Excuse the pity party, but sometimes, I do.
I have way more good parenting days than bad, but when the bad ones come, they seem to overshadow everything. When I say bad, I mean relative to me. I know my bad days won’t ever match up to what some people have to deal with. I know that. But I have only one life, and can only report on how it feels to be me.
My bad days don’t last long. Tomorrow, I will wake up a new person. I am lucky that way. Nothing lingers for long. This morning didn’t start off particularly bad, but my eldest son was having a pretty rough day, and my reasonably good mood dissipated as his angry attitude seeped into my consciousness. My son, like me, is highly sensitive. I feel what he feels; and I am sure it is vice versa. He is the most beautiful and difficult child all rolled up in one unique, challenging package. I love him more than life itself; yet his being almost over-powers me at times.
He provokes and annoys everyone in the house; then he gets hurt when we are cross with him. He calls us mean names; then cries if we ever dare to say something he takes personally (which is pretty much everything). This morning, he told me to “shut my big fat mouth”, which is just appalling. I know that. Yet, strict punishments don’t work. What is so much more effective is talking to him, and explaining gently where he as gone wrong. But, you don’t need me to tell you that being spoken to like that is not exactly conducive to having a calm conversation. Especially when you, yourself, are sensitive.
Most of the time I am able to be the adult. I step away from an escalating situation before it worsens. But, there have been times during the last couple of days where I have caught myself talking to him in the same hysterical voice he is using towards me. It’s hard being a person with such powerful emotions, who is also a mum. There is a constant tug of war between who I am, and who I want my children to see. I sometimes feel like an overstuffed cushion, with all of my emotions and feelings too big for the space they are held in. A couple of hard punches, and that cushion just bursts all over the place; leaving the skin saggy and deflated, and the contents scattered.
I know that something has to give sometimes. I do want them to realise that we are all human; all falling foul to life, feelings, and moods at times. But, they need a calm mum more than anything. And when I fail at that, even just for a second, it scrapes at my soul, leaving it full of tiny wounds.
It’s days like this when I want to give up. To run far, far away. When I feel I am doing more damage to my kids being around them, than if I wasn’t here. When I feel that I am just not cut out for this; this is not what I signed up for. This is not where I want to be.
Mummy guilt prickles at my skin. Why can’t I be the perfect mum? Why can’t I stay calm? These are questions I ask myself over and over. On days like this, I see only the black; I am negative, useless, worthless. My eldest is highly sensitive; so am I. This makes me understand him more than he understands himself, but it also causes him more pain when I am unable to stay 100% in control of the situation.
For the first time ever, last week, I found myself telling my partner that I wished we had two children like my youngest. The love I have for my kids is equal; it is cut down the middle with immaculate precision. Yet, it is different. The love I have for each one is different. It’s also changeable; one day big boy is my favourite, while little boy does my head in. But we can’t escape the fact that our youngest is easier. So much easier. He brings with him a feeling of calmness, which soothes my frazzled highly sensitive self. My eldest invariably brings conflict and irritation, which scours my highly sensitive self until it is red raw. Nothing is fun when it is hard work; and being around my eldest is damn hard work at times.
Ah. A deep sigh.
The one thing I like best about being me, is my resilience. I mentioned on another post once that I thought this was a mum thing; it makes us able to continue along our motherhood journey. I know that tomorrow everything bad about today will be forgotten; that my son’s smile will melt away any negative feelings. I am fond of telling my kids that “tomorrow is a new day”, so much so, that they quote it back to me.
I know that I am feeling down now; but I also know it won’t last.