Guilt, Stress, Tantrums.

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***



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12 responses to “Guilt, Stress, Tantrums.

  1. Aw Minty – I am totally with you on this one – The other day Alejandro was so nice all day that we actually agreed this was one day we will remember! (a day without shouting, hitting, screaming, tantrums, the word ‘no’ etc etc……he was a dream)……of course this only lasted ONE day!

    When you know the secret to ‘keeping it together’ when your child has a tantrum…….let me know!!

    K x

  2. katherine brown

    I feel your pain sister! 100’/, are a human being.these little monsters of ours (god love them) are intelligent little things that love testing boundaries & our patients levels.hang in there minty,I scream at my kids sometimes,I shouldnt but I do,I too feel guilty,but somehow we get through it.on the plus side,my girls have turned me into a strong assertive person x love always

  3. this phase WILL pass for both of you, and as long as Grace knows you love her then you have won…you have done a lot right…and you are a damm good mum…if you were not you would not write posts like this. Easy for me to say try to rise above it….next time she doesnt want her breakfast take it away and make her go hungry till lunch time…doesnt want to get dressed….shove her coat on top of her jammies….carry on as you are telling her know when she needs telling no, be consistent and praise every single little bitty good thing that she does, and I mean everything, eats a spoonful of breakfast praise her, gives you a smile or a kiss praise her….you know it all as you say you are doing it right and another few months will see it pass…..and for all it seems forever if you put 6 or 12 months into the whole big scheme of 21 years its not much really *Elaine ducks so that the abuse being hurled at her misses*

  4. I’m also struggling to enjoy it at times recently because The Boy’s become incredibly hard work at times, and bleeding stroppy! Don’t know *where* he gets it from!

  5. how old is your little one? i know i have admitted not enjoying being a mum at some stage, they certainly wear you down! when my eldest was 2 going on 3 he didnt go in the naughty spot without trying to kick and scream at me like i was the most horrendous thing to ever have happened in his life, it made me question everything i did and even resigned to the fact he didnt like me. he is 5 now and not as bad. however i also have a 2 and a half year old boy who throws himself on the floor and screams if i ask him to put a toy away, have his nappy changed or get dressed. a full on tantrum! going to a playgroup and running off some energy in the park always helps after the battle of getting ready and getting out of the door and i dont lie when i say i have broken down and cried cos the day has felt so bad. it does get easier over time, well hope so, we have the teenage years to come yet!

    • Oh my gosh – it’s so reassuring when people like yourself comment and are in the same boat. I guess I’m not a freak after all. Grace is 2 and 3 months so I suppose it just comes with the territorty doesn’t it? Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment x

  6. Muddling Along

    Hang on in there – it’s a phase, it does get better (trust me on this one)

    Mine both go through bad patches and then suddenly wake up one morning like a different child – I have a theory that they know just how far to push you and it happens just before you get to the point of putting them on ebay!

    We’ve found accentuating the positive has really helped – we have a jar on the side which gets filled up with breadsticks every time they do something good (even if teeny tiny) and with them taken for anything bad and a full jar means TV or stories or whatever they want before bed – has made life a lot less hassle. I’ve also started giving them a choice of two things that are acceptable to me – so this or that outfit not what would they like to wear

    And you aren’t alone – we all have times when being a parent isn’t much fun, it does get better

  7. AnnaBlack

    Every mum on this planet goes through that feeling with every child they have Minty. Any mum who say’s she doesn’t is lying to themselves more than anyone. Even as children grow older we still get that feeling from time to time. However, it doesn’t make us bad mums. Far from it.

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