I LOVE YOU ~ BUT I DON’T ALWAYS LIKE YOU.
Firstly, an apology for my HUGE gap between these blogs. If I am completely honest, since George starting nursery and us entering a second and third lock-down...not much has been going on that we felt the need to blog. BUT, now I’ve sat and thought about it I actually have something to say about this VERY VERY normal feeling of sometimes just not liking your child. We unconditionally love them, we would take away any illnesses or pain in a heartbeat. Jesus, we would take a bullet for them....but sometimes we just don’t like them....And I’m here to tell you that this feeling is completely normal and voicing it should be normalized in my opinion.
As George very swiftly enters the dreaded terrible twos, we have had the following behavior from him;
- Destruction (of ANY KIND)
- Throwing toys at our heads
- Pulling hair
The list goes on....
The first time I got a purposeful slap to the face from George, I can’t even put into words how I felt... not only did that small yet chubby hand bloody hurt! I couldn’t understand how we got here. I couldn’t understand how, what felt like two minutes ago I had a newborn unable to even sit up, all he did was gurgle and smile at me to this....a slap across the face. It was completely out of the blue and unprovoked. In fact, it was as I was holding him and making a bottle....
With the pain of the slap to the cheek and the utter SHOCK of it happening, my body just went into natural human instinct and my inner voice said .....”LETS SHOUT AT HIM” words came out of my mouth quicker than I could even process...LETS USE LOTS OF WORDS LIKE “ERRRM YOU DO NOT HIT MUMMY, NAUGHTY BOY. THAT REALLY HURT ME! NO GEORGE. YOU DO NOT HIT”.... I just went on and on at him. I couldn’t help it, I wasn’t prepared for this. I was beyond shocked that he had done it. I try so hard to do gentle parenting but all of that just flew out of the window in that moment.
He obviously became upset and I eventually walked away from him to recoup. I remember looking back at him as he was crying because I’d just thrown all these angry words at him and immediately felt guilty (mum life right?).... he had no idea what he had done. He had no idea why mummy was holding him one second then he was getting shouted at the next. He simply didn’t understand. I guess, like me.
From that moment I started doing lots and lots of research on how to approach this inevitable situation differently, better and more effectively next time. I learnt that you shouldn’t use that many words, I learnt you shouldn’t say “hit” in any part of the afterwards as that’s all they hear. We tried “that really hurt mummy” with a firm “no” at the start. We tried walking away from him and having no contact at all just leaving the situation. We’ve tried “gentle hands please”. We even tried fake (sometimes real, dependent on the pain) crying.... this seemed to be the thing that worked. I’d cracked it... “that makes mummy sad” or seeing us “sad” seemed to really resonate with George. I remember the very first time he really hurt me, reduced me to tears....it was around 6:30am and he was in our bed for morning cuddles. He grabbed the monitor stood over my head and launched the monitor directly into my face.. OUCH that fricken hurt!! All I did was simply turn over into my pillow and began to cry; I mean I was SOBBING! I’d just woken up, I was knackered (as we all are) and it hurt so so much. My partner told me that George looked immediately upset. He crouched down ever so gently next to me and began stroking my back. He even tried to very gently to turn my head so he could make eye contact with me...and as I turned around checking to see if my eyeballs were still in their sockets and my nose was still straight and not bleeding... I was greeted with George, tears in his eyes, chin wobbling and his soft hand stroking my face. Although I was wiping tears away myself and still in pain I couldn’t help but feel proud....(I’ll explain) HE SHOWED EMPATHY!!! He showed he was sorry, in his own weird way. He showed me he doesn’t want to see me cry, he doesn’t want to reduce mummy to tears. I changed my tactic, I told him very carefully and with a much lower tone that he had “made mummy sad” he then gave me a hug and we moved on from it.
I must stress this is by no means a one hit wonder thing. And it may not work for every child. You have to be up to the task of trying multiple ways to discipline your child and the key is to stick to the one you’ve found is most effective.
This leads me onto my first point....After trying again and again to get him to understand that he can’t continue to hit me, scratch me or slap me. I unknowingly became very resentful towards him. I started to actually dislike him....the only way I could explain it is...it’s like having a boss that you do EVERYTHING for, you bathe, dress, feed, tidy up and even wipe their arse. You entertain, you chauffeur them around. You take them to the park. You play with them... for them to not only not appreciate that but SLAP YOU ACROSS THE FACE FOR IT?!? Yes, I’m his mum and of course I’ll always pour out a love I’ve never felt for him but all the above is enough to make ANY human dislike another right???
The update is that he is getting better and we are seeing a real improvement in how he managed his feelings and he actually has stopped himself from hitting. But there’s still a long way to go...
If you’re going through a similar thing or are feeling like you just dislike or resent your little one. Please don’t feel guilty or alone for feeling like this. Even if they aren’t hitting you and it’s just that they scream MUUUUM about 7,000 times a day.
Secondly, remember, you won’t always feel like this. It will very quickly subside when they touch your face, look you in the eyes and say “mumma” (this happened to us at bedtime and I cried for about an hour after) It’s hard being a parent. It’s really hard. The hardest job I’ve ever done. They test you daily but we love those little lumps more than anything.
Remember, you’re doing your best and that’s enough for them! If you have any comments or just want to have a vent please feel free to comment below! I’d love to hear your opinion on this...
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BOOK: NO DRAMA -DISCIPLINE by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.