Saturday, 5 March 2016
The fraud of motherhood
Do you have those days when you feel like you are just pretending at this whole 'parenting' thing? I mean parenting itself is really just a big game of making it up as you go, but some days it feels like your attempts to play the game are about to unravel and you'll be exposed as a fraud.
This was me most of the week.
My daughter has really been pushing my buttons the last few days. I think she is desperate to communicate with me but the words just aren't coming out yet and it has resulted in a series of epic tantrums!
The worst of them came when I thought I'd go to the supermarket and get our grocery shopping done. What was I thinking? Her tantrums had been getting increasingly worse all morning so why did I not expect one to occur in the supermarket?
We got the carpark and I pulled her out of the car while she was quite happily playing with her little lion friend and took her upstairs to the supermarket. I thought 'this is going quite well, we'll be ok.'
I proceed to put her in the shopping trolley seat and do it up. No tears there, good sign.
I walk into the supermarket and think 'I'll give her a snack to keep her happy' so I grab one of those 'free fruit for kids' banana's (side-note - best idea ever). This was the beginning of the end.
The mere sight of me peeling the banana caused her lip to quiver, her face turn red and I knew it was coming. The whining started as she turned her head away from the banana and then she started screaming. I'm talking the kind of screaming where every single person in the store stops and looks at me because I clearly must be torturing the poor little thing. Then she starts kicking and throwing her body back against the metal bars of the shopping trolley. I can feel every eye on me.
In my wisdom I think 'I'll take her out and calm her down, she probably just doesn't want to be in the trolley' and at this point I just want to calm her. Bad idea. Arms flailing, legs kicking, increasing screaming. She doesn't want to be held, she doesn't want to be put on the ground. It felt like hours but was probably only 10 minutes but by now I'm in tears and I hear a woman mutter to herself as she walks past. So I try to hold the screaming child in one arm while digging through my bag with the other hoping desperately to find something that will sedate her. I find a fruit bar. The frantically pull off the wrapping and shove it in the Koala's mouth. Screaming subsides, legs stop kicking, arms start clinging to the little fruit bar.
I wipe off my tears and hold onto my child as I push the trolley with my free hand. I try to hold my head high and pretend no one noticed.
The tantrums didn't stop there, there was another as I tried to put her in the car to go home. Another when I gave her lunch, another when I wouldn't let her touch a Redback spider. Another when I took her inside to change her nappy. Another when I stopped her climbing up and down the stairs for the 100th time. Another when I gave her dinner. Another when I took her out of the bath.
By bedtime I felt I was failing at the parent thing, all I had done all day was yell at my child or give in to her ridiculous demands. I was waiting for someone to come in and tell me I wasn't doing a good enough job and I wasn't fit to be a mother.
The truth is, we are all frauds in a way. We are all just muddling through it and doing the best we can.
The reality is I'm doing a great job. As parents we all have bad days, we all have days when we feel like we aren't up to the job.
Everyone has bad days. Mums and toddlers included. It doesn't make us bad parents if our kids have tantrums or if we give them a treat once in a while to keep them happy, it just makes us human. So remember on those days you feel like giving up, you aren't alone and you aren't the only one, we are all in this parenting thing with you.
You're doing a great job!