i used to be a gentle parent

Before my second pregnancy, I definitely considered myself a gentle parent. I had one relatively easy toddler who had not yet reached the difficult stage of doing the exact opposite of everything I said. I didn’t get much sleep, but I was patient, kind and respectful of my child. And I felt pretty damn smug about it.

Fast forward 11 months and things are a bit different. I have a busy, bright, inquisitive two-year-old and newborn twins. I get no sleep (well, maybe four hours a night in two-hour bursts) and I am not patient, rarely kind, and often disrespectful to my child. And I feel pretty damn guilty about it.

You see, something that no one warns you about having children is how angry you will feel. When you’re getting by on snatched moments of rest, things that you would usually laugh off become triggers of intense rage. And in my case, my poor unsuspecting eldest has become the object of my frustration.

It’s not entirely my fault: two-and-a-half is widely acknowledged to be an extremely difficult age for child and parents – something I kind of wish our friends had told us before we committed ourselves to this age gap – and having twins is enough to send anyone round the bend. But I have to accept responsibility, because (unfortunately) I am the parent and that means everything is my fault.

So what do you do? How do you control the flashes of anger? How do you stop yourself unleashing the red mist on your precious snowflake? In my case, I don’t, but I sure feel guilty when my tiny toddler’s face crumbles as he cries, “Please don’t be mean to me, Mummy! Please only say nice things!”

What do I do? I walk away, I take time to calm down. I try not to trigger my son’s behaviour with unexpected events. I remind myself that he’s only two. I look into his eyes and remember seeing them for the first time. I call my husband and cry. I talk to my friends and realise I’m not the only one.

And I try again tomorrow.

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About Ellie Thouret

I'm an obsessive knitter based in the UK's North West. Passionate about good food, crafts, home decor and my family.
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6 Responses to i used to be a gentle parent

  1. I can really relate to this! Well written xxx

  2. Don’t beat yourself up Ellie I think most parents have been there-i had three in three and a half years-after the age of thirty five! I’ still recovering! Seriously-don’t reckon they remember very long just say sorry mummy’s tired and stop trying to do too much-fed warm and loved is more than enough-that applies to you and guy as well of course.get some new treat DVDs for when mummy’s tired-I’m sure he’ll have the hang of the DVDs player by now! Bag of big crayons and paper-you can both draw tired and cross pictures!wish you were nearer-I’d love to help thinking of you-much love. Wandaxxx

  3. Clare Riley says:

    I can totally relate. I can’t with twins but I can with the taking out the frustration on the oldest. Sadly though mine is 9 and doesn’t forget so I have to be really careful and will forever be guilty for some of the things I have said to her of late as my youngest hits his TT’s. Huge hugs to you sweet. xxx

  4. I’ve just read this after removing myself from the 2 year old ‘situation’, hiding in the kitchen whilst he watches Frozen for the THIRD time today!

    I’m finding the gentle approach hard when I don’t get any ‘me’ time to unwind without any distractions!

  5. Jen Summers says:

    With my now two year old I count to 10 quite a few times a day and then I think about all the times she makes me smile. Sorry not great advice but it helps me cope and remember that she’s only two and doesn’t understand.

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