Before you instantly jump in with either a yes or a no (dependent upon whether you are one of my occasionally delightful trolls who believe I am selling my daughter on this blog in order to make money – delightful by the way) just hear me out. Alyssa is two and a half soon to be three going on 14 and in the middle of what can only be described as a phase reminiscent to that of a teenager. We appear to have gone past the silly toddler phase of running off and at one point hitting/smacking which was bad enough (especially when done in public to the chorus of a million tuts from the observers around us) and now appear to be in the answering back, shouting no and in general misbehaving and purposefully doing something wrong phase which is, I have to say wonderous. We went on a play date two weeks ago (FYI haven’t heard from the friend since) where granted she wasn’t feeling her best, Alyssa wouldn’t sit at the table and eat, wouldn’t do as she was told at all, had tantrums and also did in fact smack me whilst my friends two children sat watching in amazement whilst behaving impeccably. I found myself apologising in a message once I’d arrived home and was of course told I didn’t need to apologise but I felt I did. I was angry. I was disappointed. I was sad. Mostly at myself…
Whilst sat, running round or trying to hide my embarrassment at my friends house and inwardly wanting to scream for Alyssa to stop but outwardly remaining the perfect figure of calm and collected all I could think about was that saying…
“There are no bad children, Only bad parents!”
So if Alyssa was doing all these things she wasn’t meant to do and behaving appallingly at times, does that mean that I am a bad mother?As I said, I did remain calm with her and followed the same process we do at home with two warnings and a third meaning some time on the time out chair with her stopping each and every time before needing to be put on the chair. However, inside I was angry. I was so cross and I was thinking about that post I wrote about being “Angry Mama“ that person I really don’t like being and never wanted to be.
Well, I didn’t turn into angry mama and kept my cool, even when we got home. I knew she was having a bad day as well do sometimes. Alyssa uses her bad days as an excuse to play up which isn’t right at all but makes it more understandable. When she’d woken that morning, I had known it wouldn’t be a great day so perhaps it was my own fault for pushing her to go when she’d have been happy just resting at home. However, I’d been desperate to go. Desperate to see a friend, talk to a friend, interact with a friend and hopeful that Alyssa would make new friends of her own too. So am I a bad mother for pushing her to go, all because I wanted to go?
Two weeks ago we got to go away on a mini-holiday to Bluestone Wales (post to come) and I got to take some of my family including Nonna, Lily, Uncle Ollie and Aunty Vicky as well as Alyssa of course. We all needed a little time away to relax and the girls are so close we thought it would be wonderful for them to holiday together and it was. They enjoyed themselves immensely as did the adults. However, we still had tantrums, shoutings of NO and pure damn disobedience. Again, I was cross inside. I was cross that she was spoiling moments of a holiday I had worked hard to provide and cross that she was playing up in front of people. At one point we were in the pool with her running away which obviously could have been very dangerous considering she can’t swim and was heading deeper and deeper.
I know I was with family but I was also worried what they would think of her behaviour. There were a few gasps and looks which were to be expected. If there is no such thing as a bad child, I sit here wondering am I a really bad mother?
Truth? However much I worry about how good a mother I am, somewhere deep, deep down, buried within the sleep deprivation, expanding waistline and fifty feet of other worries I know I am not and if you’re sat here reading this wondering the same thing about yourself then I need to tell you that you aren’t either. My wise mother and a few very wise friends have said to me…
” The fact you worry about whether you are a good enough mother, means you’re already much better than you think!”
I have to say, I like this saying much better than the first. I am not a bad mother, I am merely a parent doing their best. I am raising a strong, somewhat stubborn, independent young girl who at times gets exceedingly frustrated by her own limitations and the limitations I give her for her own good and well being. This of course results in her “playing up” and pushing boundaries as a way of releasing her frustration. Yes it’s not good behaviour and yes it is annoying and upsetting and a million other things for us as parents but actually at some point, when we probably don’t even realise it, they’ll grow out of it and learn how to control and channel all these feelings and emotions that currently overwhelm them.
When your child is “being naughty” it’s incredibly hard to remember to stay calm and honestly I don’t always manage it as it’s so god damn frustrating and it can be really difficult in these moments to remember the good times and the lovely things that they do. However, in my more lucid and less cross moments I have to remind myself that this is her way of learning and growing. I don’t want her to hide her emotions and not feel like she can be herself with me. I adore it when she comes over and wraps her arms around me and says “I like hugs mama and I love you,” but not all moments can be like this because even as adults we are not always happy. We are sad, angry, defiant, courageous and a million other adjectives I don’t have the time to type out. So no, she is not a bad child, I am not a bad mother and no neither are you.