I have to admit something, and this one is for all the parents out there who might feel the same but don’t have the confidence to admit it….
Sometimes, I don’t like my child.
Don’t think that I don’t love her at these times, because I do. But I don’t like her.
I guess I should explain myslef here. You see, Willow has a very short fuse, she tends to flip out at the smallest detail, sometimes it’s because the cat is by her, other times it may be because I won’t let her pour her own drink. It’s all a bit trivial really, but I find it extremely annoying. I don’t know how many hours of my days are filled with telling Willow that she can’t pour hot kettle water because it’s dangerous. That she mustn’t climb on furniture to get into cupboards. She wants to do what mummy and daddy can do and with no understanding of limitations, she gets told no many, many times a day. All these No’s result in tantrums and hissy fits, stamping feet and screaming shouting, and all of that combined results in incessant crying! I don’t just mean a little cry, I mean full blown tears, snot bubbles and wailing kind of crying.
In the morning, I can cope. I can calmy defuse the situation without having to raise my voice and become too stern but by the afternoon I don’t just want to pull my hair out, I want to pluck myself bald all over! It’s exhausting, not only for me but for her too! She wears herself down and by the time bedtime comes, it’s straight to bed for my grumpy princess.
Sometimes Willow and I conflict, even at the age of 2 my daughter has very strong opinions, she’s very persistent, argumentative and determined, as am I, if there’s ever a disagreement in the kaboodle house, it’s usually me and willow at loggerheads over something.
I must admit, I lose my temper too. I shout and get angry too. I have told willow off, I have shouted at willow and I have told her no, stop it, don’t do that, and all of the other negatives. I’ll be honest, when willow is emptying her lungs trying to get her point across, she’s normally faced with the same force coming back at her while I try to plead my case to her. It’s certainly fighting fire with fire. And that’s something that upsets me too, the fact that she is channelling her inner me when she’s fighting for her right to do what she wants by shouting at me, she’s just doing what I have done to her. And she’s right, I shout at her to get my point across, she’s just doing the same thing. There are times I get so incredibly angry that I have to walk away from my crying child, I have to leave the room to get away from her because I would continue to scream and shout at her. I know it’s uneccessary and I walk away. Sometimes willow does this too, she walks away when I am talking to her. Again, she is simply reacting the way she sees me react when I am in a temper. It’s frustrating because I feel awful, after shouting at her or reprimanding her, I want to world to swallow me up and at times I have walked away before now, just to burst out crying because I have reached my inner limit.
I have struggled with post natal depression for the best part of Wilows life so far, even though I am much better now and in a much better mental state, I still struggle with keeping my cool. I admit, there are times when the days have been long and I simply have no fuse and I turn into a NO kind of mummy, a DONT DO THAT kind of mummy, a STOP THAT RIGHT NOW kind of mummy. I turn into the opposite of everything I hoped I would be as a mother, a mother with too little time and not enough patience. A mother who is failing her daughter by being uneccessaryily angry, impatient and loud. I know I am doing a good job with willow, so I know that I’m not actually failing, but it feels like I am. I know that she doesn’t need anything more than I am giving her, but sometimes I wish I could control the dislike I have for her, I don’t want to feel that way about my daughter, I don’t want to dislike something I wanted for so long. My miracle child. I should still be on cloud 9, even thought she’s nearly 3!
But I have no control over her actions, unless I locked her away, these things will keep happening, because that’s life. We all dislike people from time to time, our friends, our parents, our husbands, wives, siblings and yes, even our children. It’s okay to dislike people occasionally, it’s okay to feel negatively about certain behaviours in people, whether they’re your kids or not, it’s normal.
It’s normal to feel angry too. Or upset, maybe hurt? It’s all normal. I know it’s not nice to say out loud, sometimes I dislike my child but it’s honest. Sometimes I am ashamed of myself for getting cross with her, but I do. And that can’t be helped. What keeps me from feeling like an utter wreck of a parent is knowing that for eveytime I shout there are a hundred more kisses and cuddles shared, a numberless amount of unforgettably special moments shared and a thousand more I LOVE YOU’s spoken. Even when I feel like a failure, I’m not actually failing, I’m just getting it a little bit wrong, and that’s okay too, to make mistakes.
I’m not saying that this is what life is like day in and day out, because that would be a lie. The truth is that I still love the very bones of my child, every inch of her, every hair on her head is precious to me and sometimes, that’s the reason my anger becomes what it does, because I am concerned, worried. Those things she shouldn’t do fill me with fear, fear that she may get hurt, damaged, broken or lost and any single one of those things break my heart, from a scratch to a broken bone, I never want that to happen. I never want her to feel pain or feel sad but in doing so, I cause her to get upset anyway.
As much as I would love to say I can’t win, it’s not about winning, it’s about taking the rough with the smooth and making sure that even in the moments you feel dislike towards your child, they never feel unloved. Kids will grow to understand why you shouted, but they’ll never understand why they feel unloved if we don’t take the time to remind them that they’re the most loved thing in your life.
That’s why, for all the time we spend shouting at each other, we spend ten times the amount being friends. Being nothing more than mother and daughter.