When you have kids, some days are just plain hard, but the unconditional love that you have for your kids will get you all through… no matter what.
This is the story of a really hard day, and really big love.
As quiet finally descends over our house after a long and difficult day, I take a moment to reconnect with one of my girls.
“I love you mum” she says and I know that she also means she is sorry, and I am sorry too.
There has been too many slammed doors and harsh words today. Today there has been arguments, and rushing and unscheduled hair cutting. Today my girl has been defiant, and frustrated and unthinking.
Today the parent I want to be has gone missing and has left an impatient, angry, and stressed person in her place. I am not proud of my actions today, and neither is my girl. We are both tired and sad and in need of reassurance.
“I love you too” I tell her, “I will always love you.”
“Even if I do something really, really bad?” she asks, looking me in the eye, searching for any signs of a fib or fob off.
“Even if you do something really, really, really bad.” I tell her, returning the stare with a steady gaze.
“Even if I cut my hair again? Even if I say mean things? Even if I hit Morgan?”
I smile at the things she thinks are ‘really really bad’ and reassure her.
“Yes, even then. I will always love you, no matter what you do.”
I mean every word I say, and as crazy scenarios run through my head I realise how big and scary and wonderful that love is.
I may not like that she cut her own hair. I may not enjoy the door slamming or melt downs. I may not like that she lashes out in frustration or that she teases her brother or yells at her father. And I know that she is only eight and that one day, these things I don’t much like could be much bigger, and darker, and even, ‘really really bad’.
Maybe one day she will make a big, adult, mistake. Perhaps she will wreck more than just her hair. Perhaps she will hurt more than just her brother’s feelings. It is a sobering thought, and one I don’t much like contemplating but one thing reassures me…
I may not always like the things she she does, she may frustrate me and even make me angry, but I will always love her.
I must love her.
I have no choice, she is my child.
She is my beautiful, complicated, crazily wonderful, child and no matter what may happen in the future, nothing can ever change that.
I sweep her wonky, ‘self-cut’ fringe out of her eyes and kiss her forehead. She wraps her arms around me and says it again,
“I love you Mum”
I push the scariness of how entirely I love her aside for a moment, I swallow the lump in my throat and I tell her again…
“I will love you forever and ever.
For always and always.
No matter what.”
More Real Life Parenting Stories.
If you are struggling with parenting right now, or you just want to feel a little less alone, these real life parenting stories might offer some help and hope:
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Jess WhoaMamma says
I think we mothers have all had those scary days, the Screaming Banshee days, I call them. I don’t like getting angry or yelling at my minxes, but some days it all just comes out. But ALWAYS, at the end of those days, we have the I’m So Sorry Cuddle. And we both really, really mean it. I also tell them that I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS love them, no matter what they do, but I might not always LIKE what they do, that is the difference.
And don’t worry, wonky fringes will grow out just fine. It’s shaved eyebrows you have to worry about ;)
I have always remembered what my mum sometimes (maybe lots of times?!) used to say to me, “I will always love you but I just don’t like you very much at the moment”. Sounds harsh but that was not how it ever came across and now that I have 2 crazy little boys of my own, I completely understand!! The 5yr old and I had one of those yelling days yesterday. I never imagined I would be made so angry by a small person, but at least I know I am not the only one :)
oh Lordy, don’t wish shaved eyebrows on me quite yet! LOL
OK made me cry, but I am a bit emotional today.
That actually explains absolutely everything I feel about both my girls. They are the light of my life, but OMG they make me want to just tear my hair out sometimes. I love them more than life itself, but sometimes they just drive me mental.
Thank you for putting it all back into perspective :)
It is so like that isn’t it… but I guess if you didn’t love them so much they wouldn’t drive you so bonkers because you wouldn’t care what they did… maybe?
Kate McLean says
So beautifully written, and so perfectly true!
Perfect post. Thank you! My girls try to kill each other each day it seems…and my eldest girl *sigh* only 10 and already on the path of a rocky road of emotions…but no matter what I love them all so darn much…so thank you for posting such an open and honest blog.
Lisa Gentile says
I feel exactly the same way sometimes. I always tell my girls that “yes, I always will love them no matter what”. I don’t always LIKE what they are doing , but it doesn’t stop me loving them.
Oh I had many of those days growing up when I was a kid with my parents.. and I know how good it feels to have someone say they still love you after you have done something bad. I hope I can keep a level head when my daughter grows up and begins to realise there are reactions to her actions. I hope I can tell her that no matter what I still love her!! So happy you were able to share this post.. we all need to know that no matter what we will always love our children!! Thank you for sharing!
I find it hard not to think that I’m being a ‘bad’ parent when I have those days – like yesterday. I really needed a screaming room (in fact, I think I used the bathroom yesterday!) and so much patience and by the end of the day felt like I was ready to explode. But I got the ‘I love you, mama’ as we were driving to grandma’s house and I knew that it was ‘I’m sorry’ as well. Thanks for your post!
Meghan Lynch says
How absolutely lovely! And reassuring! I think we all have these days. But in the midst of the difficult day, it can feel lonely. It’s calming to know you are not alone! Thank you for posting this! Reposting at http://meandthekids.net/!
Lisa Jay (family. lifestyle. photography) says
Great post. I relate. I have been had a few of these moments with my eldest girl this year. Also moments when she has asked me “why don’t you love me?” after I have been upset with something she has done. They are not nice words to hear.. & I have had to explain to her that there is a huge difference between not being overly happy about something she has done & my love for her. I have had to explain that my love her never ever changes & never will & that her worth as a person never ever changes even when she has made a choice that doesn’t have the best consequences for her (or her little sister… or me).. that no matter what she does, no matter what.. I love her.
I am grateful that we have that unconditional love between parent and child. I do love them no matter what they do or say, but more important I am so thankful that they love me so unconditionally as many days i so think I would hate me as a mother and yet,they forgive me for my crap days and still cuddle up and love me. Thank god each day starts new again!
Lisa Jay (family. lifestyle. photography) says
Good point Deb!
Thank you for that perspective, Deb. You are so right!
Super Sarah says
I am glad you hit publish on this one. Our day started off like this, in fact my husband and I made our eldest, sensitive daughter cry with our raised voices to each other this morning. That makes my heart ache now when I think about it. Husband and I have made up via email but my big girl will need some special love and hugs tonight and a gentle explanation. Sigh…..
In my house we always say.. “we’ll always love you no matter what, there maybe times that we don’t like what you do, but what you do isn’t who you are, we love you no matter what you’ve done!”
I think that’s a tough one for even alot of adults to grasp, what we do and who we are are different things. I remember working at one of those big McEvils, being taught to be a crew trainer, and later teaching others to do the same, when I had a light bulb, “focus on what’s being done and not who they are”. Its the basis of constructive criticism, what we do we can change, who we are we can’t!
I’ll always love my gorgeous, beautiful, loving, wonderful daughter.. but by golly sometimes what she does drives me NUTS!
You know I don’t think I fully understood the concept until I had kids. I mean, logically I got it… but I never really KNEW it until I loved my kids like this…
Beautifully written and so true.
Just beautiful Kate.
Jodi Gibson says
Undeniable, unconditional love. Full. Stop.
Beautiful post. I can relate totally.
Oh Kate, I love this post and you made me cry too!!!!
You have just articulated what I think we all feel on difficult days, and you have made me cry. Brilliant post – thank you.
Wow. Nearly made me cry too…
So beautiful, gave me the warm fuzzies…awwww
That love is scary and wonderful isn’t it?