It’s not easy being a parent. It doesn’t get easier. In fact, it gets more complicated, the bigger he gets and the older he gets. He’s willful, stubborn, impatient and has ears that are purely for decorational purposes – they serve no function. He hears only what he wants to, and ignores everything else. Much like his mum, I guess.
On Sunday, the two of us went to the park to hang out and spend some time together while his daddy napped. This gave us a chance to sit on the grass – in between chasing each other around and playing Hulk vs The Abomination (his favourite movie, his favourite hero and the ultimate baddie). He told me that I’ve been a bad mommy lately. That I’ve been mean to him, and that I shout at him too much. He told me that he loves me, and that he forgives me for being a bad mom.
Enter mommy guilt.
Huge mommy guilt. Because he’s right, and because it’s true. I have been a bad mommy. And not a bad mommy in a flippant, irreverent way. I’ve been a bit stressed out lately, and it just seems like nothing I do is good enough for him – but I guess he’s just been reflecting my own mood, my own state of mind. Grumpy, whiny and fuck-the-world-I’m-doing-as-I-damn-well-please.
I’ve spent a lot of time the last few weeks shouting to make myself heard. To try and get him to listen to me. It seems the only time he pays attention, is when I shout. I hate shouting, and I hate time-outs, and I hate smacked bottoms. I hate being the disciplinarian, because I don’t really know what I’m doing. I hate that my insecurities seem to be rubbing off on him.
About that mommy guilt. I have it bad. I’ve resolved to be more patient with him. Not to shout, but rather to be patient enough to make myself heard, and to help him understand what he does that makes me cross. I’ve resolved to do more fun things with him, spend more time with him, and to focus on the good behaviour. To focus on the things that he’s good at, and does well. To spend more time talking to him, and more time listening to what he says, and how he feels. He might only be three years old, but he’s perfectly capable of expressing emotions and himself. And it’s been better, since Sunday. We’ve all been happier, calmer and a lot more reasonable.
Being a parent isn’t easy and you have to learn as you go along. It’s funny how you think that you’re going to teach your child things and help him grow. You never realise, until after the fact, how your child is actually the one to teach you things and help you grow.
He’s changed me for the better, but sometimes I need to be reminded of that. I’m not a perfect parent, I’m not even a good parent. But I am trying.
And that’s what counts, isn’t it?