There has been a definite shift of attitude in the Water Birth Please house hold of late, involving both Grace and myself. We are talking major tantrums – daily. Sometimes several times a day. Here’s the thing:
I am struggling to enjoy being a Mum at the moment.
There I said it. It’s an awful awful thing for a mother to say, I know, and I only feel up to putting that statement out their publically because A) I know this will pass as she grows out of the tantrummy stage, and B) The difficulties we currently face have no bearing on how much I am in love with her. Which is deeply.
It’s just that I can feel myself getting slowly, slowly worn down. My nerves are on edge any time I know I have to do something that can potentially spark the start of WW3, i.e. – getting her dressed, waking her up, telling her “No”, changing her nappy – I could go on but it’s too depressing. It’s a hell of a moment when we realise we are not as good at mothering as we assumed we’d be. I thought I would be super nanny. I thought I could waft about in a bubble of serenity, keeping my cool and consistently applying the rules with an air of calm authority. I thought the awful behaviour I saw in toddlers when out and about was what would happen to other people’s children, not mine. I thought wrong.
After a night of constantly being woken, a full blown wrestle to get her dressed when she only wants to kick and hit you, a screaming fit because she doesn’t like the breakfast you’ve given her, and over 40 failed attempts to keep her on a designated “time out” spot because she threw that breakfast at you, well – the bubble of serenity bursts abruptly and a fraught, tired and tearful Mum wondering where the hell she went wrong is revealed.
I used to love getting Grace up in the morning. I would flit Mary-Poppins-like into the nursery, pull open the curtains and whisk my smiling chattering bundle out of the cot bed with a cuddle, cartoon bluebirds alighting on my shoulder whilst we all danced in the early morning sunbeams.
Now I creep in trepidatiously knowing I must awaken The Cracken and all hell’s going to break loose. . .
. . . and then just when your at your wits end she’ll make the most affectionate gesture, sing the cutest song, say the funniest thing, or give you the biggest hug. Lovely, precious moments but moments that make the next tantrum seem all the more defeating. I KNOW all the behaviour technique theories. I try my best, but it so hard. “Being a parent is the hardest job in the world” How many times have we all heard that? But my God, NOTHING prepares you for just HOW hard. Which brings be onto a subject that’s weighed heavily on my mind recently:
“Guilt – a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.”
What the dictionary has failed to add is “a feeling that increases ten fold when you become a parent.” Since being a Mummy, guilt has played too prevalent a part in my life: Guilt that I didn’t breast feed for long enough. Guilt that I left her with my husband so much when Mum was ill. Guilt every time she banged her head or fell over something. Guilt whenever I fed her from a jar and guilt with ‘controlled crying’. Now it’s guilt about how I handle the tantrums, and where I’ve gone wrong to cause so many. I look forward to the days I go into work now, and I feel guilty about that. I read blogs by Mums with more kids, more problems, far more legitimate reasons to be deeply stressed, and I feel wholly inadequate. Does it ever end? (I think I know the answer to that.) I’ve had so much advice I’m afraid my brain may explode and I don’t know how to snap myself out of the funk I appear to be in. I am also only too aware of the fact that she’s no doubt picking up on my frustrations which – surprise surprise – is making her behaviour worse. Why, hello vicious circle, thank you SO much for coming!
Grace – I love you SO much, but please, please, please . . . just pack it in, right?
Best go, she’s shouting at me over the monitor ***sigh***