Yesterday morning you demanded to sit on my lap at the breakfast bar as I was eating my lunch. You always do this and it doesn’t bother me, in fact I love it. But yesterday you’d been testing me all morning with constant strops and challenges, and I wasn’t in the best of moods. So when you kept scraping your finger through the ketchup and licking it, I told you that I would put you on the floor if you did it again. You did it again so I put you on the floor. An almighty tantrum ensued.
I know it was my fault, I handled it badly. You don’t react to threats and I knew nothing good would come from it. I didn’t feel like ‘positive parenting’ yesterday. I couldn’t be bothered. I wasn’t in the mood. I was tired of you.
I know that I’m the adult and you’re barely two years old. I know that you can’t think rationally and you have no other way of expressing your frustrations other than to kick and scream.
I know that you don’t mean to hurt me when I go to get you out of bed in the morning and you throw a tantrum because I’m not your Daddy. I know that when you throw your Cheerios on the floor it’s because you genuinely really want cornflakes and you don’t do it just to annoy me. I know that when I have to force you into your car seat kicking and screaming, it’s not because you’re trying to make us even later for that appointment, you have no concept of time.
But some days I feel like kicking and screaming too. Some days I too find it hard to think rationally. Like the other evening when you screamed ‘No Daddy!’ at me as I started to read you a book in bed. I wanted to cry and tell you to stop being an ungrateful little brat and show some respect to your mother. Some days when I’m trying to help you put on your shoes, or show you how to use a new toy and you scream at me for interfering, I want to storm off like a child shouting ‘do it yourself then!’ Perhaps I have done.
I know that I am the adult, but some days I struggle with it. Some days I don’t have an infinite amount of patience. Some days I am a bad mother.
I remember when I was a kid myself – those days when I would wonder what the hell was up with mum today. She was being unusually short with me, she was rougher with my hair brush than usual, she was walking fast and dragging me along beside her far less patiently than usual. I didn’t realise that my tantrums had likely been testing her for hours, or that she was running late for an important appointment, or that she’d just hung up after an upsetting phone call…
But the reason why I remember these times is because she was so patient, caring and loving – pretty much all of the time. She was – and still is – a phenomenal mother.
I hope that you’ll forgive me for those days when I am not the mother I want to be. I hope that one day, when you have your own children, you will understand how much love I have for you in every ounce of my being. Some days I am a bad mother. But most of the time I am phenomenal.
And you are a phenomenal daughter.