Bad Mothering? You're kidding!

Please note: This post has a considerably high level of profanity. It also contains taboo behaviours not often spoken of, some of which may make you feel uncomfortable. Hopefully they make you feel normal. There is MUCH more to be said about human behaviour and psychology in relation to what follows, but I have left it out. Please be mindful that it is not being ignored as you read.

I dug this out from a place I share my stuff I don’t like to say too publicly, because this society we live in doesn’t like to hear it.

However, after just having read an article that assures me saying “NOOOOOO!” to a baby/toddler/child is wrong, and physically picking them up to remove them from danger leaves the powerless, and using distraction techniques makes them incapable of improving their attention span, I felt it needed to be said.

I’m not necessarily disagreeing with any of the above – nor agreeing with it, either, for that matter. I know little about the research and experts involves, so don’t feel capable enough to comment.

What I will say is that, sometimes, we react in certain ways.

Which brings me to a couple of bad parenting moments I’d like to share with you (mostly in the hope that it’s not just me …). There are a few moments in my life like this.

A few months back, my twelve year old was being what I understand to be relatively “normal” behaviour for his age. Not, however, something I’ve read in any books, as they would not deign to tell it like it really is. I gleaned this “relative normalness” from a variety of sources; opinions, positions and research I trust, and much anecdotal reverie.

Anyhoo, he was just being plain nasty. I don’t like plain nasty. I also feel it my duty to educate, empower, explain and otherwise prevent any further Plain Nastiness from occurring. The flipside was, he was being nasty to another of my offspring, so that whole Maternal Mother Lion Protective thingy came to the fore.

He is a bright kid, ask questions and is more often than not open to accepting and understanding different points of view. We had many a calm, rational discussion about feelings, and behaviours, taking responsibility for actions yadda yadda (I’ll stop there before I get to wanky).

After many, many Plain Nasty moments and the seemingly unrelenting of it, I hit my virtual tolerance wall.

I hit it after some inane “Stop looking at me” or “I hate you ” or “Your breath smells” comment from the eldest to the middlest.

“STOP!” I yelled.

The look I got took me to the top of that wall and flung me from it’s edge.

“You are a nasty little fuck and I am sick of it. Get out of my fucking sight and go to fucking bed!”

I didn’t care that it was 5.17p.m.

I was beyond caring about my language and the tone of my voice.

After weeks of trying – and failing – to get my point across, I was beyond caring about calm, explanation and understanding.

I got a look, and a meek “I’m sorry.”

Sorry no longer cuts in when you’ve heard it three times a day after each and every rational talk, and the almost immediate, subsequent action disputes that apology in its entirety.

“I. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck!” I intoned. “Just get the fuck away from me.”

I was so angry, beaten and frustrated that I had no feelings for him when he slunk away, clearly remorseful.

On one level, it was the best damned parenting on earth; because he walked away, physically unharmed. And not dead.

I took a breath. I took a few beats. I sent a text to my friend …

It’s not the first time this has happened. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

There have been other moments.

My then three year old, who took being obstructive to a level I never thought possible. He used to add to the fun of this by screaming. Sometimes, he’d hit himself, when things were really not going well.

There is only so much screaming a person can take before wanting to lock someone in a soundproof breadbox.

I didn’t, in this instance. I put him in his pram, kicking and screaming, and walked his older siblings to school.

The screaming did. Not. Stop.

I almost, but didn’t quite, lose it when we walked out the gate and he grabbed the gatepost, causing the pram to turn sharply and my ankle to twist. It hurt.

I still held it when another, highly observant, school mums tells me “he’s not happy, is he”.

I didn’t even tell her to fuck off or call her a stupid cow.

I took a breath, to still my resolve and hang onto that calm, rational Mother, and lean into the pram to calm him.

And got a size 5 runner to one side of my head, and an ear piercing, brain shattering scream into my ear the other side.

I slapped his leg away in a reflex reaction and “You fucking little shit!” came out my mouth.

Yes, at the school gate.

