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How can I be a better parent

(14 Posts)
addressbook Tue 06-Sep-11 13:17:29

This is just a bit of a general rant but also to ask if any of you lovely mumsnetters can give me some advice.

I have two gorgeous children a ds 5 and dd 2. Normally I love being a sahm to them. Recently I have been feeling a little down and very tired and I feel that my parenting skills are suffering.

My ds is a typical boy of that age. He has just started school and at home he can be incredibly grumpy, rude and cheeky. If he is the wrong way inclined, it feels like he turns even the smallest things into a battle.

My dd is 2 and typically has tantrums. She flings herself on the floor regularly and she is heavy, so it seems like back breaking work sometimes.

We went away recently and I was looking forward to spending time with my family and a bit of a break. However my ds was up in the night and then before 6 am. He would not keep quiet and woke dd up, so we were all up for the day at this ridiculous hour. I was exhausted, being out of usual home comforts. When my mood is a bit low and I am tired I don't always handle things very well. We went for a walk and ds moaned and whined until I snapped and screamed at him to 'shut up' and that he had 'ruined my holiday' blush sad

I think because my dd was so tired she kept falling over quite badly. We went out for lunch one day and she lunged off her chair and fell head first and went over on her neck really horribly. She was fine but I am sure I heard the waitress say 'she wasn't watching her' and it made me feel crap.

I just feel that sometimes my kids are quite badly behaved and I shout at them in public, whilst all the other mums look calm and happy. I think my self esteem is a bit low at the moment. I do things for myself and I have tried earlier nights but I still lose my temper with them and say things I shouldn't.

I had a terrible childhood and I don't want to repeat those patterns (I have had two lots of counselling for this with good results) but my ds makes me sooo angry at times and I just see red.


addressbook Tue 06-Sep-11 13:19:37

I would like to add I did say sorry to my ds for the things I said, but his behaviour recently at times has really been quite bad and I also need him to know it isn't acceptable

normalshmormal Tue 06-Sep-11 13:26:37

Hi, I really feel for you, and feel a bit useless as I don't have any wisdom to offer as I only have a tiny baby so have all this to come smile

Didn't want to read and run, but hope someone more experienced comes along soon. Good luck.

mamsnet Tue 06-Sep-11 13:43:14

I can identify with parts of what you are saying. Somebody (probably on here?) recommended a book called When Your Kids Push Your Buttons: And What You Can Do About it. Amazon have it. I found it really helpful because a lot of it was about finding your own personal triggers and not repeating what happened in your own childhood.
I honestly couldn't recommend it highly enough. I know you say you've already had counselling.. I certainly felt like I'd come through counselling after I finished reading it.

oh, and if it's any comfort, I have just forcedmy five-year old DD to have a nap after the most epic tantrum. I'm putting it down to back to school tiredness, nerves etc. Do you think it could be that?

addressbook Tue 06-Sep-11 14:02:51


Mamsnet - Yes the behaviour has worsened since school and I have no doubt that is a factor. I think my trigger if I am honest, is at times I want things to be perfect and if a hurdle comes along I lose perspective. I had got better, but I seem to be reverting to this pattern again. I have been feeling a bit down about my childhood again, so it may be this is triggering me and denting my self esteem. I will come through it. I have a fantastic and supportive dh and some nice friends and ILs, but it is hard at the moment. The perfection thing is childhood hang ups definately. However other mums do just seem to breeze along, while I am struggling with a tantruming toddler in the school yard!

addressbook Tue 06-Sep-11 14:04:27

Thanks for book recommendation - will check that out

mamsnet Tue 06-Sep-11 14:08:21

It really does sound like the book for you, then. I think I suffer from the perfection obsession too.. I'm a SAHM (for the moment) and it's as if I have to prove to my DH/ my family/ my friends/ MYSELF that, as it's my full time job, I should be a perfect parent..

