In an ideal world I would really like to consider myself to be a mindful attached parent. I completely buy into the idea that we raise very self aware children, able to understand their own emotions and confident and secure in themselves that they know it's ok to show them. My eldest daughter Niamh is a very sensitive 6 year old. She is kind, considerate but also a very typical 6 year old who can make even the most patient Mother's ears bleed. Yesterday, I had a morning from the bowels of hell.
It was so bad that I feel like I contradicted everything I've strived hard to teach Niamh about handling emotions and i'm ashamed. We were late up. The baby woke up just as I was about to get dressed which spells disaster as clothes needed ironing. I resolved to get dressed in the living room so I could distract the baby with Peppa Pig. Niamh was taking an age putting on her uniform and punctuating each item with a verse from High School Musical. My stress levels had risen to just behind my eyes.
Finally dressed, I grabbed the brush to do her hair. I was midway through the first stroke and she started to cry.
"I've barely given it one brush! It can't be hurting you..."
Cue more sobs.
"I can't help crying! I said that to my friends at school"
"Why were you crying at school?"
"My friends were bossing me around so I cried"
"Oh Niamh, no one likes a cry baby"
"I AM NOT A CRY BABY!"
In those six words I had managed to dismiss her feelings as unimportant and silly. I had made her feel silly too when really I should have acknowledged why she had felt upset at school and how to feel better about things. I apologised later that night and she seemed totally forgiving (although she admitted she had told her teacher I called her a cry baby - mortified doesn't even cover it).
Neil thought I was over reacting but I just didn't ever want her to become the class outcast. So fragile that it wasn't worth playing with her. I want her to be self assured at school although her sensitivity also makes her who she is and she completely rocks. I never want to change her, such a contradiction!
I could have handled it a hell of a lot better but I guess that's Motherhood. Trying to see the best practices through a fog of occasional rage and exhaustion and just hoping that tomorrow is a better day.
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