I guess you can call it spring cleaning…

I have put some thought into things, and after a rather long stint of a particularly woeful amount of sales, I’m doing some spring cleaning in my shop.

Anything that doesn’t end up selling due to this sale, I’ll either gift out, or donate.  So, friends, family, or even just people who read this, if you want something, snap it up while you can.  I might be adding more to the sale section over the coming weeks, but this is only going to run for a month.

Anyway, enough with the shameless self-promotion. 🙂

I am planning on backing away from a good portion of the crochet things that I’ve been doing, especially the larger pieces.  I’m going to be refocusing my shop on a few things, and hopefully that will mean better things to come for my shop.

I am also planning on getting back to my roots, the reason why I originally started my Etsy shop.  I had originally focused on jewelry and other similar accessories, so there will be a shift back to that, with some small crochet items tossed into the mix.

I am still in the process of deciding just what I want to take away and what I want to add, but I have a pretty good idea.  And while I do love each of the things I make, if I want this to be more successful, I have to realize when something isn’t working, and it hasn’t been working for a very, very long time.

There are also other things that I do love, so I’m going to take a cue from those things and put the love for those things into my shop instead.  I’ve talked to a few other small business/Etsy shop owners, and others have also had to do the same thing, some have done it more than once, some do it somewhat regularly in order to stay more relevant and more competitive.  I feel that perhaps it is the best course for me at this time since all the promoting that I have been able to put the time into, and what minuscule resources I have has done next to nothing to actually help increase sales of anything that I have at this time.

It’s frustrating, it’s tiresome, it’s a bit humiliating, and certainly very humbling.  Which sometimes is a very, very hard set of emotions to deal with.

While I am certainly my own worst critic most of the time, I really felt like I was doing well, progressing, my skills with crochet were getting better, my photography and staging skills, getting a better handle on search engine optimization, promoting tastefully (I hope) across as many social media sources as possible without looking desperate… I was gaining some amount of confidence, to what feels like no avail.

I realize that this might sound rather Debbie Downer, and I don’t intend it as such and I certainly am not looking for pity, a pat on the back, or guilt-driven purchases.  I just want to be able to be honest about how I’ve been feeling about all of this.

I want to be able to turn this into the drive and motivation to make some big changes, and hold onto the hope that it turns things around for me.

 

Toddlers and Choice

I’m hesitant to say that I’ve figured out how to deal with the kinds of meltdowns that have been happening lately, but I think I’ve managed to curb it temporarily.  We’ll have to continue to experiment to see if this is indeed the case.

I’m one of those that started giving my child choices as soon as I saw that she was able to grasp the idea of it.  And it’s worked rather well for a while, and it gave her that sense of independence and control.  However, that has (as I feared it would) backfired to some extent.  It is great when she wants to be decisive about something, and things get done in a timely manner.  It’s not so great when she just wants to say no to everything, throw tantrums and just basically do everything humanly possible to be uncooperative.

And it’s to the point where wrestling matches have happened.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like physically wrestling with a screaming child.  It just makes me so incredibly uncomfortable, I feel like she’s going to hurt herself because I’m attempting to do something.  (Like, change her diaper.)

I’ve tried doing the “wait it out” method, which specifically with diaper changes, only worked a couple times in a matter of a few days.  I don’t have the time to do that kind of thing all the time.  And it wasn’t nearly effective enough to continue trying.  Especially when I needed to leave the house.

I’ve tried reasoning with her.  I’ve tried explaining to her.  I’ve tried bribing her.  Yes, you heard that right.  With things like snacks, which I was going to give her anyway.  From time to time, that worked, but again….not nearly enough.  I’ve tried bringing her to her little training potty.  Nothing seems to be working.

She is relatively good with diaper changes when we’re not at home.  Sometimes she gives us a hard time, but not often when we’re not at home.  She seems to be good for other people changing her diaper.  For reasons I haven’t been able to fathom, she just refuses to do diaper changes at home.

One of the things I had started to do, was ask her if she needed a new diaper.  Of course, every single time, whether she did or not, her answer was no.  I gave her ultimatums to get her to sit down and lay down so I could change her.  This is where I’m starting to realize that finding the times where I should just give her no choice in the matter is going to be very important, and extremely hard.

I’ve removed my verbalization (well, I’m trying to, sometimes I slip up) surrounding when I want to change her diaper the last couple days and it seems to work for the most part.  I lay her down and just start working without ever bringing it up.  It’s been relatively successful the past couple days.

When it comes to clothing or pjs for bedtime, we started giving her room to make choices.  This started when she started wanting to pick out shoes herself when we were leaving the house.  However, sometimes she won’t choose anything when I’m trying to get her dressed to leave the house, or if she doesn’t want to go to bed yet.  Again, lots of verbalization and conversation with her, trying to coach her into choosing something.  Worked great for a while, then it backfired as well.  Again, it was occasionally an issue of having to wrestle her into clothing in order to just get it done and over with, and I just kept feeling like a crappy mom for having to resort to it.

I’ve also started to remove choice in those areas as well when I really need to either get her to bed because it’s getting late, or we need to leave the house.  Again, this seems to be working to some extent, but considering this is directly following some serious meltdowns the other day, I’m hesitant to think that this is going to be a long-term fix.

