Today was one of those days. One of those, ‘I’m not cut out for this’ days. Rocket man just wasn’t feeling it and as his mum and safe place, he felt very OK with letting me know. At 15 months old communication takes the form of behaviour, so we’ve had screaming, food throwing, collapsing on the floor in hysterics and complete displeasure in pretty much everything.
When I look back and put it into words it all sounds a bit pathetic. Things like throwing his lunch on the floor, refusing to have his nappy changed and walking from room to room whining. But at the time it feels like an enormous mountain to climb, with flimsy walking boots and no supplies. Each individual act is manageable, but put them all together and I’m left counting the minutes until wine o’clock and questioning why I ever thought I was mother material.
I find these times so draining, but I know other mums wouldn’t get half as stressed as I do. They’d pick up the lovingly prepared spag bol and say, ‘Oh well, try again tomorrow.’ Or turn changing a nappy into a game and not worry about wee-stained carpets. But that’s just not me. It’s not the way I’m wired. On days like today I have to bite my tongue, zone out and go to the happy place in my head.
IT FEELS SO PERSONAL
If I’m honest I never feel like I’m on my ‘A’ game when it comes to all things motherhoodery. I try. God do I try, but I always fear I’m lacking. I’m not even sure what ideal I’m trying to reach. I guess the perfectionist in me wants every day to be spent laughing, singing and dancing in the kitchen. And thank goodness we do have those days because they keep me nourished to cope with the doom days.
I think it’s teething that’s caused the outbursts and my logical head says it’s normal for kids to have off days. I should understand that sometimes my little man just doesn’t fancy anything to eat and doesn’t want to play any bloomin’ games. But somehow it feels so personal.
My burgeoning toddler is finding his way in the world and that means testing mummy and daddy. On a good day I see the funny side of his antics, but today I’m tired and worn down. That cheeky grin as he pushes his food on the floor feels like an act of defiance against me and I can’t help but shout in frustration. I know I should be ‘validating his feelings’ and helping him understand his impulses, but I’m too shattered to do anything more than clear up the mess, check how long it is until Hubster is home and put a bottle of vino in the fridge.
IT’S JUST A BAD DAY
Having children is the biggest test of many people’s lives and it certainly is for me. I feel incredibly lucky to be a mama and we’ve made wonderful memories in the last 15 months. I’m so excited to see Tutti grow and imagine what he’ll be like as a young man. In fact, I think that’s half the pressure. The realisation that how he turns out and whether people deem him ‘well brought up,’ is all on our shoulders. And as the stay-at-home parent I feel that pressure even more fiercely.
I want so much for him to be happy and healthy. For us to be a close family and to enjoy magical moments amongst all the chaos. But on days like today I know I wasn’t enough for my little boy. He needed me to be strong and show my love for him despite his tantrums. Instead I did everything I could to remove myself from the situation. Not physically, but mentally.
But you know what? I’m sensible enough to realise that today was just a bad day. We have lots of fun times and rub along together very merrily. The fact I even care about all this stuff shows I am a good mum. Tutti is a happy and healthy toddler, who climbs onto my lap for quiet-time at the end of every day and won’t go to sleep without a mummy cuddle. Throughout the day he comes to me just for ‘a love’ and his beaming smile melts my heart. He’s a chirpy and curious little chappy, with the odd outburst to keep us on our toes!
I’ve mentioned before (Becoming a stay-at-home mum) that motherhood isn’t my natural habitat, so it’s easy to feel like I’m never enough. But I am. I am enough because I know I’m trying my very best.
I wasn’t enough today, but that’s OK because tomorrow is another day…
How do you cope at challenging times?