Bad mother

MotherI was a terrible mother this morning. I was impatient. I was disconnected. I was rushing. And I yelled. Quite a lot. I was ‘me’ at my worst this morning.

I am PMT-ish and I’ve been awake since 4:30.

Toby wet the bed at 4:30am. Just as I was about to drift off back to sleep at about 5:15, Dylan wet his bed too. Twins, eh?! Dylan then fell asleep in my bed (squashing me, obvs) and we were joined by Toby – just as I was drifting back to sleep – at 6:00am.

I’m not attempting to offer excuses for my behaviour. But I’m putting it into context so that – somehow – I can find the love to forgive myself.

I did at least warn the children that I was extremely tired and was therefore likely to be grumpy, short-tempered and not very nice!

They ignored that warning completely, of course.

heart in hand

But then came the magic.

As I kissed Toby goodbye at the door to his classroom, he looked up at me and said, “I’m sorry you didn’t get enough sleep mummy.  Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”

I welled up.

I knelt to the floor to be eye-to-eye with him.

I put my hands on his shoulders.

I looked him in the eye and said, “Thank you, my darling. I love you very much.”

He smiled and threw his arms around my neck.

The ability of children to love – unconditionally – never ceases to amaze me.

I must learn from them. I must try to be more like them.

So I must love myself unconditionally, as they love me unconditionally. There’s no point in me beating myself up about how I behaved. What’s done is done. NOW is a new moment. I can use the experience to connect to a part of myself that is normally hidden, to see it, acknowledge it and integrate it so that it no longer has the power to rear its ugly head. I’m learning that I don’t have to love all aspects of my behaviour to unconditionally love myself. I must give to myself that which I (try to) give to my children: nurturing, loving guidance and a safe space to reflect.

I know I have the power, in every moment, to choose how I experience it. And frankly, I didn’t much like the experience of bringing conflict into my family this morning. I could have created a much more positive experience.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it differently next time I’m suffering from PMT on little sleep. But I hope I’ll be able to see it and recognise it earlier next time; to find that distance, that separation necessary to be able to see the opportunities in the moment, rather than the challenges.

This reminds me of a beautiful graphic I posted on The Loving Parent Facebook page, courtesy of the wonderful Dulce de Leche.

Every conflict is...


Easier said than done, perhaps. But a great one to aim for!


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23 Responses to “Bad mother”

  1. Chene says:

    I love this post! It sounds so much like me on most mornings except that I don’t even redeem myself by apologising very often.
    I think you’ve handled it beautifully and your son sounds like such a sweetie!

    This has inspired me to try a bit harder with my kids in the morning (and with myself)

    • TLPAdmin says:

      Ah thanks Chene. I’m pleased it’s inspired you. But do you hear that you’re being harsh on yourself when you say you “don’t redeem myself by apologising”? Don’t worry about it! Work on forgiving yourself first and the rest will fall into place. Thanks for stopping by! Much love. x

  2. I welled up a little at what he said!

  3. that made me well up :”) such a lovely post. definitely food for thought. :) I find myself slipping into shouty mum mode sometimes and i hate myself for it. now im cryting again lol. x

    • TLPAdmin says:

      Oh sweetie! *passes a tissue* We ALL have bad days and shouty modes. Please, please don’t hate yourself for it. We all do what we can with the resources available to us at the time… and sometimes that’s not as good / or as much as we’d like. Parenting is really hard. We don’t need to be perfect. Just aware and loving (of ourselves too!) Sending you a virtual hug. :) <3 xx

  4. Jaime Oliver says:

    wow this is such a lovely post! and what a beautiful thing he said!

    Honored you have linked up with #magicmoments

  5. Mummy Plum says:

    Lovely post. We all have moments like these now and again, when we lose it and feel regretful afterwards :0) Your son sounds adorable, I would have welled up too in that situation. I love the fact that despite the negative start to your day it became a positive through that magic moment.

    • TLPAdmin says:

      Children teach us that, don’t they?! That what we can perceive as obstacles are actually opportunities. Thanks for stopping by! :) x

  6. He sounds like a very sensitive and perceptive boy. Wise too, beyond his years!

    • TLPAdmin says:

      I guess that’s true… in some moments! (But not so evident in others… like when his brother and he were tearing round the house this morning like lunatics! Lol.) xx

  7. Adored reading this. Such a good read. We can all be grouchy when we get depraved of sleep but the gift of children to make you smile again is priceless x

    • TLPAdmin says:

      They have so very many gifts to offer us. Their unshakeable for capacity for LOVE, smiles, hugs and new perspectives never ceases to amaze me! xx

  8. Lovely post! A #magicmoment indeed! Kids are so amazing sometimes – the minute you feel you are about to wring their necks (metaphorically of course!), they come out with a 100% genuine comment of the most lovely sentiment, which causes you to melt inside and instantly feel terribly guilty. But like your post implies, nobody’s perfect, so we mustn’t let that guilt take over. Hello from Gammon & Chips and Happy Monday! :-)

    • TLPAdmin says:

      Couldn’t agree more! They are completely transparent in offering up their love in those sentiments. It’s a trait most of us lose as we ‘grow up’ and can then spend years trying to re-claim! Great to see you here! Thanks for stopping by. :) xx

  9. [...] Yes, I know I shouldn’t. But I am human and I mess up. OFTEN! It doesn’t make me a bad mother (read here to find out more about how I came to that conclusion) but it does give me the opportunity to improve my reactions [...]

  10. Mum of One says:

    Such a lovely post. Brought a little tear to my eye! We are all guilty of this some days..well me lots of days if I’m honest. Thanks so much for linking up to the Pin-It Party. Have pinned and will go follow now :)

  11. Surely this is also about your being authentic?

    You were – understandably – very tired and equally grumpy. You told the children how you were feeling. You didn’t try to pretend to be otherwise. I guess you moderated your behaviour somewhat – the fact that the children are still alive shows that! And I suspect that when you warned the kids your words contained an element of apology. “I’m sorry but I’m tired and grumpy this morning…”

    So what do we have here?

    Your behaviour was consistent with your emotional state. That’s a real gift to children, who easily get confused when parents deny how they are feeling (a bewildering double-message that confuses their sense of reality). But in moderating your behaviour (however slightly!) and in explaining (and perhaps being apologetic), you also allowed your love to come through.

    That to me is what being authentic is. Not just going with the uppermost emotion, but allowing the range and complexity of ourselves to be shown.

    By being authentic yourself, you create a space that invites and allows the kids to respond authentically.

    • TLPAdmin says:

      Ah thanks Richard. It’s hugely reassuring to have this sort of support and feedback! Here’s to authenticity!! :) Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. xx

  12. [...] in my own space, doing things my way, I am confident and I am happy. We are happy! We have our ups and downs, of course, but within an atmosphere of love, respect, understanding, compassion and [...]

  13. [...] is not just that I feel like a bad mother. I can normally see what’s gone wrong and what I can do to steer things in the right direction. [...]

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