In recent weeks I’ve had quite a number of people say to me ‘I don’t know how you do it’. They sadly aren’t referring to my parenting skills, the way I dress, or my cooking …but to the fact that I’m currently balancing being mummy, working full time, settling into a new family setting, launching my new book and moving house all at once.
So as I stood in the kitchen one evening last week having one of those moments – you know the sobbing, exhausted, uttering ‘I’m a bad mum…I mean I know I’m not a bad mum…but I wish I had more patience’ moment…I thought I would share with you the ‘not so shocking news’ that I don’t balance it all, all of the time.
This was in fact one in a series of momentslast week which told me that things were getting on top of me. The other less dramatic but equally clear signs were:
- Waking up in the morning feeling like I hadn’t slept at all despite the fact that I have slept a solid 9 hours (apologies to anyone who is dreaming of a 9 hour straight stint, I do know it’s annoying to read and I won’t mention it again)
- Hearing my daughter yelling at me to stop shouting at her – and realising only at that moment that I was actually shouting
- Eating more chocolate, crisps and pretty much anything other than a decent meal for at least four days on the run
- Frowning more than I’m smiling (I’m one of those annoyingly default smiley people so this is out of character)
There’s no doubt that right now I’m burning the candle at both ends and in the middle and I do feel like my ‘to do’ list (yes I’m one of those people who write endless to do lists!) is just growing. Add to that the fact that Ellie is currently doing what I believe children do best ‘pushing the boundaries’ and it’s clearly a recipe for a tough ride. Suffices to say that I am currently trying to find and re-acquire my balance.
Most of the things I need to sort are simply a case of needing more time and a little focus – the book launch, the house move, some key work projects – I know what I need to do to resolve them. What’s typical of course is that when it comes to Ellie I find myself somewhat lost.
It’s not the first time she’s ever pushed the boundaries and I really believe that it’s quite normal, but it is exhausting. On this occasion however there are also two new elements which are baffling me and making me question whether this is normal and whether I’m doing it all wrong. Read on and then please do let me know what you think.
The first thing is that in the last couple of weeks Ellie has developed several new skills which act to me, very much like a red rag to a bull. She has taken to constantly answering me back and trying to have the last word – whether it’s a normal conversation or when I’m telling her off about something. She’s also developed a new face which I can only describe as smirking and she chooses to use this either when she thinks I’m not looking and she’s getting away with something, or when she knows she’s doing something she shouldn’t, but blatantly does it anyway.
Second, she is definitely doing things she knows she shouldn’t more often than I’ve ever known her too before…today’s examples are:
· refusing to get dressed in the morning and then screaming when I explain she will now not be getting her sticker chart sticker
· this evening throwing a Christmas card on the floor because it apparently wasn’t christmassy enough (I am cringing as I write this!)
The latter example I really struggled with because it simply smacks of spoilt child, but my biggest issue is the sheer quantity of incidents we’re currently having. It is quite simply exhausting.
So far my usual arsenal of tools (e.g. doing time out in her room, pointing out that she’s not getting a sticker on her reward chart and telling her how disappointed I am) don’t really seem to be having sufficient impact. What I mean is they help the incident at the time, but it doesn’t seem to be addressing the volume of incidents.
On the positive side she’s clearly behaving well at school and loving learning. She still tells me she loves me and I still get great hugs at bedtime so I can at least hold on to that. What I’d really like though is to know that I’m doing the right things, that she’s not turning into a delinquent child and ultimately… for this phase to quite simply be over.
As always, I’d love to hear from you and I’d be delighted for any advice. Please use the comments below or contact me via twitter @sharonmsmyth