I could name incident after incident over the last twelve years. Numerous walls have

6 Replies to “Bad Mothering? You're kidding!”

  1. Gah, lump in throat and prickle behind eyes. Must be coming down with a bad case of “thank fucking gods it’s not just me!”.

    My tolerance level when I’m pushed is incredibly low, and I lose my temper easily – not just with my children, but they are the current thorn in my paw. I’ve lost several jobs over it in the past, been to counselling, practiced meditation and all that stuff. The best way for me to NOT lose my temper so often is to get away from the aggravation, but with a shift-working husband the opportunity doesn’t come up as often as I need it to. Exercise helps, but limited opportunity for the same reason.
    I desperately dislike myself when I yell and swear at my kids, but sometimes, when they don’t do what they need to when they need to do it, or when they bicker and poke at each other and asking 15 times for them to stop it doesn’t work, or when I’m tired and grumpy, I HAVE to yell. For ME.

  2. You are not alone. When you reach breaking point and just don’t give a fuck the best parenting is them getting an earful and being shut in their room until you have a chance to calm down.
    I always wonder if I was being filmed by Super Nanny how badly I’d come of, but you know what? I’m doing the best I can & I’m sure I get it right more times than wrong.

  3. Yep yep and YEP!!!! I know when I react this way 🙁 that I am being a “bad mother”… I feel it in myself! It is so comforting to realise that other mums experience similar stresses, confusion and temper loss! Not because I think it’s “ok” or socially acceptable because others experience this, but just to know I am friggin human!

    It is just ridiculous and impossible to be the perfect mummy all the time… lord knows I try! I often reflect to my childhood and realise my poor mum suffered from similar torment too!! Fathers experience this too, well at least my hubby does… and his fuse is even shorter than mine although he doesn’t have the kids around him for even 1/4 of the time I do.

    Haha… had to giggle at some of the comments above! I often wonder about the Super Nanny thing too, and how I’d come out looking.. not good I’m sure! And when I am feeling like I am going to swear or yell or not say something very nice at the kids, I try to put myself in a role play of being on something like that show to help control my reaction! Sad sad sad 🙁

    And it’s just getting worse really now with my daughter approaching adolescence! WhoTF told her it means she can be bossier and bitchier at me?!?! Little miss “I know everything”! Ahhhhh but I really love them so so much {when they are being their lovely nice selves… or sleeping… yeah sleeping is when they are being their loveliest!!!} and it just kills me inside to know that pretty much every day there is a screaming match and one day {and time is flying by} they will be gone, in their own places and I will miss them so much…. I wish so much we could just enjoy being young together… I often think once they are older and have kids of their own they will reflect back at their childhood and think I was a hopeless mother who didn’t lead the way for their good parental learning either… I guess it’s up to me to lead the way for them and I wish I had had a good role model to show me how to do this best… gee that went off topic!! sorry lol 🙂

  4. I always thought I’d never swear my kids!!! My mum only ever said blood shit and not at us. Now I wonder how she didn’t swear?? On the flip side she will be laughing at me because I have 2 girls both exactly like ME!!!!!!!

  5. Mums night out is so much fun
    Getting together for a laugh & a boogy
    I would love to give a ticket to aorher Mum to join us
    Mad Cow Is the best with her practical parenting tips &hints
    for us to all feel we are the best Mums we can be!

  6. Omg. Thought it was just me. Yelling makes me feel better and unfortunately the kids will cop it because they are usually the ones that push me to the edge after being patient, 1,2,3 magic, and every other thing doesn’t work on my 9 year old. Kind of like self harm without a knife. Releases the pent up emotion without the blood or knives! Once I yell I am usually able to take a deep breath and calm down but before that I am shallow breathing and having anxiety because a fucking rude, nasty bitch of a 9 year old has pushed me so far!!! The middle child who gets picked on mostly by the eldest child, told me she feels sorry for her because she always gets into trouble ( mostly for being a nasty bitch to the middle one) which then makes you feel like a total bad parent…. Aaah whatevs. # keepingpsychologistsinajob

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