Monday, October 21, 2013


This weekend I failed. Not in a big way, not anything life-changing, but it was still a fail. A parenting fail.

I woke up Saturday morning eagerly anticipating my "me time" that was happening that day. I was going to go out shopping alone, no hubby or baby in tow. I desperately needed the break. It had been a while since I had more than a few minutes to myself, and I was getting worn down. I needed to recharge.

Baby G wasn't in the best of moods. She wasn't in a bad mood necessarily, she just was kinda meh. A little on the whiny side, and for some reason it seriously grated on my nerves. I was trying to stay patient, but the patience just wasn't there. Temper was, though. And I spent all day fighting it. Taking deep breaths, reminding myself that she isn't trying to irritate me, that it is absolutely nothing personal. That she was just having a rough time, and had no other way of communicating. But that sound she was making, this "eeeeeehhhhhhhhh" sound, was just driving me up the wall, and I was having trouble coping. So I was shorter and more snippy than was necessary. I was huffy and irritable and practically growling.

And then it was her nap time.

But she refused to accept that memo.

It was a battle, and although she finally went to sleep I feel like we both lost. I know I lost my cool, in the form of too-firm words, and touches that although were not rough, were also not as gentle as normal. I was clearly showing my irritation, and it didn't help either of us. I felt bad on top of feeling stressed, and she felt stressed (she felt my stress) on top of feeling tired.

After she finally went down, I sniped at The Hubby about making sure to feed her properly and change her diapers while I was gone. I was irritated that he hadn't stepped in when I was clearly having trouble staying reasonable and patient, but at the same time I know (and knew) I might have ripped his head off if he had tried. Because clearly an offer of help is a statement of incompetence. Right? Clearly.

Then I left, and had a delightful time... mostly shopping for Baby G, but also a little for me. I got some amazing deals, and actually got to finish a meal on my own with no interruptions. It was a giant slice of pepperoni pizza from Tony's in the mall. It was huge, and greasy, and STILL WARM, and absolutely heavenly. I got to take my time, and finish it, and it didn't even get cold.

I hoped that was all I needed, that almost 5 hour break. But when I got home, I still wasn't myself. I fought it, and I played with my sweet girl, but I still went from zero to 10 on the irritation scale when it got close to bedtime. Which she fought, way harder than she fought nap time. I was even sharper with her than before. It was not good. It wasn't horrible, I  wasn't horrible, but I also wasn't good. I was too impatient, too irritable. I just wanted her to settle the hell down and go to sleep.

I failed. She went to sleep eventually, after two hours of fighting it, but I failed as a compassionate parent. And I felt like crap. It wasn't a victory, it wasn't a power or control struggle that I won, nothing was gained from it. I didn't feel righteous or justified in my behavior, and I didn't feel like "Oh well, no harm done, better luck next time." I felt like I needed to regroup for the night, and be ready to apologize to my little girl. I snuggled her extra tight the next morning, and apologized for my lack of patience the night before. Even though she had no idea what I was saying or talking about, it was important that I acknowledged that my behavior was not okay.

The next day, I was back to normal, with a much-lengthened fuse and a return of my normal level of patience and adoration regarding my little lady. But I got irritated at one of the cats, and I yelled. Baby G's immediate response was to whimper and to leap into my lap. It made me think. She does the same thing anytime a loud, unexpected noise occurs that scares her. She goes to her safe place--me. I am her safe place when she is scared or uncertain. I am the one to reassure her that she is okay and protected from harm. If I am the cause of her fear and uncertainty because I am yelling at her, or in some way I have caused her physical harm (which would *never* be intentional), I am creating a huge level of confusion and potentially affecting her trust and attachment to me.

My bad mood the day before was not her fault. It is totally okay to be in a bad mood. It is unreasonable to think that my mood will never affect my parenting in a negative way, especially as she gets older and communicates her will more. But it's still something I will constantly work at. I know I will fail again, and apologize again. And again, and again. But never will I feel that it is okay to just shrug it off as "shit happens, she'll get over it." Parent/child relationships are no different than any other kind of relationship in that they take hard work and compassion to maintain and even better, to thrive.  


  1. Those days are hard. And when I'm not feeling that way, I feel like I am constantly reminding my hubby to remember to stay calm.

    1. It was definitely a very hard day. I have had hard "moments" before, but never have I had an entire day like that before! I know there will be more, but this first one was rough. And teamwork with the hubby is so important on those kinds of days!

      Thanks for commenting! :)