“I Still Love You”

By Gretchen Schiller

A girl Pouting

Photo by Steve Ford

“You’re the meanest Mommy everrrrrrrr! I don’t love you! I don’t even like you!” Ana Lu screeched, stomping on the floor, arms down by her side, hands balled into petite fists … wait for it… followed by the quintessential stomp out of the room. Into her room she goes, catapults herself onto her bed, yanks the comforter over her head and grunts octaves higher than necessary, assuring I get the memo she’s pissed.

Note to self: Get this kid into acting classes. Her natural flair for drama is extraordinary.  My friend recently recommended I get Ana Lu into drama classes, that perhaps she’ll channel her inherent knack for drama in a theater, rather than our home.

I can only hope.

I follow Ana Lu into her room, kneel down next to her bed and gently lay my hand on her back. She twitches, pulls away and grunts overtly again.

“I still love you, Sweetie.”

It’s the first thing I say every time she says I’m mean or that she hates me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I’m overly joyful in the moment. Inside I’m fuming because I know that I bust my mommy-ass to raise her, so getting told I’m mean while setting a basic rule really pisses me off.

If I’m honest, there are plenty of times I’ve considered sticking out my foot to trip her when she stomps off all attitude-y to her room.

But regardless of my intermittent, unhealthy desire to trip my five-year-old when she’s acting like a twit… I’m always mindful of saying, “I still love you.”

I always want her to know – no, it’s vital that she know – she can be real with me. That I can take it. I ask her if she wants me to stay. She murmurs, “Yes,” in a tone of voice that communicates, “I need you, but I don’t want you.”

I sit on her bed, start to rub her back and feel her petite body relax underneath my loving touch. Most times, after I sit with her for a minute she regains confidence that my love is unconditional, and I’m cool with her spazzing out on me; she’s ready to be alone. She softly whispers, “Space, please.” She knows she needs alone time to wind down.

Thank God.

I desperately need it too.

xo,

Gretchen Signature

About Gretchen Schiller
Gretchen Schiller is an ex-wife, ex-pediatric nurse & ex-member of Weight Watchers. (Cake is simply too yummy!) Nowadays she’s a writer about healthy co-parenting, single parenting, adoption & motherhood ups, downs and are you freakin’ kidding me?! Find her at Sassy Single Mom.

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8 thoughts on ““I Still Love You”

  1. Mara Migraineur January 23, 2014 at 10:57 pm Reply

    ❤ that is all.
    Thank you for the reminder to be human in those moments when we feel least loving.

  2. eyes.wide.open.or.eyes.wide.shut January 24, 2014 at 6:39 am Reply

    I often hear parents say ‘ I love you but I do not like you behaviour right now ‘ I agree with this separation, because it really does look at the maladaptive behaviour of the child rather than them as a whole person. I think making this distinction helps to preserve children’s self esteem including positive feeling of self worth.

  3. Laura Hale January 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm Reply

    Love your thought about letting her know you can take it – her being real. Beautiful!

  4. Dirty D January 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm Reply

    I am SOOOO going to start saying that to my boys. awesome reminder!!

  5. Ali Jayne January 30, 2014 at 10:52 am Reply

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this post. I laughed with the pout and the stomping out of the room, and then my heart swelled that you went in and told her you love her and stayed to support her.
    I am going to print this post and put it in my “things to remember” file when I become a parent (*hopefully*) later this year through adoption.
    Thank you again,
    Ali

  6. Frankie Laursen February 2, 2014 at 5:25 pm Reply

    Gretchen is experiencing some technical difficulties with her WordPress account. Here is her response to your comments:

    Thanks so much Mara, D, and Laura!! So appreciate you guys taking time to share your thoughts!

    Eyes Wide Open, you’re totally right! The conversation that follows is exactly that… a differentiation between her and her behavior. In the initial phases of the disagreement it’s often too volatile to do more than point out my love for her regardless of her actions. But when the dust settles, you nailed it, that’s exactly the conversation that follows.

    Ali, Aww, so sweet, thank you! I’m beyond flattered that you’re printing it out for your parenting file. So cool! There’s a fantastic board book along same lines you may want to purchase called, “Mommy, Do You Still Love Me?” (Eskimo mom and daughter.) Ive read it to ALu since she was 2yrs old…it’s where I got idea to tell her I love her even when arguing. (Eyes Wide Open has a brilliant point. I use it too, might be parenting folder material. Just sayin’ lol 😉 Best of luck in your adoption!! Ironically, we adopted Ana Lu from Guatemala…so I intimately know how grueling the waiting can be. I love, love, love that you’re using the wait period as an opportunity to seek ways about how you want to parent. Rock on, Girl!

    Thanks so much you guys for taking the time to share! Awesome hearing from all of you!

  7. […] guest blog posts: Mara Migraineur: Good Parenting Means Accepting Help Sometimes Gretchen Schiller: “I Still Love You” Mike Laursen: “You Confounding […]

  8. […] the Ultimate Blog Challenge, publishing 31 posts in 31 days, including some from guest bloggers Sassy Single Mom, Mara Migraineur, and my […]

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