My four year old cried the entire way home from the grocery store today, and told me I broke her heart. She wanted to hold my hand, but she didn’t want me to get mad at her so she didn’t ask.
How utterly, unbelievably heart breaking is that?!
I had just yelled at her in the check out lane; she tried to lay down on the rack on the bottom of the cart while I boxed up the groceries, and she caused another man to crash into a stack of boxes on his way by in order to avoid her. So I got frustrated, and irritated, and told her to hold on to the cart and Not. Move. Daddy walked her out to the car and put her in her seat while I loaded in the groceries in the trunk and her brother into his seat, and then she cried. And cried. And cried. Because I yelled at her.
This was not the kind of mother I wanted to be. This was not the kind of mother I was before her brother came. This is what PPD created. I watch all these TikToks of amazing mothers, who remain calm, preach responsive parenting, who talk about respectful conversations and discipline over punishment, and all these beautiful things that I used to be able to do too. But not anymore. My temper is on a hair trigger, and G. is so used to my yelling that it doesn’t faze her anymore, she doesn’t hear it, doesn’t respond to it. Which of course is super frustrating, and causes even more yelling. I see all these mothers doing it “right” and think, “Why can’t I do that anymore?! Where did that mother go?!”
Of course, it’s easy to be that mother when you have a dream child who doesn’t really throw tantrums or not listen, or misbehave in really any major ways. G. always had a kind heart, she always really wants to please; the worst she ever does is jump on the furniture hahah. These behaviours are new and foreign and I’m so lost in dealing with them. I shouldn’t be, I do this for a living. Why is it so much harder when it’s your own? The emotional investment? The feeling like your child is a direct reflection of you as a person, and that if you can’t control your little clone you’re a failure as a human being? What exactly is it about our own children that make them so hard to parent?!
So how do they do it?! How do you find the patience of a saint, when your child is determined to throw you over the edge? She’s at the age where it matters more than ever. She’ll actually remember some of this. I want her to be respectful, to have patience, to listen and explain herself and be able to defend her actions. How the hell am I going to teach that to her if I can’t do it myself?
There’s a cycle here I’m desperate to break. I think part of why I started this was to be able recognize my patterns, see my triggers, write out what I’m doing so I can reflect easier. I’ve always processed better with writing than with just thinking, hopefully this continues here too.