SeymoreButts Tue 06-Sep-11 18:44:47

Just a quick post because I am about to bath the kids but I wanted to say that I am right here with you. I have been finding my DC's (DD 5, DS 3) behaviour very difficult to manage over the last few weeks. Which resulted in a huge blow up this afternoon and me screaming at the top of my lungs over their hysterical screaming, in front of my dsis! My throat actually hurts and I feel I have hit rock bottom.
I seem to be the mum shouting and dealing with tantrums in public these days. DD is defiant and rude when she wants to be (a lot) and DS is aggressive to anyone and everyone (I am always apologising to other parents), has regular tantrums and can cry at full pelt for very long periods despite me trying to console him. That usually happens in public too. I am acutely aware that all this has to be my fault, I just need to work out what to do about it. sad

An0therName Tue 06-Sep-11 18:56:49

do be gentle on yourselves -addresbook and SeymoreButts - it sound like really normal behaviours for ththese at ages -and some children just are more full on than others - its not necessrilly your "fault" and starting school often co-incides in really horrible behaviour at home - due to being tired, emotional stuff etc. doesn't mean you should challenge it - that book looks really good - another one might be playful parenting

SeymoreButts Tue 06-Sep-11 20:47:09

Thanks An0therName, I will have a look for that book. I should add that I love them so much I could burst, and I know that they are capable of lovely, kind behaviour. Every night I get into bed and vow to be a better mum the next day!

Good luck addressbook, to coin a MN phrase, this too shall hopefully pass!

addressbook Tue 06-Sep-11 20:47:13

seymore - yes I have screamed hysterically too. I think at times, parenting is so absolutely draining. I know I have my strong points too. I play with them, read to them and really listen to them and try to cultivate a good, close relationship. I am organised and creative. However I get so angry sometimes and I need to learn to control it better.

Don't be too hard on yourself (advice I should take!). I think I get so confused with the massive amount of contradicting theories out there. Don't be too strict, be strict, don't punish, don't be conditional, give them more attention, don't give them too much attention etc.

addressbook Tue 06-Sep-11 20:51:58

do you know seymore, it is the mums that vow to try better, that are the good mums. I grew up in real dysfunction. I used to wonder what was so bad about my childhood, when I can shout and scream and be a bad parent too. I used to have anxiety that I was no better than my own parents.

However there is a difference. I know my mother would not be lying in bed at night vowing to be a better parent. She was already the perfect parent and really could not see, nor ever admit her mistakes. And she was so cold, so very cold. Quite emotionless really. No she didn't shout but she could be so cruel and pretend nothing happened.

SeymoreButts Wed 07-Sep-11 23:53:29

Thanks addressbook, I have had a much better day today. After reading this thread I decided to try and stop being so hard on myself and the kids. You sound like a very good mum to me, I'm not a natural at all, I am so envious of mums who are creative and fun... I have to really work at not boring the kids to death!

trixie123 Thu 08-Sep-11 14:41:14

I'm not sure what being a "natural mum" really means other than loving your kids and caring enough to know that sometimes when you get it wrong you can do it better. True some people seem to have more tolerance, patience etc but they probably fall short elsewhere or perhaps have different circumstances. My friend is a very determindly SAHM and can allow her toddler to take an hour to get dressed. I work, so can't let DS fling himself all round the upstairs playing games. Even on my days off, I always start with good intentions of sitting and doing stickers or trying to encourage his drawing / playdoh / books (whatever - anything that isn't peppa pig!) but often end up distracted by washing, DD (4m) MNetting and so on. This morning I got really cross with him because he was having a strop when DD needed a feed and I just felt he was being so selfish but he is 2 ffs. I'm sure if adults behaved in as irritating a way as 2 year olds they'd get arrested or punched or have NO friends. Just cos they're our kids don't mean they are not this irritating and of course every now and again it just gets too much.. please don't be so hard on yourself and DEFINITELY do not assume that the calm looking yummy mummy feeding her perfectly behaved child the organic homous has it all sorted - I bet you £££ she has her off days too! smile

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