No One Ever Said It Would Be Easy

4 May 2012

I actually wrote this post last weekend. It's been sitting in my 'drafts' folder since. Reading it through now it all seems a little out of perspective and a bit 'poor me': I think it was just one of those days.

But I've decided to post it regardless as this blog is an honest blog: it's not always happy families and homemade cakes you know.


There was a feature in the Times Weekend supplement last weekend titled 'Stop shouting. Stop nagging. How to be a calmer parent'. It was a feature I had to read. It suggested methods that sounded plausible such as giving children regular constructive praise; and spending quality time one-to-one with your children; seeing things from a child's perspective and offering a sense of understanding and balance. The article pointed out that naughtiness often comes from seeking attention (I'm aware that is often the case with my own children) and that time spent with your children can improve their behaviour and in turn your relationship with them. Is there a lesson to be learnt?

For the last few weeks now I feel that I've been shouting and nagging my kids pretty constantly. It's not much fun. Being the one who looks after the children most of their waking hours Monday to Friday, the role of disciplinarian falls at my feet. I adore both my kids and they can be really well behaved when it actually matters but, as with all children, they can push the boundaries when in the comfort of their own home. With Lily it's the back chat; with Arthur it's the defiant 'no'. Some days it is relentless, and no matter how many stern warnings I may issue, my authority as a parent is ignored. Until I shout. I always immediately feel terrible for doing it; guilty for snapping, not being calm enough to stay in control.

So often these moments happen when I am trying to do something else. Not multitasking isn't really an option with only 24 hours in the day. Some may say I have it all: I'm lucky enough to be able to juggle my work commitments with my children. I can pick them up from school, prepare them their dinner, bath them, read them bedtimes stories and tuck them up in bed at night. For that I am thankful, but it's not as sunny as it sounds. Yes, I achieve all the above, but it is throughly exhausting what with the business, other work commitments, the housework, the cooking, the shopping ... I could go on.

In the current climate the business is more demanding than ever: the business snatches me away at short notice from time with the children, whilst the children demand my attention when I need to focus on the business. All to often I cringe when I hear myself say to the kid's 'no, I've not got time to play, I need to hoover / send an email / prepare dinner etc'. I can't help but feel guilty much of the time of how our busy lifestyle effects our children.

But was it really any different in my day? Do my children have less parent time than I had as a child? My dad did shift work, my mum sometimes had evening jobs until she returned to full-time work when I was around ten. I expect they had the same issues back then. It is just the pressures of family life. Like me, my mum did all the house work and that was without the likes of a washing machine and disposable nappies and where as I might work on the computer late into the evening after putting the kids to bed, my dad would often stay on at work to do a double-shift. Unless you have enough money for paid help or have a support network to hand this is how it is and how it has always been, right?

I know deep down my kids get enough of me; it's just they would love to have me all the time. So what is it that has brought on this feeling of guilt? Just something that Lily said to David a few weeks ago, having been on the recieving end of my wrath that day:

'Mummy hasn't always been cross you know. She used to be happy. I know because I've seen photographs of her smiling with me as a baby'.

Hearing that made me feel terrible: guilty. I'm still not sure whether the fact it came from a seven year old means I should take it with a pinch of salt or sit up an take notice.

1 comment:

  1. I think every mum feels like this at some time. I don't have any advice but didn't want to read and run, big hugs.