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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

Comments

  1. amen, mama. So glad I’m not alone!

  2. I’m so glad you posted this. I have a one year old and a three month old on top of my 11 and 9 year old. The one year old is very clingy and has started throwing tantrums when you tell her no or remove her from a bad situation (like climbing on the sofa). She has smacked her head on the floor so many times, I am shocked she doesn’t have one huge lump. Then she goes and takes the pacifier away from the baby making him cry. Those days are so much like you describe only I give up much sooner in the day. Generally by 10 AM. I will sit in the bathroom for 5 minutes of peace and sometimes end up crying because of the guilt. So, THANK YOU! You made me feel like a normal mom.

  3. Millena says:

    Oh my gosh! I thought I was the only one that had this issue! I thought I was just being a bitch. I’m so glad I’m not alone. I’ve been wanting to talk to someone about this but everyone else I know appears to have it all together and I feared they would look at me like I was insane. Thank you so much for posting this. I really needed that. Especially with the last few days………oh who am I kidding; MONTH!

  4. I feel ya! I had one of those days and it didn’t need to be so stressful I just made it that way cause I tried to fit in work dinner soccer practise while being preggo with two kids. Some days I just gotta say no soccer today lol

  5. I love your honesty. I had one of these days today. Ran out of patience 5 hours before bedtime. Deep breath. I’ll try again tomorrow.

  6. Natalie bird says:

    Thank you!

  7. I really appreciate you for writing this. You continue to impress me in your way of showing that nobody is the perfect mommy and there are days when you feel like screaming over something that you would’ve let slide the day before. I find myself trying to cram a “good” day into days that I should also just let it go and let the kids run the day. I work full time and am building my own birth doula business so I feel the need to make the most of the time I have with my 3 kids, whether anyone is in the mood to be on an adventure together or not. Thank you

  8. Thank you for making me ( a first time mom of a now 2 year old ) not feel like I am failing at parenting. Always thinking “Why is it so much easier for everyone else?” I needed to read this today more than you know. Thank you so much for that.

  9. I can SO relate to this. I have two sons of the same age and also nursing all night and I have days like these sometimes. The guilt is the worst. Guilt for not making them a healthy lunch AND dinner AND 2 multi fruit snacks a day, for not going outside every single day. When I am really tired I still oblige myself to do all these things and when I don’t I feel SO guilty. 🙁 After reading your blog I will remember to just let it go on those days and enjoy movie & snack time with my sons. 🙂 I hate myself so much when I yell at my oldest. I then feel like a big failure and the worst mom ever. :'(

  10. Prairie says:

    The anger side of parenting totally terrified me. Thank you for putting it out there and showing it’s normal.

  11. Rebecca says:

    Thankyou xxxx I cant say much more I often feel like the worst parent ever as I’m STILL adjusting to having Two (eldest is 4, youngest is 10mths). I just don’t have the energy some days and have to keep reminding myself just how much I do do on my not so good days xx U make me feel Normal and capable Thanku xx

  12. Thank you! Unfortunately, everyday feels like this my daughter watches far too much TV and it’s simply a survival technique for me. She’s almost 4 and I have a 3 month old. The emotions she experiences daily, and my lack of energy (sleep) makes it all very difficult. Hence the TV strategy (like WAY) too much TV. I’m hopeful it all gets easier and I too will take the kids to the park again and take day trips. We get out, but it’s because I push myself, and I rarely enjoy it. Thanks for posting.

  13. I love this post. Another one I could have written myself. I only have an almost 2 year old but were still nursing on demand. Still nursing in the night. My back hurts constantly and I constantly struggle with gentle/attachment parenting. Always feel a bit guilty like I’m not doing enough. I haven’t showeredin two days….. Anyway I can relate and I’m really happy I found your blog!!!!

  14. I find the only days I get angry are the days I’ve set an agenda that isn’t happening. So, I’ve learned to have a plan (because it can be awesome), but be flexible with what is actually accomplished. Makes for many more enjoyable happy days…and yes, you are right, enjoying them is the best thing!

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