It Breaks My Heart That It’s True

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?

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10 Responses to It Breaks My Heart That It’s True

  1. joyanne says:

    i hope it’s what counts, cos it’s all i can do too. all any of us can do. been struggling for the past 7 weeks or so with mega anxiety issues, and tried to keep them from both G and R for as long as i could but once G left it’s just R and me at home and i’ve been a mess – crying, unable to listen to him properly much of the time, miserable to be around, self obsessed – and even called the ambulance once i was so strung and R came home while they were there and freaked out. I am consumed with both guilt and shame at being this crappy, crack pot mom and for what i’m doing to his sense of self and yet – i am going to counselling, i have made arrangements for him to see someone he can talk to, i’ve been honest with him (and at 13 he says he’d rather i was than that i try hide it from him) – and i have been this low before and will be ok again, i know that. i’m also doing the best i can. it doesn’t feel like it’s enough but what more can we do?

  2. Sally-Jane says:

    I hear you. been in the same boat. When I am stressed and just need them to behave they of course don’t because they pick up on my stress. This is the hardest job ever. We all just do our best. As my mom says true bravery in parenting is knowing today was not great but that you get to try again tomorrow.

  3. Super Sarah says:

    Yes, I completely understand, I have been struggling with the same issues lately and blogging my thoughts about why I shout and what kind of lessons I am teaching my girls by shouting. Sigh. Parenting is the great leveller, we all have good days and bad days. I think the most important thing is to be gentle with yourself, we all know when we are not getting it right for whatever reason, the really big, brave step is admitting it and making real changes.

  4. Of course that is what counts. The harsh truth is that at times they test us and it might just be when we are tested in other places in our lives too.

    But the great thing is that after the testing good times usually folluws. Happy, amicable times.

  5. Wendy May says:

    There is no parenting manual, and no two circumstances or situations are ever alike, and just because one lot of discipline worked it doesn’t mean it will work again!!! Parenting is unpredictable, full of trial and error and hard work. The important thing is to admit when you are wrong and that you don’t always know, and if you gonna be “parenting”, be the best that YOU can possibly be – because you don’t get better than your best!!

  6. TC says:

    FYI- you are a good parent #thatisall xx

  7. alidaonline says:

    I can never say this too many times and right now I want you to hear it … Mums are super special human beings and in my eyes have superhuman powers that non-mums like me could not even begin to understand.

    I don’t think it’s ever easy but you are trying and you love your little man dearly and those are the things that count. There is no parenting manual unfortunately.

  8. Angel says:

    Trying is indeed what counts. I kick myself at least once a day for things I should or could have done and didn’t do, and things I did that I shouldn’t have…

  9. Lisa says:

    Being a parent is a difficult job, one that comes without instructions. All we can do is try and do the best we can. Every day I look at my daughter and think how I have been blessed with the special gift. Its hard not to panic and think “I get one shot, I better not mess this up”
    Lisa´s last blog post ..Gentleman do exist..

  10. cupcakemummy says:

    i hope that trying counts as i am clearly bluffing my way through this parenting things. and i think more so when you have a son than a daughter as i have to try and play the daddy role as well and i will admit that it is HARD.
    well… so far so good and at least he feels comfortable enough to tell you straight how he feels so you can’t be THAT bad a parent. strongs, hugs and lots of patience coming your way xxx
    cupcakemummy´s last blog post heart will always remember you

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