Every week on Friday I feature a post from a fellow mom sharing her story about motherhood. This week I have Jenny from See Mama Go discussing difficulties in raising a spirited child. She shares an extremely honest take on feeling fearful of your child.
When I first had my daughter, I thought we would be like the Gilmore Girls. I’m a cool mom, and she’s going to be my little girl. I’ll be firm but loving. It’ll be great! Never in a million years did I think I would be afraid of my child.
From the second she could walk and talk, my daughter became the boss. And I’ve been spending 9 years trying to undo that. With very little success.
When you first read this headline, I’m sure you’re thinking “Oh that poor mom, she must have a child with emotional behaviors, or psychological problems.”
Nope. Wrong! I have a perfectly normal (if you call spirited kids normal) beautiful little girl.
So where did it all go wrong? Or in other words, how did I fail as a Mom?
My parenting fail
Now I don’t want to make it seem like it’s as bad as it sounds. I’m not worried she’s going to stab me in my sleep or anything like that. No, I’m just afraid of the simple stuff.
From the time they are really young, we try to set rules but ultimately we know toddlers are going to throw tantrums when you tell them no. This is something we expect, although may not entirely be prepared for.
Even then it’s hard to deal with. As a parent, we fully realize that you have to be tough at times. You can’t give into your kids with every little thing. You’ll only create a spoiled brat.
But what you are not prepared for is the full out fits a toddler can throw… anytime, anywhere. And since we know our kids best, we can see the storm coming a mile away. Before you have to say no and before you have to take a toy away… you already know what’s going to happen. And you become afraid.
It’s one thing to let them throw themselves to the floor and cry and scream in your own home. But what happens when you are in the middle of Target? Or at a friends house? Or God forbid, trying to have dinner at a nice restaurant?
Your kid starts throwing spaghetti and the fear rushes through your body. If you say no, they will go full out tantrum right there in the middle of the Olive Garden. So then what do you do? You scold them and you are that awkward mom in public yelling at her child. If you ignore them, then you’re the mom letting her kid get away with murder.
So the question is, which one do you fear more… the other patrons mom-shaming you? Or your own child?
It’s enough to make a mom never want to leave the house!
Middle School Age Spirited Child
So if you can just get through those toddler years then you’ll be ok right? So sorry, but wrong again.
As my daughter gets older and older, my fear of her gets worse and worse. Because she’s learned a few tricks of her own by now too. One of those tricks includes knowing how to wear me down. It’s not only tantrums I have to fear with her, but the endless asking and asking and asking until she gets what she wants.
It’s not good enough to tell her no. I have to explain exactly why. And I have to listen to her reasons of why I should do exactly what she wants. In my mind, I start to fear my child the second she ask for something.
If I say no, I’ll have hours of saying it over and over again. All the while listening to her complain and whine about it. So yes, sometimes I fear that so much that I say yes. I give in. Just to keep my own sanity.
After school seems to be the worst. Any mom of a middle-schooler knows this. They had a long day. They are tired and hungry. And they spent all day listening to their teachers rules and they are just over it.
My daughter uses this time to make requests. I swear she must know this is the best time to do it, because it’s when I fear her the most. I have to watch every little thing I say. If I say no to something, I better have a dang good reason for doing so.
Even if I do have a good reason, it may not even matter. She’ll still get upset. And then starts the whining, the complaining, the rolling her eyes and talking to me like she’s so much smarter and I just don’t understand.
Because of this I have started to be afraid of that after school pickup. I find myself chanting quietly, just make it home… just make it home.
Being afraid at home
The fear of your kid throwing a tantrum doesn’t just happen in public. There are plenty of things that set kids off right in your very own home. Like bedtime. I’ll never understand it. Bedtime has been the same for years. I give plenty of warnings. But still, when 8:30 pm rolls around and I have to tell my daughter for the final time… you need to go to bed… I brace myself for what comes next.
How did it ever get to this? We all knew parenting wouldn’t be easy. But if you read the books, and follow all the advice… you should be OK. You just need to be firm. Your child might be hesitant at first but eventually they will get the routine down and your home will be peaceful.
So where are all the books that tell you that after years of telling your kid to go to bed, you still fear her when that time comes every night?
Where is the Pinterest article that gives us the truth about being afraid of your kids each and every time you have to say no to them?
What I should have done different
So maybe there is a part of me that should have listened to the books more. I should have been even more firm than I thought I was. When I said no, I should have stuck to my guns.
But the reality of the situation is, no mom is perfect. And even more of a realization is that as parents, we really have no idea what we’re doing.
It’s easy to tell a mom she has to say NO and stick to it. But when you are the mom who’s worked all day, and who’s house is a mess, and who hasn’t slept a solid night in several years…it’s a lot easier said then done.
Some days when you have to give in to your kid just so you don’t have a break down, then go ahead and give in to your child.
At the end of the day, being afraid of my daughter isn’t a horrible thing. Sure, it feels that way to me sometimes. But she has no idea. And as it turns out, I was the same way to my mom.