Kids are Resilient and Other Lies Parents Tell Themselves

Kids are Resilient and Other Lies Parents Tell ThemselvesAs my 4yo daughter, dressed as an angel for her school nativity, sobbed in my arms in front of the whole hall yesterday afternoon, I cried with her.

I wasn’t expecting it. Which made it even more upsetting. 

My husband had gone to the other performance on Tuesday, and came home proud as punch. He’d recorded loads of clips and took a ton of photos. Clara looked every bit the angel you’d expect.

I was pleased that the teachers had let her keep her shoes and socks on, even though the other angels were barefoot. She had a cough and cold brewing, and had it not been for the play I would have kept her off school.

Clara’s naked feet were the first thing I noticed when I walked into the hall. Why had they not let her keep them covered? The cough had progressed, and she’d had a fitful night. I put the thought out of my mind and beamed my biggest smile at her as I sat down with Freddy on my lap.

To be completely honest I think expecting nursery (3-4yo) and reception (4-5yo) kids to perform for fifty minutes is a bit much. Some schools don’t put on proper shows until the children are older.

Clara and the other angels were sat in a row at the very front of the stage, completely on display. There was no where to hide the tiredness. The head mistress came along halfway through and pulled hers and another girl’s dress down because they were absent mindedly showing their knickers. Another thing that (more than likely) didn’t help her cause.

Clara was enthusiastic for the first ten, maybe fifteen minutes of the play. The rest of it she was yawning, forgetting the words to the songs and towards the end crying.

Literally bawling her eyes out in front of her classmates and their families. I lost it myself, and sat in my chair trying not to let Freddy see how upset I was. I was mortified for her. She looked so sad and lost up on that stage.

As soon as it was over I went up and gave her a massive hug, then had to hand her back to the staff to get changed. When I collected her half an hour later, her lovely teacher (thankfully her teacher and TA are both awesome) reassured me that she was fine once she got back to the classroom. While we were walking home I asked her what was going on.

“Didn’t you feel like being an angel today my darling?”

“NO!” she growled at me, in her one-step-away-from-a-meltdown voice.

Fair enough. It’s a bloody lot of pressure for a four year old, who wasn’t feeling well.

It’s opened up a big wound that’s never properly healed for me. The one that signifies my biggest fears. That question that rings through my ears on a daily basis.

kids are resilientHow the fuck are we going to survive these early years in one piece?

Clara has always been the one out of the three who we didn’t have to worry about. Our best sleeper, and most placid child is no longer ‘fine’. She’s been slowly coming undone for a while now. I wrote this letter to her recently, and although I would love to say she’s back to her old self, she very much isn’t.

You see I don’t think kids are as resilient as we parents like to think they are. I think they are fragile little things that should be treated with the utmost respect and care.

There’s no nice way of saying this. My youngest two have witnessed their big sister behave in unpleasant and undesirable ways. Yet they aren’t allowed to behave like that themselves. It must be confusing beyond belief for them. 

Almost three year old Freddy is struggling massively. He’s having nightmares a few times a week which see him wake up in a cold sweat shaking in fear. We thought potty training was a done deal, but in the last week he’s been having daily accidents. He pines after Clara all day when she’s at school, but if she comes home in a foul mood she takes it out on him.

Polly is jealous of their close relationship, but doesn’t know how to go about fostering the same for herself.

They don’t talk, they shout, and if someone else is speaking they just shout louder. I often feel like cymbals are going off inside my head.

On my darkest days I wonder how this can possibly be happening to me?  I’m a good person, I know that. I have amazing friends, and rubbish people do not have amazing friends.

I never imagined motherhood to be 24/7/365 sunshine and roses, but cards on the table, I wasn’t even slightly prepared for this.

After turning my own shitty childhood around with therapy sessions, self-reflection, willingness to change and positive thinking. I thought I would be a great mum.

My biggest problem is that I know where I’m going wrong. Yet I’m powerless in the face of that knowledge some days. The exhaustion is just too overwhelming.

Yesterday morning I had it all sussed out. I was going to get my positivity back on track, and make more time for me.

Today I have been shattered into tiny pieces by my children. My day started at 4:30am, and I alternated between being a nurse maid and zoo keeper. I started bedtime at 5pm, and it took two hours to get the tired, unwell bunnies into the land of nod.

Welcome to parenthood – the toughest gig you’re going to get!

But tomorrow is a new day. I promise to wipe the slate clean, and start all over again.

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