself completely out of a job. So here I am – disabled son, pregnant, in the hospital, broke. My daughter was born 7 weeks early and spent several weeks in the NICU. By the time she came home we found ourselves having to move to another town so my husband could take a job. Except, our house hadn’t sold. So we rented a small place and kept paying the mortgage on the empty house. Our realtor told us we were going to have to renovate some to compete with the glut of brand new houses on the market, so we did that and put it all on credit cards. The the housing market tanked and we were so upside down on our mortgage that we couldn’t see daylight. Then it was discovered that the plumber who had done the bathroom hadn’t tightened a pipe correctly and a leak caused the living room ceiling in the empty, on-the-market house to collapse. So we had to take the house OFF the market to repair it. Then the housing market tanked some more so we had to lower the price to a level that just made us cry.

    We had some awful, awful times. It was stressful beyond belief. Paying bills each month made me cry. We talked about mailing the keys to the empty house back to the bank so we could just be done with it – the damage to our credit reports didn’t even matter any more.

    Then the house sold. That was the beginning of our crawl back to the light. We have started paying off the hospital bills and the loans we took to close on the house. We are working on paying off the credit cards with the renovation costs, we are finally starting to get our heads above water.

    It was horrible, but we made it through, and so will you. You will. It’s just really, really shitty right now, and I’m sorry.

  24. Life sucks. Sometimes it gets better right away, and sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. But, for most people, it gets better eventually. Some things (like the loss of a baby, born or unborn) hurt forever. Other things (like a kick in the face) only hurt for a little while.
    I am happy to hear that I’m not the only one who hates my kids sometimes. I mean, I always love them, but I definitely don’t always like them. You know? Kids are people too, and people are assholes.

  25. It seems like yours and the others posters stories are the stories of our generation! Almost all of us have been hit with these unforeseen financial problems. Just know you are not alone. I also have a toddler and am pregnant, and if I go back and work with two kids in daycare, I will be looking at making $80 a week.

  26. though i don’t have kids of my own, i have been working with 3 siblings that have been horribly neglected and/or abused by their mother for the last 3 years. the behavioural issues i have had to deal with have been like yours. i started putting them on the “naughty chair” as a time out. i don’t care if they’re in their underwear at the time. and no crying/snivelling allowed.

    my financials are a mess too, and i’ve had to ration my ADHD meds this last week as i can’t pay for my prescription for a while yet.

    i hear and understand your frustration and agree with the suggestion to take the dog for a walk alone. get some time to clear your head.

    btw, you know why kids look so sweet when they’re sleeping? it’s so you forget how much you want to strangle them some days. it’s a built in defence mechanism.

    you’ll pull through.

  27. Shit, dude, I am going through all of this right now. It fucking blows. I haven’t come out on the other side, and won’t for a while still, but if misery loves company, I’m your guy.

  28. Dude, don’t forget that the Red Sox suck (8^*
    hope it gets better man.

  29. Far out. You guys have some amazing stories, and you are all here to tell the tale. That is something to be bloody proud of.

    I tell ya though, you are not selling me on the having kids thing 😉

  30. Thanks everybody. I appreciate all of your honesty and shared stories. They actually helped quite a bit. Maybe you’re all my virtual therapists!

  31. I haven’t been through nearly as much as you, but I struggle with impatience with my kid a lot of days. A lot of times I can’t deal with his tantrums and hard headedness. He hits and screams and sometimes I just want to stab myself in the eye. And I dont’ even have an excuse for being angry. Hope it gets better for you.

  32. I’ve argued with you in a couple of places about spanking (including on my own blog), so there’s no point in going there now.

    But I will tell you that I don’t believe in unconditional love. And I can totally understand watching your kid do something awful and feel… well… less than love for the little kid.

    But I can also say that I do see the light at the end of the tunnel with our boy. He will be three in December, and I can feel things are changing. He still has ups and downs, but the downs are not as bad, while the ups are getting better all the time. I can’t tell how you will personally do in the next year, but I’m pretty sure that in a year’s time you won’t believe the fights you had with your boy.

  33. Aaron

    Call 888-845-5669. It’s called Money Management International, they can help negotiate to pay off your credit card debt, and they have a housing division that can help you through the mortgage modification process. We are “under” on both our houses, and have huge credit card debt. They hooked us up with a local credit counseling agency who helped us (for free) set up a plan. We’ve been on our plan for a year and it’s actually working. Look them up online, it’s not a scam I swear. We wish you, MJ and Will all the luck and love in the world.

  34. Not that it’ll make you feel any better – because it won’t, but as so many others have said… Misery loves company… We’re right there with you.

    My son turns 2 at the end of the month. I’m pregnant with number 2 and due in December (the same month I believe Alex was due) Luckily we’re all healthy… For the most part (my never sick husband just got hit with a double whammy of tonsilitis and pink eye, and he passed the pink eye on to me the day before I was set to be in a wedding that the bride had to pay for me to be in because we couldn’t afford it.)

