I find meeting new people really difficult. As a 5 year old it’s pretty easy “I like your hair band, let’s be friends” “I don’t like the colour of your shoes, I don’t like you”. Simple. It may not make sense but everyone knows where they stand!
When Aoife started school one of my biggest concerns (after how she would settle in) was the other Mums in the playground. After seeing all the horror stories from parents rocking up in their pyjamas to parents brawling and the more passive aggressive Judgey Judgeypants parents, it’s safe to say I was dreading it.
The first few weeks were a bit odd, the folk who knew each other spoke to each other. The rest of us slowly started to approach one another and start small talk.
I spoke to a few people then spent the rest of the day telling myself off for being an utter dick and convinced myself wholeheartedly that they all thought me a bit stupid.
We’re a few months in now and I think I’ve started to make friends, still I don’t reveal my ACTUAL me. I don’t want them to think I’m a bit peculiar or whatnot. This is how I roll.
So. Imagine my shock this week when I discovered that there is another Mum there like me! Another Mum who is OK with admitting she too goes from calm to bat shit crazy in under 10 seconds. Who is OK with admitting she too probably says and does the wrong things when her 5 year old is having a strop. Who is OK with admitting that her child can be rude and difficult. Another Mum who is OK admitting that this parenting lark is bloody hard at times. I was DELIGHTED (Obviously I feel bad for her but I was still glad).
Aoife is a pretty smart cookie (not just me being a braggy parent, she actually is) this other Mum’s child is also a smart cookie, it seems we’re both trying to reason with a child who has the words and attitude of an 11 year old but the emotional mind of a 5 year old, it’s tricky when they can declare (in context) that someone is being contrary but can’t understand how their words can be hurtful and sometimes downright mean.
This week has been particularly tough, Aoife has told me she “doesn’t want to listen to every little thing I have to say” and she’s “blah blah blah’d” me when I’ve tried to reason with her. She’s made me cry, she’s made me frustrated and she’s made me feel like the worst mum ever (obviously there have been good times too, but sometimes it’s hard to remember them when the rudeness is nonstop).
To have a conversation with someone who wasn’t afraid to admit they too had bad days and needed a time out (or maybe a small wine) was exhilarating, it felt really, really good to be able to speak about these things and not feel like she was judging me, instead she was mental high fiving me (because an actual high five is totally uncool) and agreeing with me and understanding me. I was over the moon. Obviously I need to not get too giddy about this as not all Mums are the same, some will look on disapprovingly when you admit that you kind of ignore your child when they’re on their 15th rendition of Ding Dong Merrily…(yes I know it’s April) rather than record it, again, for posterity.
It has made me think though. Why are we, as parents, so reluctant to share our parenting woes? I guess the obvious answer is a fear of being judged or looking like we’re not coping. Every parent will have a story about Tobias or Davina being a little git but very few will go so far to admit Davina was actually being a little shit and they just wanted to walk out the door. Very few will admit they pretty much went postal and said something maybe they shouldn’t have. Maybe if we were all completely honest about these moments we could share our terrible stories but also share tales of resolve, things that worked for us , or didn’t but made us feel better for a while. Maybe if we weren’t so worried about being judged or busy judging others we would actually provide a really good support network so instead of sitting home feeling entirely useless and like a massive failure of a parent, we’d have comfort in knowing we’re not alone.
Or maybe we are alone, just me and this other Mum having really bad days, saying the wrong stuff and responding the wrong way whilst everyone else is parenting the correct way, riding their unicorns on the school run and farting fairy dust…..
Speaking with this Mum has helped me to realise that maybe I am more normal than I thought and for that I am pleased. She’s also pretty ace too so talking about non child related stuff is no chore either.
To anyone out there who maybe feels a bit alone or like they’re not coping whilst everyone around them does or that they’re parenting terribly, I sincerely hope YOU find that ‘other’ Mum. If not, I’m here and happy to lay my parenting foibles out here for you all to see. But not judge. No one likes a Judgey McJudgison!
Hmmmm, this is all a bit serious today.
“Who is your favourite Paw Patrol?” “I don’t have a favourite” “But who do you like best?” “I like them all the same?” “But which one most?” “I don’t know, Chase? I like Chase best” “I like Skye best, do you like Skye best?” “No, I said I like Chase best” “Not Skye?” “No, Chase” “I like Chase best” “I thought you liked Skye best?” “No, I like Chase” “OK” “Who do you like next best?” “GAAAAAHHHHHHH None of them! I don’t really have a favourite, I just said I did to stop you asking” “Do you like Skye next best?”
“Yes, I like Skye” “OK, Who’s your favourite on Blaze?”
*Finds closest wall for head to come into alignment with*