You are not a bad mummy. But you've probably had a day when you felt like one. A day that made you feel bad, guilty, miserable, lonely, mean or useless. Share a moment from that day for other mums to read and feel less alone. What made you feel like a bad mummy, and how did you move on?
When Agent M was a few months old I had to cut his fingernails. I used to wait till he was napping so he wouldn't put up a fuss. One unfortunate time he jerked his hand when I wasn't expecting and I accidentally sliced the tip of his finger. He didn't even wake up but I howled like a baby for both of us. No damage was done but I still feel crappy for it :(
My goodness I have had so many decades to clock up badness as a mummy, that I don't want to start wondering ( yet) if I might be a bad grand mummy! Too many distant , not so foggy, memories of shouting, or losing my patience and deciding the only way to manage a couple of tinies was to get OUT of the house and into a public setting where I could be 'seen' as managing. Much more recently at least 3 decades into being a mum, though 'child' in question was less than 30, I was definitely a bad mummy because I tried too hard to be good and helpful. Instead I think I overstepped the line of concern and involvement in a relationship 'event'. I felt so worried that my 'child' might be alone, lonely that I lost sight of the necessary loving distance and holding - that almost impossible balance mums searches for. Bad mummy in that instance! Well, luckily I have the possiiblity of talking and reflecting with my 'child'. All is well enough, though my guilt feels cemented in somewhere. Need a big grinder!!
My daughter went roller skating for the first time with a group of friends, I was not in attendance. I got a text from one of the Mums who had gone to say that Charlotte had fallen and hurt her wrist. When she got home, I examined the arm and decided that it looked fine and packed her off to bed. The next morning, the arm had blown up to twice it's size and a visit to casualty confirmed that it was indeed broken! Tut, tut, naughty Mummy...
Well I often have bad mummy moments, but luckily they are always surrounded by loving hugs and fun too. Today my 11 month old daughter banged her head trying to escape the 'nappy changing mummy' and I felt pretty rubbish whilst hugging her after lots of sobbing tears. Mostly I'm a bad mummy when my impatient frustrated needs clash with my baby, often if she's throwing her food of her highchair and for the 500th thousand time I'm bending down to wipe and collect it or sweep it. Now we are practicing handing the food to mummy that she doesn't want. I generally feel like a horrible grotesque monster if I ever 'lose it' and raise my voice which on occassion has made my baby girl cry. Sometimes I walk away and leave her in these moments to gain some space! And calmly walk back to her and begin again.
Somewhere, in the gaps, between
The rules and sanctions,
Striving for maternal perfection,
Not with a whoosh
Or puff of smoke
D i s s o l u t i o n
One night when the moon was high
Dew spangling with starlight
Nature’s rhythm enticing,
Her disparate soul coalesced
Like a rebellious angel
Consumed with demonic energy
It was really really hot and maybe I wasn't thinking straight. But that is no excuse.
I took my one year old daughter for a ride on the back of an elephant attached to me in her sling. It was only when I heaved myself onto the back of the elephant, it started to move, and I started to slip from side to side with each huge step forward that I suddenly thought what on earth have I done?
It was a very very long way down. And being strapped to me is not at all the same thing as being strapped to the elephant (which I wasn't). It was the most terrifying ten minutes I can remember. And although it was an excellent workout for my panic-stricken hard-squeezed thighs, it was not worth the feeling of sheer horror.
A few minutes later, my husband put a 'friendly' cobra round our three year old for a photo, so at least I wasn't the only bad parent on the holiday.
Fortunately for us, both children were completely unaware of the sun-crazed recklessness of their mum and dad, and had a great time.
(This is an amended excerpt from my blog post on tantrums and tiredness - one of my many posts on being a bad mummy...!)
I’m struggling with my son’s behaviour at the moment. He’s not terrible. He’s just three and a half, distracted by anything and everything, and learning to assert his independence. And I’m tired. And distracted by his (now crawling, but not into sleeping through) baby sister. The combination isn’t great…
I try to be clear about our rules and maintain boundaries, but the old techniques aren’t working. I want to be respectful, and to stay calm and explain why he has to take some time out. But when I’m having to physically manhandle him back onto the ‘naughty step’, that perfect parent seems a long long way away.
As I carry him over my shoulder, kicking and screaming back to the stairs, it feels like I’m heading towards the kind of physical punishment I really don’t believe in. I give up on yanking him out from under the kitchen table and create a ‘naughty under the table’. I don’t know what else to do without using force and becoming that parent I don’t want to be. But now I feel I’ve destroyed those carefully created rules, and taken us two steps back. Next time, will he think it's OK to sit under the table instead of on the step? Have I shattered all the precedents I set so carefully with months and months of hard work? I'm too tired to know any more.
What I do know is that his behaviour isn't just about his own tiredness, it's about mine. Strange that his behaviour seems much worse when I’m most tired... Is he the one who's behaving badly? Or am I failing to spot the early signs of meltdown, in both of us? It's obvious that my shouting or yanking when I should be cool, calm and collected only makes the situation worse. It's yet another parenting area where I need to keep trying and loving and doing my best. And hoping that as I get more rest, I will become a better parent.
Well, the good news is - I am getting a bit more sleep, and it has got better. As Tori wrote on her fridge magnet, this too will pass. Remember that, bad mummies everywhere.
My 7yo daughter left her iPad at home, so I had to take her back to pick it up, then drop her back to my MIL's house. I gave her the keys to open the gate and door, collect the iPad, then lock the door and gate behind her again. She got in, got the iPad, locked the door, but somehow got the gate key jammed in the lock. I yelled at her to sort it out, but when she couldn't, I yelled at her again to just get in the damn car. I tried several times (violently) to get the key out, but to no avail. I was already screaming late for work (should have just made her go without the iPad), so when the key got jammed, I lost the plot and started effing and blinding, screaming like a banesidhe. In the end, I just had to leave the gate unlocked with the key jammed. It probably wasn't even my daughter's fault, but I made her feel scared and small and frightened.
I'm a bad mother
I did a bad thing today!
I brought my child a toy when he didn't deserve one. We have an unwritten rule in our house, that we don't just randomly buy toys for the kids unless it's a birthday or a special reward for good behaviour and today I broke that rule.
However there was logic to my moment of madness...
Recently my sweet blue eyed baby boy has turned into, well, a devil child! He screams at me, throws himself on the floor, pushes his sister around and just generally does the opposite of everything I tell him to. It actually got to the point where I thought there was something wrong with him, I'd convinced myself that he must have brain damage because know one can have such an extreme change of personality in a month. (I have since been informed that it is not brain damage and he is just being 3).
After hearing about the 'terrible two's' and how he sailed through that year without a single tantrum or raised voice I did not see this coming.
Anyway back to the subject, so I now have a devil child and I wake up every morning with a feeling of dread, knowing that I have to face a whole day of abuse and raised voices.
I told Phil how I felt this morning and he suggested that I do something with him to keep him amused.
His teachers at pre school recently told me that he spends a lot of time doing puzzles so I thought I'd give it a go, problem was we don't have any puzzles at home. So this is why I had to buy him a toy when he didn't deserve one.
We went to the shops and got a puzzle and he's been playing with it all day. It's definatley been the best day we've had in over a month. There was still the odd tantrum inbetween puzzle making but nothing like it normally is. Result!
I'm still not proud of what I did but I've got to say it was the best £5 I've ever spent.