    Anyway – we have no insurance. My husband lost his job 2 days before we found out we were pregnant. We’ve been trying to get on medicaid, only at first they told us we needed a discharge letter from the company who fired him and they dicked us around for weeks until medicaid told us they didn’t need the discharge letter anymore – however, we’ve faxed our application to them twice now, and had to wait a week before we could contact them (because that their rule) only to find that both times they never got the fax. My son is due for his 2 year check up but we don’t have insurance, and I’m due to give birth in three months and haven’t had insurance the whole time we’ve been pregnant – I can only imagine what my doctors bills look like. Luckily I’m going to a clinic, but it’s got to be nasty.

    My husband can only find temp work, and the jobs they get him that are supposed to last a few months always end up getting cut short – meaning he’s without pay until the next one comes along. He’s working now but yesterday he drove 1/2 hour and used 6 dollars in gas to work for 20 minutes. We’re getting evicted and we’re moving in with my Mother (this saturday) – I had to give up my dog in order to do so.

    Icing on the cake – my husband has been using a check cashing place to make ends meet, but this last time when he got laid off he couldn’t pay it – the check bounced in our bank account and now we’re negative over 400 dollars and it caused me to bounce a check to my doctors office. I’m working part time at a lawyers office, but since I can’t put my check in the bank I have to pay to get it cashed – and since my boss hand writes the checks (since I’m temporary help) I have to go to the bank it’s written on to cash it – and they charge me ten bucks a check. Which I’m sure to some people doesn’t seem like a lot – but every dime counts right now.

    I keep trying to hold on to our blessings, because we do have them, but there are some days where it takes everything I have not to cry. Not to mention, since we are moving, our cats are puking up every where (they’re upset at the change) and I think my son’s thrown off seeing his things get packed up, so he’s been extra wonderful lately – I actually yelled at him the morning and told him I would lock him in the house and leave him (I’d never do it. But man I was hot) I do always love Cayden – which is why I don’t strangle him when he does the things he does. But I really don’t always like him. And not liking him is happening more and more.

    I know you didn’t want help finding a washer, but keep your eye on craigslist. Here people often list them in the free section, or even for super cheap (however, if you’re in as bad a position as we are, even 10 bucks is too much to spend.)

    Good luck, I just keep repeating that stupid mantra that says what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… And hoping this shit doesn’t kill me.

  35. two months ago, we had our electricity shut off…while I was on the phone trying to work out our electric bill…bob’s mom fell and broke her hip and then his dad was in teh hospital with pancreatitis, then the same week bobby was in teh ER with stomach pains and vomiting…and all the while he couldn’t work…to earn the OT

    Today we are okay. Still just getting by, but we breathed a sigh of relief in a few weeks time.

  36. Your son is acting out the frustration you’re feeling. I found reading Ask Moxie’s archives on tantrums and child opposition really helped me through the times when I didn’t have that extra bit of patience for my son’s antics.

    Take good care of yourself.

  37. I’m pretty much convinced only creepy religious people – like the Duggars – and people on hard-core medication are happy. The rest of us are normal and unmedicated and know life fucking sucks.

    I’m convinced most days that my kids are proof God is against IVF. I think I’m being punished for going against nature when it was CLEARLY telling me I shouldn’t have kids by making me infertile….and then making me a statistic when I had 3 kids in 23 months (11mo apart and then exactly 365 days apart). Kicker? Don’t really believe in God that much. Like George Costanza, I do for the bad things. I don’t believe other people are “going against God” for doing IVF. Just me. I’m being punished, but cheer on everyone else who does it.

    I know, right?

    Anyway….about 3wks ago, I filed for Ch13 after almost 2yrs of fighting with my crooked bank that got my tax money in a bailout, dangled a refinance and then a modification in front of me like a starving person looking at a hamburger and then tried to auction my house off from under me when they refused my payments. Kicker on that one? I don’t have any debt other than my house and student loans, which can’t even be discharged. I can pay my bills. I just had to file to save my house from these creeps. I didn’t even benefit by having debt wiped out in any way, I just had my one debt that could be, reorganized. For the princely sum of close to $4,000.

    I love therapy. My therapist is awesome (she’s in NH, BTW, if you’re up for a drive). I refuse to take too much medication. I don’t want the rotten side effects and I’d rather be depressed/anxious than gain a ton of weight, lose interest in sex, or have some other horrible thing like tongue swelling, rashes, liver damage, etc. Plus, I don’t want to be fake happy. My life, right now, sucks. I know this. Thinking anything different is just ridiculous. Sitting around with a Prozac-induced smile while things crumble down around me, I think, is even crazier than packing my bags and walking out the door…which I did last week only to have to come back when the twat babysitter quit on a Sunday afternoon.

