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Crappy Days: Attachment Parenting With a Temper

I woke up tired today. I guess I didn’t sleep much, but what’s new? I have a 1-year-old who nurses through the night, a 4-year-old who still nurses several times a day, and let’s face it, after 4 years of breastfeeding I just don’t sleep that well on my side for hours on end. I’m pretty much tired all the time. I figured I would get dressed while my husband was still around so I wouldn’t have to try to entertain the Tantruming Twosome while trying to brush my teeth and hide my boobs.

So here I was, all ready for the day, dressed and ready to go by 7am. I’m pretty sure this just made the day seem longer. I usually put off getting dressed until minutes before we head out the door and if it’s an indoor day then I might skip getting dressed altogether. This might seem like a luxury to some, but to me it’s just to avoid one more situation where I am sure to lose my shit.

The boys were hanging with my husband, all calm, cool and collected. Then I waltz into the room. You know what happened don’t you? I can’t be the only one who can see right through their kids. Yep, as soon as they see me everyone melts down, the whining begins, the situations escalate and the tantrums unfold. I was so annoyed already.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder losing her shit

There are days when I take this perfectly normal part of childhood behavior in stride, I speak calmly, I look past the behavior and try to figure out what they need, I scoop them up and gently bring them the closeness they are looking for. Oh, Happy Days.

Then there are days like today. Crappy Days. Days where I want to yell, days where I want to slam doors, days where I want to tell them to stop crying because they are driving me crazy. And all of these things often do happen on these Crappy Days.

When I stop taking care of myself, when I spend every second with them figuring I’ll shower later, call that friend later, take a few minutes to myself later, then I end up on edge. I start to feel the anxiety build in my chest. I feel heavy with the responsibility of being needed every. single. second. of my life.

When I forget all of the gentle parenting goals to take deeps breaths, focus on connection, model managing big emotions, when I forget that I am the main person through which they will develop their self-esteem, sense of trust in the world, how to treat others, when I forget all of these things it’s just one ugly Crappy Day.

I want to scream until my throat burns. I want to smash all of the dishes in the cupboard. I want to take a bat to our printer Office Space style. I want to run through brick walls.

It was more than half way through the day before I stopped. I spent all day trying to get the boys through my ideal perfect day. The day no one wanted to have, including me. “We have to go outside and explore!” “No, you can’t watch TV!” “We have to make lunch, no bunny crackers!”

Oh my god. I torture myself to live up to this ideal and some days it’s fun and it’s how I want it to be, but on the days when we need to just chill I struggle to let it go. I fill my chest with guilt and anxiety about every little thing and pile it on top of my exhausted shoulders.

Around 2:30pm I gave up. I shuffled the boys home, I turned on the TV, I pulled out the snacks and let my body go limp on the couch. Why do I torture these children? Why didn’t I just wake up, admit I was tired and decide to have relaxing day with movies, snacks and lazy games?

All I did was damage my relationship with my sons, make myself more tired and stressed and I ended feeling guilty anyway for a whole different reason than TV and bunny crackers!!! It’s so stupid.

Once it was all calm again we actually had a better time together. We laughed at the TV show together, shared food and enjoyed each other. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

And now I am sitting here alone. My husband took the boys to the park, I exercised and now I am writing this blog. A little bit for me in hopes that I can have a more peaceful evening. And I hope I can remember to let it go tomorrow and follow their lead.

Abby Theuring, MSW