I see his face begin to cave in before I have even finished the sentence.
As he dissolves into tears I crumple inside, but I try not to show it.
It wasn’t that big a deal. I just told him off for not thinking, for being too wild, for running in the house when I had already told him not to.
I only yelled a little bit. And I started out being all positive and nice.
“If you want to run, go outside, you can run all you like outside!”
“Please walk inside, you’ll break something if you run around the house dragging that thing.”
Of course he didn’t walk, and of course he did break something when the string of his library bag got snagged on the pot plant as he ran past.
“I told you something would get….”
Usually an accident and a raised voice would not be enough to see him run off in tears, but it’s been a rough week.
I am tired, and stressed, and too busy, and that makes me short tempered and cranky.
All of the kids seem to be teetering on the edge this week too.
We all seem to be walking the fine line between everything is great and fun and wonderful, and big huge nasty arguments, thoughtless words, and tears.
I’m trying to keep it together. I’m trying to set the tone. I’m trying to see the lighter side, and assign positive intent, and pick my battles, but I’m not being consistent. All the ‘trying’ is interspersed with way too much exasperation and yelling.
Tonight I manage to keep my crumpledness in check until I have apologised. I keep it balled up tight until I have acknowledged that we are all having a tough week and I have hugged away his tears.
And then I creep away quietly, and unfold the crumples I’ve been screwing up so tightly all week, and I cry.
I’m so tired. I’m so stupid.
I’m such a hypocrite.
How can I write about all these lofty parenting ideas when I crumple at the first sign of trouble and become a cranky, yelling, monster?
And then I remember some advice I gave a friend recently…
A bad moment, a bad day, a bad week, does not make you a bad parent.
So I dry my eyes, I re-crumple the ball, and I keep going.
It’s just a bad day.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Hang in there. Totally get you and I am sure it is not easy to write these things, but so reassuring to read them and not feel alone today after a week of kids in hospital being up for 36 hours and all sorts so I am with you all the way on this one. So I am off to re-crumple the ball and keep going.
Oh, man, does this resonate with me lately! I have come to realize that it is my responsibility to set the tone for the day in my family. If I wake up cranky, there is sort of a trickle down effect. Everyone else senses my anxiety and it kind of fuels anxiety through the house. I assume this happens with all of the primary care givers. That is a huge load to haul!! It is wonderful that you are so open and honest about your struggles. It gives us all hope knowing that we aren’t alone.
We all have days like this. Last days I blame the upcoming full moon which has a big influence on me and my kids. When we fight more then often then I always check the calender and ,you wont believe ot, it is always few days before full moon. Dont worry bad day doesnt make you a bad mum! Love your blog, keep up the good work, I am sure you are a super mum.
Thank you for this message. My son is 23. There are days I still carry the “bad parent” guilt from ‘lo, those many years ago’. The image of crumpling the ball and going forward is one I can hang on to. Thanks for helping me move along!
Thank you Kate!
Your blog posts make my day. Especially, the trying days.
Thank you infinity!
Thank you Kate for your honesty and your timely and helpful words (and printables!). I thought of an old post of yours yesterday because I was up to about game no 10 of the shopping game with Miss 2.5. We are at the end of week 2 of illness including Mr 4.5 preschooler home for all of both weeks. Huge levels of exasperation, grumpiness and irritation are sadly ruling the household. Every second day I seem to consciously manage to set a better tone but on the alternate days I have felt very unhappy with how I have spoken and growled at my two littlies. Thank you for the recent face parts printables. They saved the day yesterday – for 15 mins! Your play dough bodies and faces are lined up for this afternoon. Then, it is the weekend…
Mrs W says
The fact that you do think and write about positive parenting strategies, and that you get upset with yourself if you slip up, show that you are in fact a great parent who cares immensely about your children. And if nothing else, I’ve always found your posts so helpful, especially when I’ve been feeling low myself. Your words always resonate with what I’m going through, so thank you!
Amen to that! I can’t help but feel that the current quest to always be ‘perfect’ in our children’s eyes isn’t actually doing them any good anyway. Imagine how high we set the bar in their little hearts if they never see us fail. When I’m in a rough mood and generally not coping with parenting, I have always been honest about it with the kids and every single time they have risen to the occasion and been there for me. Even when they were very small indeed. It does us all the world of good.
You are a wonderful Mom and someone who obviously is just tired, having a bad week and needs a holiday. You’ve GOT this. Don’t give up xx
Thank you to Katie and Maxabella! I’m having a very bad day and reading your comments helps me feel like I’m not alone and it will be ok.
I hope your day improves! :)