    If my life was awesome and I was still depressed, OK, cool, give me some drugs. But, it blows right now. My therapist told me anyone would feel the way I do. I should feel the way I do. Talking it out with her helps a lot. Abandoning my kids….not an option, obviously. Wanting to walk the hell out, change my name, and never see any of these people again? Totally normal. Wanting to go back, not get married and not have kids? Totally normal.

    I thank my lucky stars every day that I have never had any inclination to hurt my kids. I know so many who have had those thoughts in the dark corners of PPD. I’m so happy I don’t. But, I did almost admit myself to a hospital a few weeks ago because I was on the verge of hurting myself. My awesome husband said, “Great…what am I supposed to do now?” All about him. Ended up going home and not getting the help I know I needed at that moment.

    Just another person living the dream!

  38. I’ve been there. I am desperately clawing my way out of there, as I write this. Being a grown-up sucks. It looks all shiny and glamorous when you’re a kid, doesn’t it?

    Therapy. HA. You’re broke and people think therapy will help? How? It costs a FORTUNE. Blogging is my therapy. Paying back the people we owe is my therapy. Being able to buy a freaking treat for myself and my kids once in a blue moon is my therapy.

    Your son will grow out of this. It’s normal to loathe him at times. Trust me. It won’t stick around forever, but it will return throughout his life. It’s really hard to adore someone who treats you with no respect or courtesy. I wouldn’t let a friend or stranger do to me what my kids have done, and yet I’m expected to tolerate it from them, simply because I’ve birthed them?

    Yep. That’s the fine print in parenting. You COULD run away, but it’s kind of impossible to take back that choice. Walking away on occasion is a better choice. Distancing yourself emotionally for a time is fine, too. You don’t have to try to get him to like you right now. Just trying to get through this stage is enough.

    Hope you took his pillows for your own as he destroyed yours. At any age, that is an outright act of disrespect.

  39. After his job ended unexpectedly and he wasn’t paid the large sum he was owed for the last month, we spent all the money we’d saved to pay our taxes. He took a job that paid 40% less. In a year’s time we were declaring bankruptcy. A year after that, unable to pay our rent, we moved into his childhood home. It’s been another year since then. He has a new, much better job that started a couple of months ago, and pays 25% more than the shit job he had for the last 2 years. We’re still not back on our feet. We don’t pay rent, and we still overdraw our account on almost every paycheck. BUT it’s getting better. I see a light at the end of the tunnel, and I think with another year we’ll be back on our feet and approaching self-sufficient again. It’s hard. And it’s especially hard because people don’t want to talk about this kind of financial stuff or how common it is. People don’t want to talk about struggling to like their children when they’re in a particularly bad phase. One thing that I found when we declared bankruptcy was that once I got it out, it was very good to talk about it. And 90% of people I “confessed” to replied that either they or someone very close to them had gone through it too. You’re not alone.

    We had to take money from our families, and from very generous friends who we would have turned down had they not been so forceful. We were both in horrible shape and thanks to generous family, I joined Weight Watchers and have lost 50 pounds, and my husband gets the benefit too because I cook healthier meals. Kids have phases, and it will pass. It always does somehow.

  40. I’ll say it; Suck it up! To quote the poet Billy Madison:

    The part of the story I don’t like is that the little boy gave up looking for Happy after an hour. He didn’t put posters up or anything, he just sat on the porch like a goon and waited. That little boy’s gotta think ‘You got a pet. You got a responsibility.’ If your dog gets lost you don’t look for an hour then call it quits. You get your ass out there and you find that fucking dog.

    Get off your couch and literally go find what makes you “happy”. Ask questions and make time. Don’t take the loan, take a cash distribution or find out if you can do an in service rollover to an IRA. When it is in the IRA, then liquidate. Don’t know how to do this, I have a good financial guy.

    Keep working more hours or get another job that pays better. Struggle, suffer, and stand up for your family. If you have to work 80 hours a week, do it. You need a 2nd job, do it. You need to cancel cable, sell some crap, do it. Brown bag lunches, do it. Sell you car and get a moped, do it. Don’t let anything stand in your way.

    Are you homeless yet, no. Are you on WIC, no. Are you selling food stamps for booze, no. Are you pulling tricks at the rest stop for crack, no. Someone shooting bullets at you in a desert, no. Times are tough, the economy sucks and we all experience loss, rough patches and tragedy. No one is entitled to anything. If you want something bad enough then be better than the next guy and earn it. Happy might not comeback overnight but it will come.

    Stand up for yourself, your wife and your son. You can and will do this.

  41. The 401k rules are tricky, and each company sets up their own rules for loans. If there is any place you can get a temporary loan (family?) to pay off the existing loan, you can then turn around and take out a new (larger) loan to access more money and pay off other bills. (been there, done that) It’s a pain, but will work. I know everyone tells you don’t touch your retirement, but paying interest to yourself is better than paying the high credit-card interest. Be sure and read the fine-print very carefully first though to make sure there’s no waiting period to take out a new loan.

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