When I had Oliver, I knew there was a certain way I wanted to do things. I wanted to make all his meals from scratch, I wanted to breastfeed him. I wanted to teach him, not punish him, I wanted to ensure that I encouraged him to grow strong in who he was.
He was my child, my job was to guide and nurture him, not to restrict and limit him. I wanted to cultivate creativity, I didn’t want him to spend hours in front of a TV screen, I wanted to be intentional with my language around him, I didn’t want to use the word naughty.
As I had more children my aspirations grew, cloth nappies, ‘extended’ breastfeeding, baby wearing, baby led weaning and I learnt of a movement called Gentle Parenting
I was all over that shit! Gentle parenting spoke to me, one of the basic principles were following your child’s lead, this worked really well for me. The woman afraid of a schedule.
I focused on listening to my children and trying to realise that they weren’t purposely being defiant and having tantrums, but that they didn’t have the capacity to deal with all the emotions that were flooding their little bodies and minds. Heck, I’ve had 32 years of this and I still lose my shit on the daily when I get overwhelmed, and this my friends is exactly what I want to write about.
Since becoming pregnant with fourth child and son, Ezra. Something has changed. It’s like I have this beast living within me, and all it takes is one prod, for it to rear its ugly head and break free with a carnal roar that devours everything in its path.
I don’t like it.
I have always been the patient, caring parent. The one that would see the situation from the child’s perspective, but not any more. My mouth is often tensed, with clenched teeth, my shoulders raised and my voice ready to explode at any moment. Its my poor kids that bear the brunt of this. I do not know where my patience has gone?
Is it because I have more children than hands? Is it because I changed my birth control [Yes we do use it, hahaha] Is It because I am constantly stressed and sleep deprived. Is it because I no longer care? Is it just me? Am I just a bad person, or worse, Mother?
I don’t know
Maybe it is a combination? Maybe it is none of these things at all? All I know is, it is NOT OK! I need to take the time to regain the self I have lost. To become the parent I was once proud to be. To be the Mother my son, wants to talk to, to spend time with. Not the Mother who he thinks is going to tell him off…again. I want to be the the Mother who comes up with solutions to our problems, not making the situation worse ranting and raving, leaving said son feeling, hurt and rejected and me sad, upset and disappointed in myself.
All I know is my parenting is so far from where I want it to, from where I envisioned it would be. My children spend far too much time in front of a screen and I can’t even say “at least what they are watching is educational”. My children eat some form of chocolate and treats EVERYDAY and they require constant stimulation, Oliver particularly just cannot handle being BORED.
This is not how I want to parent and this is not how I want my children to live. There is a wonderful, song by Nichole Norderman, on her Woven and Spun Album. Which always makes me think of my parenting journey.
EVEN THEN [WOVEN AND SPUN]
“It’s a fear that keeps me wide awake
In the middle of the night
When the expectations are too great
And the bar gets raised too high
So I do the best with what I’ve got
And hope that no one knows
That I strain to see how high I can
Try to stand on these toes
Until I measure up *”
* I very slightly changed the phrasing of the last sentence.
So, my plan is to tame the beast within, it will take time, but it will be worth it. I am going to be beginning with taking time for me, as the age old saying goes “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. This is so true and I think it is something I and many other Mothers/Wives/Humans need to take on board. We can sometimes give so much of ourselves, that we don’t even realise when there is nothing left to give.
I want to practice counting to 10, when I feel like I am about to lose my shit, just take that extra deep breath and think about what consequences my actions will have. I don’t want my children to spend their adulthood trying to deal with the crap from their childhood. I want to find little pockets of time to tryout breathing and mini meditation techniques. I am so sick of hearing my own voice, I want to learn to be pro active rather than reactive like I am now.
I also want to go back to basics, giving the children a minimum of 8 seconds to reply when asked a question. This may not seem like long, but try counting to 8 seconds when you ext ask your child a question, I guarantee it will feel like an insanely long time for you, but you will be surprised that by giving them time to process the question, formulate an answer and sometimes even giving them time to stop focusing on the task at hand and just listen, it can result in much better communication and less frustration.
Here’s hoping if I make these changes that I will once again notice the woman staring back at me. That I will be calmer and that the east can be left sleeping and only awoken for things that truly matter. I would love to know if you have even been through anything like this and how you pulled it back?
Thanks for reading, hope this wasn’t too much like being a fly on the wall in a therapy session [ for any therapists, I’ve never had therapy, sorry if that was allll kinds of wrong ]
Much love and many thanks