As a parent each day is filled with fleeting moments of joy interspersed with fleeting moments of frustration/rage and having had three children I have come to realize that there are not very many calm days where everything runs smoothly and there are no nuclear fall-outs.
As a stay at home mom there are times where it all seems worthwhile, like when your baby talks or walks for the first time, when it’s a sunny day and everyone is in the garden having fun running through bubbles (Okay I made the garden bit up but you know what I mean). Then there are times where you question your mental state and wonder where it all went wrong.
This happened to me this week when I found myself on all fours meowing and crawling behind a two and a half year-old who was yelling instructions at me like some kind of demented drill sergeant. I thought to myself, wow you are 38 years old, pretending to be a cat being bossed around by a tiny human being.
Part of me gives in to keep the peace. I know if I don’t she will scream and throw a tantrum and because she is my third and I feel mentally broken and exhausted I just cannot handle listening to the freak-outs anymore. Ryan my eldest got the best of me, he really did. I was reading him books at 8 months-old, there were hours of fire-man sam games. I stopped working because a journalists wages were not going to cover child-care costs. I told myself it would be easy to freelance from home and be one of those people that raised amazing humans whilst completing award winning novels and writing inspiring human interest features at the same time.How deluded was I?
After my second child was born, the overwhelming pressure to be a good mom consumed me. I was lonely. There were no blogs like this or forums to realize that it was okay to not be okay, that the bone sapping tiredness is part and parcel of being a mom. To know that it was okay to dread days stuck at home with a toddler and a newborn because it can be mind numbingly boring and not always fun. To know that they will get older and become insightful, funny people who actually make you laugh, not fake laughing but a real belly aching laugh.
Somewhere along the line children have become the most important people in our household. When I was young, my parent’s marriage was the most important thing in our house and we all came second. When they were talking we knew better than to interrupt, constantly asking for snacks or moaning about the fact that dinner was not up to standard. We knew if we didn’t eat, we would go hungry. If I was to ask my mom today if she ever pretended to be a cat or a dog when playing with me, I guarantee she would find this question hilarious because of how ridiculous it is. And yet here I was licking an imaginary paw and drinking an imaginary bowl of milk to keep a toddler happy.
Enough is enough! I have decided that from now on the adults in this house are going to regain control. If my kids think they are the most important people at home, this will give them a sense of entitlement before they have earned it and this can be a dangerous thing. Kids need to know we are in charge.
We are the CEOs of this corporation and without us they would have nothing.
My five-year-old has been in school just over a month now and she loves it. She adores her teacher and is doing her best to impress everyday. At times she has trouble controlling her temper and can often fly off the handle at home having massive meltdowns. During one of these epic meltdowns I said; “Zoe, would you ever speak to your teacher the way you’re speaking to me?” And through angry tears she said; “No way! Please don’t tell my teacher!!!” And she was genuinely terrified that I was going to tell her teacher how she was shouting and screaming at her own family. This is because in the classroom the most important person is the teacher, she is the boss, the children respect her and so they behave accordingly. The most important people at home should be the parents. We created the army therefore we should have control as army generals.
I’m done pretending to be any kind of animal to keep the peace. I’m done giving my kids options for dinner like it’s a restaurant where they get to pick and choose what they want. I’m done putting my needs and my husband’s needs last behind three small human beings who have an amazing life. From now on I’m going to parent like its 1981. They will probably hate me for it but hey I’m sure in the long run they will respect me for it. Especially when they go out into the world expecting everything to fall into their lap and suddenly realize they have to work just as hard as everybody else.