So this probably isn’t the best time to write… Anger fuelled, border line crazy and tired…it’s just those articles! I read a blog post about some parent’s experience and it’s tipped me over the edge. You know those articles, the ones that are all: ‘So, I got busy with the housework and was then, like… Oh my baby is a teenager; and where did the time go?’ and they come with the warning ‘Make the most of every hour with your kids, it passes so quick, and if you don’t, you will live with the guilt until you die’ . You know the ones.
I hate them, I know it’s irrational, but I really hate them. Why do people write these things? Are they motivated by a sense of false guilt or are they writing them in the ‘golden hour’ when their kids are asleep and have miraculously forgotten the horrible day they just had?
This particular blog was titled: ‘The Day My Son Gave Up on Me’. Now, I really don’t want to make anyone feel bad and I am sure this was a article represented a special moment for the author, but really? What a guilt inducing title! What on earth had she done?? Did she go out and leave the kid on their own at night? Did she forget her child on a shopping trip, leaving him in alone in the veg aisle while she sauntered off to the frozen food section? Did she force her child to ask friends and family for money? What dreadful thing has this terrible mother done???
Do you know what she did? Parents of the nation stand with me as we prepare to make our judgements and cast this mother into the black pit of failed parents. She…she, I am not sure I can even type it! This mother was guilty of being grumpy. The heinous crime she committed was being grumpy when her child called down for a drink after the bedtime routine was done. Can you believe it!? What an awful mother!
When one of my three children calls out following the usual three hour bedtime ‘routine’, I usually skip back up the stairs, singing about love with a tray of delights to appease my child. Nothing short of room service in this house!
Are you kidding?! What do these people think we are supposed to be doing for our kids? Are we expected to provide the ultimate hotel experience, whilst applying all the positive reinforcement of a trained ‘Yes-man’? Are we as parents supposed to let go of self to such a degree that we become inhuman? What are we teaching our kids? Are we going to take positive discipline to such a degree that we excuse any bad behaviour by saying that it must result from the uncomfortable environment that we have selfishly put the kids in?
Think about it!
In my opinion, bedtimes are horrible. I am, on the whole, grumpy at bedtimes. Since my first child (who is now 10) was born, bedtimes have been awful. He would not go to sleep, he did not want to be left on his own and he cried and cried. We tried everything! We exhausted ourselves with different sleep training programs like the well known “controlled crying” (felt like I cried more than he did). After reading “The Baby Whisperer” we bumped him up to family position no.1, whilst we bowed and scraped around him. We tried staying with him, leaving him, music, white noise, classical radio and none of it worked. When he was old enough to move around he decided that if the big people insisted on putting him in a cage and plunging the room into darkness then he would have to find other ways of amusing himself.
We hit a particular low one evening. We settled down in the lounge and realised that all was quiet. At first we were delighted! Ben was not crying, he may even be asleep!!! An evening to ourselves,wonderful! How naive we were! Had we realised the true extent of that boys genius, we would never have relaxed. Later that night, we glanced in on our angel baby. Two happy eyes stared back, glowing in the darkness. A funny smell hit our nostrils, ugh, nappy change needed. Light on.
Our angel baby had been busy, he had been busy with his nappy. He had been busy with the contents of his nappy. There was poo up and down the bars of the cot, poo rubbed into the sheet, poo flung to the four corners of the room, poo on his face, poo squeezed up into each tiny finger nail, poo in his hair, poo on his baby-grow. Poo everywhere.
It took a long time to recover from that night. It took weeks to get rid of the poo smell, which was not helped by a bit of poo that had got stuck under the door and resulted in a poo rainbow being rubbed into the carpet every time the door was opened and closed. It took us days to work that one out.
I am not even going to talk about Ben’s move from cot to bed. Or how many times my son called out, got out, screamed out, broken stuff, snuck computers, torches, food, scissors, sellotape, brothers or sisters into his bed at night or how he has used the time to explore other areas of the house (like our bedroom) over the last 10 years. I can’t: it’s too rage-inducing.
The point is, our kids are individuals, they are not always ‘well behaved’ and we are human! These adorable little beasties are going to test us to the limit. They have diploma’s and PHD’s in it. They will make us angry, react badly and generally exhibit behaviour that is not so dissimilar to that of the toddler’s we are trying to manage but, this does not mean that we are wasting those precious years with them, that we don’t love them enough. I love all my kids to bits, even the Poo-Meister!
At the end of the day, during those five whole minutes of ‘me time’ I will often look back on our adventures and smile. I love their feisty characters and I’m so glad to have them. BUT, I reckon it’s O.K. to be grumpy sometimes, to have horrible days, to make mistakes, to admit to our friends that we don’t know what we are doing and just own up to being human! That’s not missing out, it’s life and:
“hands up! I don’t have a clue, My name is Jennet, I’m a Clergyman’s wife and every day I mess my kids up a little, and then every evening I pray that God will sort them (and me) out a whole lot.”