5 Dec 2017
Sofia’s bratty behaviour has made life in the past three weeks so intense, I’ve forgotten where to go on this parenting path. The (latest) thrill Baby’s putting out is coming clean and admitting to misbehaving behind my back. She acts well sheepish during these daily (!) confessions and I can’t gauge whether she truly regrets going against my grain or she just wants me to know because her consciousness feels heavy. No matter. What I care about is what to do with it: punishment for the actual acts of ignoring what I ask of her or praise for the honesty in admitting that she ignores what I ask of her? Honesty is more important on a larger scale, right? So… I leave her alone then? Which I struggle to do, since the “rules” are in place for one thing only: to teach Sofia how to make good choices – it kills me to think I’m failing to show a child how to take care of herself, all of a sudden danger is everywhere, omg.
Apart from this, not to diminish its seriousness, it looks like we are slowly coming back to stillness. I adore stillness – where every morning, day and evening are the same, when we know what follows what and we live it, when, f-cking finally, after weeks of bratty torture with tears by the litre for good measure, I am relaxed and able to tap into the highs of parenthood: talking. I’ll take any talking: meaningless, emotional, loaded, fun, forgettable, stupid, intelligent – as long as Sofia wants to speak with me and ask me questions, I am THERE for this motherhood road! While SHE is there for them unicorns.
Chattering then, is what might tip the dilemma scale towards the “honesty is more important”. But is all taking good talking? I am inclined to immediately agree, at least on first instinct, but that has me by the balls. What if the truth is bent? IS it bent? CAN it be bent? In her latest desire to tell nothing but the truth, Sofia has admitted that she’d been talking to her friend at school about how much I shout. This is true, I have been shouting f-ckloads in the last few weeks. Sofia had been giving me so much grief that living became a nightmare and parenthood a regret. I don’t enjoy shouting, shouting at a defenceless child is gross and it’s not my preferred method – I favour the praise-punishment approach, which, not to brag, I am great at, but which in the past few weeks did scarily f-ckall. When you’re reasoning with a seven-year-old during a perpetual tantrum and you’re not getting closer to a compromise and you have to leave home in three, two, one, it’s incredible how much more effectively and efficiently shouting gets the job done.
“Did you tell your friends the reasons I’ve been yelling?” – “No, I said I don’t know why”. Hold.the.phone.you.what??? You throw a strop a minute (because you don’t like your dance uniform!!!), feed me lies on the daily, ignore my every request and you don’t see what’s upsetting me? Another lie. This one REALLY hurts though. Is this true? Does she not see what upsets me? Will this now be the memory she carries on through her life until she can afford therapy – one of an out-of-control screaming mother? Or is she simply refusing to share the responsibility? Am I misreading the situation? I don’t have an answer. I do, however, know exactly how it makes me feel: sad, betrayed, angry, righteous, failing. I cried and I did not sleep. I’m disappointed in me, I’m disappointed in her. Shouting at a kid is gross, especially in the eyes of the other children, but if you want to hold me accountable shouldn’t you own your sh-t too? It’s only fair?
Lest you think I am lowering my moral compass to that of a seven-year-old’s, it’s the opposite: I hope to teach a seven-year-old to raise her moral standards to those of an adult. Why else would I be parenting? It’s a complicated journey (duh) but I hope that in my household growing together can mean that each of us is free to call the other out on their bullsh-t and feel good about it. Challenge accepted.