It always starts off so well. When the kids are in the throes of a meltdown or being extremely defiant, I try to follow the advice espoused by various child rearing experts. Talk to your children calmly, don’t get angry, give them a warning, walk away….we all know the drill. But when your monsters repeatedly ignore your instructions [cough cough, I mean requests] it’s hard not to turn into a raving lunatic that froths at the mouth.
Take Flump. She basically acts like I’m either invisible or that she has a serious hearing impediment. Today I asked her, as I always do, to brush her teeth and wash her face before bedtime. She ignored me. I asked her again. She ignored me. By the 6th time I was starting to get vexed, especially as Ludoo was whinging about wanting to eat more cheerios. She still ignored me. I gave her a stern warning and the countdown to three. She still ignored me. And then I exploded into a mad, raving loony. It wasn’t pretty, nor was it helpful as it all ended in tears and hysteria. Then I got pissed off that the day had been ruined and felt horrendously guilty about losing my temper. I then had my moment of introspection and asked myself, since when did I become a shouty mama?
The reality is we all have bad days and, whilst shouting at our kids is not ideal, it’s not abnormal and doesn’t make us evil. And just because we lose our cool now and then, okay, quite often, that doesn’t make us crap mums. Tell me which mother of multiple small children is in a permanent state of domestic bliss and happiness? Tell me??? I’m not saying my preferred style of parenting is to scream and shout but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s inevitable. The key thing is it doesn’t define my relationship with my children. Yes, I might become scary on occasion, but I also have many magnificent moments with them.
As women we are plagued by maternal guilt and are our own worst critics. But how about we focus on some of the wonderful things that we do for our children instead? We provide the foundation for our families and sometimes the weight of this can take its toll. We may have our shaky moments but we quickly realign ourselves and stay strong. We all have low points in parenting but I believe as long as we make it abundantly clear to our children that we love and cherish them, and that we are sorry for any ill temper, they will be forgiving of our flaws. It never ceases to amaze me how in a few short seconds a child can, with their forgiveness, turn a shouty moment into a magical moment.