It all started out quite innocently.
As it usually does.
I may have noticed that I was starting to be the only one that was still having fun, but still we persevered.
After indulging in a delicious, festive dinner and sweet treats, we piled the kids into the car at around 9.30pm and headed home. Yes, it was late, but we were having fun, so it was totally worth it. They were all in quite good spirits considering the time and so I actually felt myself relax.
Once we got home, the kids managed to do their pre-bed ritual of changing and toileting before collapsing into bed into a wonderfully restful sleep.
Except they didn’t.
Instead we had a super volatile 5 year old wanting to desperately go to the toilet. Which I let her do five times. FIVE TIMES in the space of 30 minutes. But on time six I told her that this was ridiculous and her body couldn’t even have produced enough wee to wet an ant since she last went, and then… Well, then she lost her freaking mind.
If you were looking for tantrum central, you would have found it in the girls room last night.
Now look, I get it. Tantrums that is. I know they have an issue that they cannot verbally express properly and so they lose their poo, sometimes literally. I know that they can’t rationalise events like we can and that screaming back at them just fuels the already raging fire. I know they just need to process what’s happening.
I know this.
But what happens when they are just chancing their luck? Or pushing my buttons? Or really just wanting to be a chop?
Surely that’s where discipline comes in. That’s where it’s always come in for us in the past and this time was no different.
So I remained calm but firm. Explaining that she cannot go and she better bloody well deal with it. But nicely you know. I think I would have won the Nobel Freaking Peace Prize for how well I tried to calmly talk reason into her. To show her love. To reason. To love. To gently threaten. To love. To threaten with intent. To reason. To threaten with reason. All the while keeping my calm even though all I wanted to do was lose my cool right back at her and throw in a couple of good whacks for good measure.
But you know child cruelty and all that.
Then Seth shouted at me to follow through on all my gazillion empty threats. And then… Well then I lost my damn mind.
I followed through on the threats that I made to her and when I was done, I slammed the door shut for good measure. Because I’m mature like that and like to make a point.
The result? Well of course she calmed down and they all went to sleep. Following through on all the threats and leaving them in a dark room tends to have that effect. They immediately realise that they have been total assholes for the last hour and Mommy means business.
Except that’s not reality is it?
No. Instead of calming down she went full on super saiyan (excuse the Dragon Ball Z reference that I have never watched but refer to anyway). She screamed so loudly that I thought the windows were going to shatter and she couldn’t breathe.
She screamed so loudly that instead of getting more angry and bucking up as the parent, maybe shouting louder or whatever you’d need to do in a situation like this, all I could do was dissolve into a puddle of tears. I could not stop them running thick and fast down my face. Undeterred she continued. Seth stepped in and managed to get her to stop. Me? My tears didn’t stop.
She managed to come and say sorry to me and give me a few cuddles when she could see that I just couldn’t stop crying, but it’s all really only because Seth stepped in. In reality if it wasn’t for him, we’d still be in that situation, except by now my eyes would have swollen shut and she wouldn’t no longer be able to scream, or maybe even talk, ever again.
Honestly, I went to bed last night as a total failure of a mother.
I thought I’d feel differently today. But I don’t. I feel like I’m unfit to be a mother. They don’t listen. I’m full of empty threats. They don’t listen. I action my threats. They still don’t listen.
I’m so very done. SO done.
And yet, I can’t be. Because that is the very nature of motherhood isn’t it. It doesn’t stop. There’s no wheel to jump off, no check to cash, no papers to throw on the floor. Well actually there’s lots of those – half squiggled with family portraits or butterflies.
We wake up in the morning and pretend to forget how they may have hurt us. They’ve forgotten. To them it’s like it never even happened.
We have that annoying ability to remember. We don’t forget. At least not immediately. Remember childbirth? Exactly.
And we carry on. Because we have to. And hopefully because today will be better.
Today will be better.
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