When you are are having a VERY BAD DAY and you want bedtime to happen…
Last week, we had a really bad day. I had a bad parenting day. We all seemed to have woken up in bad moods, and both the children, in their own ways, were not their usual selves. The boy had more tantrums than he usually does and the tween at the time was going through a whiny stage anyway, and that day seemed to have decided that listening and co-operating were two things she was going to opt-out of that day. I think I may have asked for shoes to be put on, teeth brushed, hands washed for lunch, the usual humdrum stuff, at least ten times, each before they were actually actioned, either with huge sighs and moans from one or tears and hurling himself on the floor, by the other. The day didn’t start well and it got worse as we went.
I don’t think I handled things very well, and instead of trying to take some positive action, and help lift our moods, (I probably should have sent us all to bed for a nap too, frankly, we could have all done with one) I got grumpier and grumpier and felt more and more resentful that my children were just not being as I expected them to be, and I have no excuse, other than being very tired, and with some personal family issues on my mind, that had made the previous week a bit more stressful than usual. The day was spent with me trying to do things around the house, or spend time with the children, and keep them amused and entertained, all the while, praying for bedtime to come!
Eventually, at 5:30 pm I lost all traces of my cool and to my shame, yelled, and stamped my feet. An incident involving ice cream sprinkles all over the kitchen floor, and a potty of wee being tipped on the carpet, finally sent me over the edge, and I sent both children upstairs to get ready for bed. (they had eaten supper)
This of course resulted in a mammoth meltdown from both children. One child indignant and horrified at being told to get ready for bed at 5:30 pm (she can tell the time) and uttering phrases like “it’s not fair, you’re mean, you don’t love me anymore” and one child because adding another meltdown, was just what was required.
I was on my own, the husband was out for the evening. I was tired, I had a sore head, and I also wanted to have a tantrum and cry. I managed to bundle both children up the stairs and got them ready for bed. We all ended up in our bed, huddled together, the children in that “post crying fit” sniffling stage, and me trying not to join them in tears. I had not handled the day well, with the increasing grumps that were taking over all of us. I let my emotions and the adult issues, take over, and I was so busy being grumpy and justifying why I was in a bad mood, that I failed to help my children handle themselves better. I should have given myself a time out, and a shake, because really, that’s what I needed. I did apologize to both of them, for not having a good day, and for losing my temper and yelling, and thankfully, we all went to bed feeling a bit better and on a more loving note.
This parenting thing is hard. Being responsible for the lives, emotional and physical of two small human beings is HARD. Making mistakes, realizing them and then trying to do better is HARD. I don’t think it gets easier, but I do know we learn as we go, and that if we try not to make the same mistakes and we learn from where we’ve gone wrong, we can be more like the parents we want to be. I hate it when I have bad days like that, the guilt and anxiety that I feel can be overwhelming sometimes. I know I am not perfect, I know my children can see that, but I want to do the best job I can, and sometimes I don’t manage it.
What do you do, when you have had a bad parenting day, and you feel you haven’t parented well?