I have been struggling with some of Emma’s behaviour lately. Or maybe not only lately but my reactions have become more dramatic and anything to be proud of. I shout and I smack. There, I said it. I do it in certain circumstances and I thought I might be brave and share them with you just in case other mothers struggle with the same things.
1. My number one trigger is TIREDNESS. Both mine and hers. When we’re both tired and short-fused and when I expect Emma to sleep and she plays up(quite expertly lately, I must add!) I lose it. And it’s not a pretty sight. Remedy: stick to a sleeping routine even if it’s painstakingly difficult to do it. Reinforce your words and actions(thank you, Supernanny!) until the child understands you mean business. Even if that means putting her back into her bed 100 times until she’s dead tired of playing the same boring game. AVOID sleepover with relatives less aware of routine/unwilling/unsupportive.
2. BOREDOM. Yeap, we’re all guilty of it as mothers. I struggle with it especially since I come from a family where my mum worked from when we were six months old and the working values are very deeply engrained in my consciousness. There were no stay-at-home mums in the Communist times and I was was raised programmed to believe a working mum is worthy-er that a non-working mum. Remedy: if you’re a Christian I would recommend a book that totally challenged my perception of motherhood recently. When a Mother Follows Christ, by Katie Hoffman is an eye opener for all of us mums who were raised in non-Christian homes and trying to do the best we can by our children without any role models. Bottom line: align your life with God’s design for your life;if you chose to be a mum, you chose to live a life worthy to be modelled by your children. “True love has right priorities” says the author, referring to the fact that as long as you understand that your children come first to you as a mum(and not yourself) you will have the strength to raise them into sane individuals who know their worth from a very early age. Hoffman warns against “the grass in greener on the other side” mentality and the constant struggle we have as mums to see our job as “worthwhile” while others around us are building more palpable things such as careers, businesses…etc.
3. LACK OF SUPPORT. There are days I feel I am battling it all alone. It was a relief to discover there are other mums honest enough to write about their struggles with the same issues. Just the other days Alissa at Creative with Kids shared a heart-breaking letter from a mum dealing with parenting rage. The response her post got was amazing and put me at ease knowing that I am not alone. Remedy: enrol your husband/partner in supporting you in disciplining the little ones and speak kind words over you when you’re stressed. If he’s not willing/able/present then enrol a friend with whom you can share your struggles and who can encourage you in your weak moments. In the same post someone suggested counselling if you come from a background with a lot of issues. I am all for it as long as you’ve done your research and the counsellor has(again, I am partial, please excuse me) a Christian theology and a LOT of experience.
All in all, remember: you’re a great mum and you’re doing the best you can. When your best is less then what it’s meant to be, take action, seek help and support and rest assured, you’re not alone!! All my respect for all mums out there!!