If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know two things:
- I’m shit at writing regularly. I’m in the process of rectifying this.
- My approach to life, every day and every way is this: just don’t be a dick…
…which is why what my daughter is doing at the moment is just not ok.
I’m not the perfect mother. I can get impatient and shouty and tired. I’m not great at recognising these things and before I know it, I’ve unleashed the rage monster and the kids are crying for ‘Daddy’ with a sense of desperation. I’m not proud of this tendency, but I’m also not beating myself up about it…I’m working hard to try and change it.
It doesn’t come naturally to me. The amount of times I’ve had to pretend I’m getting a phone call mid ‘conversation’ with my three year old, so that I can leave the room to take a few deep breaths (and glugs of wine) to ensure the negotiations are more ‘United Nations’ than ‘Hunger Games’ is too many to count. As hard as it is to do, I know that when I keep my cool, it’s easier for everyone all around. After all, I’m the adult in this situation, right? And, when it’s finally resolved in a calm way, I don’t come out of it looking like a total rage-filled reprobate who’s only recourse is to scare the small people around her into submission.
The problem is, I think my daughter has cottoned on. I think she’s realised that I’m doing my best not to be monster mum that she’s almost seeing how far she can push me. Normally, during the day, I can beat her at this game. After all, during the day, we’ve got all the time in the world. If she would rather shout and scream at me than go on a playdate, or go somewhere cool, then I’m ok with that. If it saves me having to get everyone out of the door and in a car, then honestly, that’s easier for me. No skin off my nose. It’s a parenting win-win.
But when she does it at bedtime? Fuck me, I’m done. How long can I legitimately let her drag out a conversation, a chat, a negotiation, a tantrum before we pass the point of no return and I realise that I’m not just paying for it now, I’ll pay for it tomorrow too. The kid needs to sleep. That’s not me being a mama maniac; that’s just fucking science. I don’t have all the time in the world to be calm and cool and let her wait it out because frankly, I know that she’d rather be awake and fighting than submit to sleep.
And this is why she’s a dick. I’m working really hard on taming the shouty shrew that lives inside of me so that a) I don’t feel like a shit mum for shouting at the kids and b) the kids don’t think I’m a shit mum for shouting at them. But every night at the moment, she makes me bring out the fish wife in me that I’m desperately trying to kill off. She makes me throw threats of cancelled parties and no bedtime stories all delivered at a volume and pitch that leave no room for misunderstanding and then I’m the bad guy all over again and worst of all? She makes me do it so that it’s the last thing she gets to see before she goes to bed.
I came down from the sixth trip upstairs tonight when I’d finally (metaphorically) beaten her into submission and said to my husband, “Sometimes I really fucking hate her for making me do that. Why can’t she just let me give her a cuddle and a kiss and read her a story and say goodnight? Why does she always push me to have to shout and scream at her? Fuck her for making me the bad guy.”
Indeed. Fuck every other small person out there that’s forcing you to be the bad guy and feel a little bit shit about yourself. Sometimes, it’s them being dicks, not us. Sometimes, they ask for it and one day, a long, long time from now, when they have their own kids who are behaving all dickish, you’ll be able to smile a secret smile and know that the odd shouty, parting shot at bedtime wasn’t the worst thing after all.