When I was at school if I studied and studied and studied there was a pretty good chance I could get an A but with parenting I can study and study and study and think I know exactly what to do (sometimes just because it worked last time so it should work this time right??? At least that’s how it was at school) but even though I studied there is often no right answer or way of doing it. It worked with the first why not the second? Who knows?
I feel like I am living under the burden of too much information. I turn on the radio, turn on the TV, go on the internet, talk to my friends, read the paper, read a magazine and everywhere I am being told how to be a good parent. 10 tips here, rewards charts, tone of voice, use these words, buy this book everyone everywhere has worked it out and has that one magical solution I need to make it all easier if I can buy this or that it will be sorted (kind of like weight loss promises ….. as iffffff). But alas there is no magical solution.
I just mostly feel overwhelmed that somehow I am screwing up my kids for life. This is how they want me to feel so I buy their products …. whoever they are (I do love a good conspiracy). I wish they would go away. I wish I could feel at peace as a mum. Although I say this it is not all gloom and doom. I sometimes do feel happy with my parenting but the reality is the guilt and doubting always manages to find its way in.
Yesterday I decided to have a YES day with my 3 year old. Just do whatever she wanted and not get caught up and busy with the stuff I needed / wanted to do. This is exactly what I feel guilty about most of my time. Not spending enough time with my kids on things they want to do. Not listening and talking to them with no agenda. Not being present to them and their needs and wants and always getting caught up in what the next thing to do is.
In my head I just pictured a stress free happy day with my little cherub. She wanted to go for a scooter to the park and have a play and a picnic …. that sounds nice I thought. So off we went … wear what you want, eat what you want, do what you want. The plan was a child focused and led day of connecting and creating together (that sounds like expert advice right??). What I forgot was a 3 year old often doesn’t know what they want. Or they know what they want but have changed their mind in 2 minutes or they want to do things they just can’t do (mostly for safety reason).
I want to ride my bike …. no I want to ride my scooter …. no I want you to carry me …. no I want to go to the other park …. no I don’t want to hold your hand crossing the big busy road while you are trying to wrangle two scooters and a backpack …… WHAT DO YOU WANT??? YOU CAN HAVE IT TODAY BUT WHAT DO YOU WANT?? I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO?? I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO GIVE YOU?? I AM TRYING MY BEST!! WHY ARE YOU NOT HAPPY WITH THAT?? These questions are just going round and round in my head as I feel like curling up in a ball and crying because I feel like I can’t win … I feel like I don’t know what to do …. I feel like a failure ….. I am trying to do what the experts say …. I am trying to be present and listen to my child, turn off the tv, go outside, be available but it’s not working. Well it kind of is working but it’s not perfect …. it’s rarely perfect ….. I’m a crappy mum …. or at least that’s what I tell myself in these situations.
I feel like this often and wonder will I ever feel at peace …. I am assuming not BECAUSE I am not a perfect mother and I never will be ….. BECAUSE I am screwing up my kids in little ways but hey, we are ALL screwed up in little ways. I don’t know if I have fully accepted this reality yet. Somehow I still think I can work it out, that magical little secret but the reality is I can’t because it doesn’t exist. I am broken, I am flawed, I am not perfect. I don’t know if I will ever stop yelling at my children, I would like to but I often find myself so overwhelmed trying to respond how the experts say but it’s NOT WORKING and I feel so defeated that all I can do is yell because somehow that seems to work … at least for now. So yeah I am a parent that YELLS …. I wish I wasn’t but I am (note: I have tried whispering before and that seemed quite effective … mix it up a bit keep them guessing lol).
I don’t have any tips or advice for you. But just know if you feel like no matter how hard you try as a parent it’s never good enough … so do I and I would bet you so does every other mother …. even the ones who act like they are the best mothers on facebook or at playgroup or at school pickup. My parents screwed me up a little bit and I am ok ….. so despite the fact that I know I am screwing my kids up a little bit I am going to CHOOSE to believe that I love them and always will and they are going to be OK ….. who’s with me??
Written by Sam Shazzam aka School Mum