Even if it is not, at least I’ve managed to have a couple days in a row that have been largely meltdown free.  It’s given me time to uncoil my nerves and throw some ice water on my temper and impatience.

Trying to Not Be “That Mom”

I think I’ve heard, at this point, every last stupid line about parenting known to man.

Not a single one of them have ever really helped me, or made me feel better.  Honestly, when I hear lines about …well nearly any topic out there, I internally roll my eyes and groan.

When I have periods in my day to day where I am utterly frustrated, I can’t hold my temper very well and I honestly can’t think of a damned thing to do to make the situation better, for some stupid reason I’m reminded of all those ridiculous lines people always pull out of their rear ends.

I’ve seen other people who also go through what some people would say is “normal” for rearing children, and some people that seem to skate through without a care in the world.

I wanted to be one of those people that made it look easy.  I knew it wouldn’t be.  And I know for a good portion of my extremely short time raising my one child I’ve had a pretty easy time of it.  She’s been incredibly easy.

But, I am starting to wonder whether or not her being so easy  for this long has left me with an inability to figure the hard parts out.  The hard parts are sometimes so hard in the moment that I wonder if I’ll ever get it right.  And yes, I know that there are plenty of other parents out there that have probably asked themselves the same thing.

I am so stuck between the (rather idealistic) vision of how I wanted to try to make things go (think about the kind of touchy-feely granola new agey crap that makes you want to throw up in your mouth a little) and how things are going.  I fully realize, and have for a long time that I sometimes have very idealistic views and hopes for things.  You don’t have to tell me that.  And if you do, I’ll probably sit there imagining Gibbs-smacking you.  So please, just don’t do it.

I am a frustrated mom.  I’m finding that some things don’t work, and I just have no flaming clue what will.  I’m frustrated because some days it seems like I’m winning some of the battles (and I hate calling them that, but I have no better words at this point) and I get rejuvenated and it all just falls apart later that day or the next.

I feel like some cosmic something or other is getting their jollies off in kicking me over, then laughing as they put just enough pressure on me to keep me from getting up.

And I feel like sometimes society wants to shut the frustrated ones up.  It’s no kosher or politically correct, or not zen enough to be a frustrated person and be allowed to feel frustrated.

And for me, frustration is a very, very bad thing.  It’s one of my worst, most vicious circles.  I get frustrated over something, then I get frustrated for being frustrated, then get even more frustrated when I can’t get myself to not be frustrated…  You get the idea.

And indeed, it’s very much an internal battle between the me that wants to be all zen and happy and know all the answers, and have some kind of magical databank of ideas that I can pull out of an orifice whenever it is necessary, and the me that happens to exist most days.  Which certainly is not the former.

There are so many things that I always swore to myself I would never do if I started a family.  And not even two years into having a child, I’m struggling hardcore with some of those things.  I didn’t think it would be this hard to not do the things I didn’t want to do.

And because of that, I’m struggling to stay positive enough to feel like I’m being the kind of mother I wanted to be.  I feel so beat up some days, so lost, so guilty, so angry.  I know I’m not a bad mother.  But psychology just doesn’t always allow feelings to align with what the reality is.  The rational and the emotional often do battle with each other in this arena for me.  And I’m at a loss at how to go about getting it to stop.  Or at the very least, slow down a bit so I can get a breather and feel like I’m making some kind of progress.

I know that other people will never have the answers on how best to interact with my own child.  I certainly don’t expect them to.  I expect me to.  Unfortunately, I’m just not living up to my own expectations some days.  And that kills me a little.  And I think about it often enough to be fully aware that I need to do something.  But what?  I don’t know what to do.  I try keeping my calm, I try the ideas I hear about.  It’s just so hard to not feel like tearing out your own hair when things just do not work.

I know at some point, I will figure this out, or it will just stop because it’s not me, and it’s just a part of dealing with a growing child and they’ll maybe grow out of whatever the heck is going on.  (Yes, more of those stupid lines.)  Maybe it is just a phase.  Maybe it’s the terrible twos.

But part of me wonders so, so much if it’s something else, if it’s me.  What am I doing wrong?  Why can’t I get it right?  Why is it such a struggle some days?  Why is it not a struggle on other days?  Why does it seem like positive reinforcement isn’t working?  What am I doing wrong?  These are the things that go through my head and once it happens enough times, you really start to doubt yourself.  The negative thoughts come so much more often, to the point where they almost start seeming like truth.

But I’ve been in that place where negative thoughts seemed like reality.  I know that it simply is not.  And that alone keeps me from really falling for it and falling apart.  But when the solution is so hard to find, clawing my way back through everything becomes a heck of a lot harder.

I don’t want to be “That Mom.”  I want to be one of the ones that breaks the mold a bit.  I want to be one of those that doesn’t have to fight with her kid(s) on a regular basis.  I want to be one of those parents that somehow (seemingly like some mystical hoodoo) keep their shit together and never yells, or raises their voice, or behaves in an impatient  and frustrated manner.  Trust me, I know that even those people (as much as they might say they don’t) have their days.

But I would like to have fewer of them than I’m having lately.  Even that would be a big thing for me.  Never is even too idealistic for me.  Less would be good.  Yes, I would settle for less.