I’ve had a terrible week. Little Cat (3) has been very hard work indeed, angry, blaming, purposefully contrary and just not very pleasant to be around at all. I have been tired, hormonal and reacting in ways which are very out of character for me. There have been moments where I felt utter despair and wanted to run away and hide.
Today I had one of those moments. I felt so stressed and angry. I couldn’t understand why he was being so very horrible to me. I stormed upstairs for a moments peace and quiet and caught sight of my book (Trust Me, I’m a Toddler) sitting on the bookshelf. Suddenly, I wanted to remember the calm and loving parent I know I am capable of being. I wanted to remember what I know deep down, to get some perspective and see the world from his point of view.
I spent half an hour reading and breathing, then I heard Little Cat crying. He was having a dispute with his Daddy (who was also very fed up) over changing the t-shirt he had been wearing for four days straight. I walked in and somehow, everything had changed. I felt calm and in control. Rather than an angry and disrespectful child, I saw my little boy, tired, and comfortable in his t-shirt, not understanding why he needed to get changed.
Somehow, I managed to get him in new clean clothes, and connect deeply with him as I did. Within 5 minutes we were looking each other in the eye and smiling with genuine affection for what felt like the first time in a week. Something big had shifted, and I no longer felt totally lost.
Sometimes, when we are going through a rough patch, it can be easy to lose your way and forget what is really important to you as a parent. It can seem like you are failing at everything, and that everything you try is wrong. At these times, the best thing you can do is to remind yourself who you really are capable of being. Maybe that means writing down your values and your best approaches to tricky situations at a time when you are feeling on top of your game, ready to refer back to in times of strife. Maybe that is calling a friend who has seen you at your best and who can help you get back on track. Or maybe it is delving into a book and remembering why you chose to parent this way, with love and respect for yourself and your child.
There is always a way back, and when you find it, it feels utterly wonderful.
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