Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Saying the Unsayable

Ok. I'm going to say it. I'm going to say the thing that I'm sure most parents must think, but would never dream of saying, at least not so plainly. Here goes.

Sometimes my child does my nut in.

There. I said it. Please don't take her away from me. It's not qualified with "I love her so much but...". She's my daughter, of course I bloody do. I'm not watering it down with ".. but I wouldn't change a single second". That would be a lie. If I could, I would have changed several thousand seconds just today, when we were subjected to a screaming fit of epic and baffling proportions. It's just the truth.

We're not supposed to say things like this. You feel like we're not even supposed to think things like this. It's as if the second you give birth, you are expected to become a paragon of patience, selflessness and calm. Feelings of frustration, exasperation and resentment are not to be spoken of, because you have your beautiful little baby so it's all worth it. Of course it's worth it. But there are times when it's really, really hard to remember that. Times when you feel like your eardrum has been perforated by the crazed bawling of an angry infant. Times when you have fed, changed, stroked, rocked, fed again, taken off a layer of clothing, added a layer of clothing, put down, picked up, fed again (just in case), and even medicated your baby, and still they are not happy. Times when you just want to, or perhaps even find yourself asking "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME???!!!!!".

I think (and I really hope I'm right, otherwise I am a terrible mother and horrible person) that it's normal to feel this way. And that it's OK to feel this way. Parenting is harder work than you could ever have imagined before you do it. The pay is crap, the hours are punishing, the work is smelly, tiring, repetitive, and your client shows her gratitude by weeing on your jeans and smearing jam into your sofa. Yes, it's magical, rewarding, fulfilling, blahdy blarble blah, but because it is, it means you feel guilty about the times when you feel like putting your head in a blender would be preferable to listening to any more screaming.

So I'm not going to feel guilty anymore. I'm going to put my hand up and admit that dealing with a baby screaming for hours for no apparent reason sucks. That having a dead arm from hours of constantly carting around a clinging child is not fun. That having a small person climb across your face and put their knee in your throat at 5.30 in the morning is unpleasant. And that although there are many many incredible things that more than make up for the bad times, anyone who loves every moment of having a child is either a) insane, b) lying, or c) a far, far better person than me.

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