We’ve all been there. Not that you’ll hear anyone admitting it. Have you ever seen a Facebook status saying, “My son was being such a little brat today. I really wanted to punch something but instead, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried while he banged on the door to be let in. But I feel much better now, phew!” Most people are pretty private when it comes to sharing their struggles and parenthood is no exception.
I’ve had a few friends lately express to me what a difficult time they’ve been having juggling their kid(s), household errands, work, financial, family and personal issues. It broke my heart when one dear friend said to me, “But other mums are in similar situations to me and they’re coping. Why can’t I?”
No, no, no!!! YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Feeling overwhelmed and thinking negative thoughts about yourself and your child does not make you a bad parent. Worrying you aren’t coping definitely does not make you a bad parent. It makes you a normal human being.
It’s a tough ask being a mum. You can no longer put yourself first. It doesn’t matter if you are sick, tired, sad, lonely or anxious; your children need to be taken care of 24/7 and it requires a lot of energy that can be incredibly difficult to find. And let’s face it, our kids don’t always make it easy for us do they?
There are many, many times when I have felt overwhelmed. Just this morning, Tilly threw a wobbly when I wiped her face after breakfast and oh my goodness it was all downhill from there. I said horrible things I didn’t mean. I stormed off into the kitchen and ignored her. I sat with my face in my hands and tried to steady my breathing. I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs, jumping in the car and taking off for the rest of the day.
And once the whole ridiculous episode was over, I felt pretty guilty. Why on earth did I overreact like that?! How ungrateful and selfish am I?! But then I reminded myself that I am still a great mum. I’m not superwoman, but I do my best and I love my daughter more than anything in this world. I can be impatient, easily frustrated and snappy, but I’m still a great mum.
I might get a bit of flack for saying this, but there is an incredibly fine line that we can cross when our babies are upset and we feel totally powerless. Before I became a mum, I wondered how on earth anybody could ever shake their baby out of frustration. But now… I totally get it.
I’m absolutely not talking about the violent acts perpetrated by disgusting individuals we have seen on the news that have left families with devastating losses. I’m talking about your average parent, who is possibly already under stress of some kind or isn’t really knowledgeable as to how to manage what they are feeling or deal with the situation in front of them, and momentarily snaps. They are then left thinking, “Oh my god, what did I just do?! Imagine what could’ve happened?! What kind of a person am I?!” I thankfully have not crossed that line, but I see now why new mums are given so much information on what to do when they start feeling like they are about to break: Put baby somewhere safe, and leave the room for a bit to calm down. I think so many parents find themselves on the verge of a moment like this, more than anyone would want to admit.
If you are struggling to cope, you must reach out to somebody you trust. Don’t keep it inside and feel embarrassed. It is not moments like these that define you as a mother. You are so much more than that. The people who love you will want you to reach out to them for the help that you need.
Support and encourage each other mamas and dads!
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