Parenting: the good, the bad and the ugly

JJ's flowerI’m not going to lie – today (Saturday) has been a tough one. I’ve been on my own with the kids (more or less – I had about 50 minutes off to run to Sainsburys in the middle!) for the whole of 12 hours (Hubster on late shifts). Some of my blogging friends met up for a fun lunch out in London today.

It was dry but mostly cloudy and cold out. I took them to a child-friendly pub for pancakes and syrup and some fun in the outdoor play zone in the morning. They were happy there for an hour and a quarter. After that things went somewhat downhill. I ended the day in tears feeling like I had shouted too much, not been mindful enough, let anger and disappointment and lonliness get the better of me.

They comforted me. JJ told me that I was the best mum in the world and I think, bless him, that he actually meant it. He told me in no uncertain terms not to cry, and they both gave me lovely hugs and kisses. It shouldn’t be that way round, I know, and yet it was the one thing (other than reminding myself how lucky I am, that the days are long but the years are short, that this too shall pass, that it’s just another ‘first world problem’, that I should stop pitying myself as I have so very many things to be grateful and happy about) that put the brakes on my emotional roller coaster ride.

Sometimes I feel like parenthood is a bit like an alternate reality that we step into from our ‘normal’ lives. Obviously I don’t know for sure because I haven’t had a chance to visit the future yet, but I’m thinking that gradually, little by little, year on year, that division between the two realities begins to blur until you have a sense of being back on terra firma again.

Oh sure we build a world for ourselves which fits in nappy changes and toddler wrangling, school runs and homework, with nursery rhymes and the Octonauts theme tune as the soundtrack to our lives, but it’s so very different to what went before. Of course people love being parents, of course they enjoy the experiences it brings, and then again everyone is different and everyone’s children and family set-ups are different.

On a good day? It can feel like ‘having it all’ – those surges of love that keep you buoyant, moments of ‘me’ time that keep you grounded, connections with other parents which make you feel normal and re-connections with old friends that remind you that you were someone in your own right before the subtle knife sliced through to the world you now inhabit.

And what of the childless? The child-free? I sometimes view that world through such rose-tinted spectacles, as if no-one on that side of the invisible curtain has any worries or problems or hard times. Not the case – so very clearly not the case. And what I have, at the end of my ‘bad’ day is not so bad after all – cuddles, kisses, a picture of a flower painted with love. I will go to bed early, I will not wake with a hangover and tomorrow is another day.


And then the fun began...

15 thoughts on “Parenting: the good, the bad and the ugly

  1. Sam, I felt your pain when you talked of ending the day in tears. I’m sure I had a day like this very recently (actually it was yesterday on Mother’s Day). You’re right, it shouldn’t be them comforting you, but often it is – and boy, what a comfort they bring.

    I think that I get particularly bad days when I feel like I’m not doing enough for them, when they’re getting impatient with me, or when the day doesn’t pan out like I had hoped. Illness is also a bit of a nightmare – I’m currently experiencing a bout of illness (albeit mild) but it really does make childcare rather difficult when you feel like you just need to crawl back into bed.

    Waking up sans a hangover is ALWAYS something to be joyous about – if nothing else, cling to that. #TheTruthAbout xx
    Fiona @ Free Range Chick recently posted…The Loss of a Cherished FriendshipMy Profile

  2. Oh no, ending the day in tears is never good. I’m sorry your day reduced to that, I am also really happy that you saw the good in your day too as it really is so important to remember to be thankful as life could be so much worse but as you said in that moment when it’s tough it feels like the hardest moment. So cute of your littles to be so kind and make you feel good. We need each other don’t we x #TheTruthAbout
    life as our little family recently posted…Count Your Lucky Stars : March {Growing Up}My Profile

  3. Oh Sam, I know just what you mean – I have many, many days like this when I feel like I haven’t been ‘enough’ where my children are concerned and have let the loneliness, tiredness and general irritation that often comes with parenting young children get to me. As you say, tomorrow is another day and I’m glad that JJ’s comforting helped cheer you up – it is horrible when you end the day in tears like that. Sending you hugs and hope that this week is a better one for you xx
    Louise recently posted…Through the yearsMy Profile

  4. We’ve all been there, Sam – which doesn’t make those days any easier for you, of course, except to know that you’re in good company. Just remember the cuddles and JJ’s unfiltered love for you – that’s what keeps us all going through the bad days!
    Tim recently posted…Gridiron girlMy Profile

  5. You absolutely hit the nail of the head with the part about parentdom being an alternate reality. I think this is something we all go through – but definitely those cuddles, kisses and boundless love is what keeps us all plugging away as best we can!

  6. I hear you and you have my total sympathy. I’ve had too many days recently that have ended up in teats (generally speaking mine) and I understand the phrase ‘went downhill’ more than I would like to!
    Onwards and upwards – it’s the only way!

  7. Oh lovely, I’m so sorry you had such a rubbish day. Sadly, I could have written much of this post myself, so I can empathise with you completely. But, you’re right, our bad days aren’t really that bad at all, not when we can take a step back and look at them with a bit of distance from the chaos x
    Sara (@mumturnedmom) recently posted…My ThreeMy Profile

  8. Spot on! I have felt all these thing many times. It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves or to wonder about the child-free life. I know I can feel a tad bit jealous when I hear of my childless friends doing all these “fabulous” things with all that spare time! In the end though, I wouldn’t change a thing, no matter how hard it can be! Such a crazy, crazy ride!
    Brandyn Blaze recently posted…The Truth About…Friends And FamilyMy Profile

  9. I’ve read a few posts lately that are slightly grieving the loss of their pre-baby life. It’s given me a lot to think about. In a way I’m glad that my life turned out the way it did – I was 21 when I married and had my first baby 12 days before I turned 22. So I never really HAD a lifestyle to miss. I just feel like my life has always been these awesome little people that admittedly sometimes drive me crazy, and it always will be. πŸ™‚
    Jenny @ Unremarkable Files recently posted…Please Stop Giving My Kids TrophiesMy Profile

  10. Having the whole day with little munchkins is so hard and hats off to you. But I’m glad you could turn it around and see the good in the situation. The cuddles are so worth it and you are right the grass is always greener when thinking of childless people. However no hangover is definitely just the best!! Thanks for hosting as always xx
    Sarah Howe recently posted…When’s the right time to have another baby?My Profile

  11. It does get easier as they grow up lovely, all of a sudden the tantrums and whinging begins to disappear and you’re left with a little person you can reason with and you actually enjoy (and properly enjoy) their company. You will chat about things and they will genuinely entertain you. Then you’ll see the fruit of all your hard labour and quite amazing. You feel quite smug and proud with yourself for having had anything to do with creating this little person. So hang on in there. Sounds like they are already pretty amazing with all those kind words and kisses. The child free don’t know what they’re missing and who wants lie-ins anyway! xx
    teacuptoria recently posted…My Mother’s Day SulkMy Profile

  12. Yep β€” you’re so right. What is a shit day for us β€” when the kids are moaning or clingy or generally doing our heads in β€” is someone else’s dream.

    It was mine for a long, long time, before I was lucky enough to be given the gift of motherhood. The bad days now are still nowhere near as bad as the one’s where I was yearning to be a mother. We are so lucky xx #TheTruthAbout

    Caro |
    Caro | The Twinkles Momma recently posted…105 weeks and 1 day | Technology {captured moments 6.02.2015}My Profile

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