Psychological Terror and the Dreadful Thought of Parenting Advice
I was recently confronted with what I perceived as judgement of my parenting. To which I responded: Don’t mess with me, YOU HAVE NO IDEA. And then, I reflected on my defensive reaction. Why is it that parents are less than open to what is most likely meant as constructive criticism? After this experience, I thought about this question; why was I so quick to jump on the defense? And then I came to my answer: BECAUSE BEING A PARENT IS HARD, and the last thing you want is someone diagnosing yours. Sure, there are times when my mind is checked out and I don’t constructively redirect my 2 year old (rather, I say NO or DON’T DO THAT or throw my arms up in defeat) BUT FOR F$&%’S SAKE (and as studies can back up), I HAVE A FINITE AMOUNT OF “COPING” ENERGY GIVEN TO ME PER DAY, AND GOD HELP ME, YOU BOY (said 2 year old), JUST CROSSED THAT THRESHOLD. We all have a different threshold and while I’d like to believe that mine is particularly resilient, well, if you saw me by 7pm, I’m afraid the jury would be in that I was full of shit. I’M TERRIBLY IMPATIENT. There, I said it. My buttons are pushed to their limit nearly every day. Did I mention the phrase Psychological Terror? I’m fairly certain that it justifies the impatience. Most of the time.
In discussing the situation with my husband, he so eloquently gave me the term “psychological terror”. Cause that’s what it feels like sometimes. Right? The screeching on top of the whining on top of the needing on top of the bickering, multiplied by what’s going on years, and some days, I feel like the victim of torture. AS IN when the headstrong 2 year old, fresh off a night of whimpering for the boob multiple times (AFTER HE HASN’T BREASTFED DURING THE NIGHT FOR 6 MONTHS), wakes up at the crack of dawn and drags you out of bed screeching, just so he can whine at you about the birthday balloon that has somehow managed to stay perky for what feels like a century. AND BY 6:45 AM, YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN PSYCHOLOGICALLY TERRORIZED. 6:45. And then you hope that, by the grace of the universe, today is the day you’ll be allowed to call UNCLE, and go back to bed in peace. Though to be quite honest, as of late, this is usually my better half who has to endure the morning torture, because that’s just how wonderful he is. But you get the picture.
This leads to one of those days where you desperately need a RESET button. Or, a recalibration to CRAZY, where your new zero is ten (zero as in cool, calm, and collected.. ten as in heading-for-the-hills). Because if you’re at least recalibrated, balance can be restored and sanity can be attained. Seriously though, do you not wish you could press a magical button that would RESET your psyche for the day? One where you could forget the frustration derived from your toddler nursing for 20 minutes until he was dead asleep, only to wake up hollering when you pull the nipple out of his mangy little mouth (YES, I have a two year old that still nurses down for his nap, don’t judge me)- thus totally screwing over what chance you had to naturally decompress? SERENITY NOW, I say, RESET. I want to be patient and loving and compassionate, BUT MY THRESHOLD HAS BEEN CROSSED, what power have I over the situation? RESET.
And when it is finally accepted that no magical RESET button actually exists and patience is not restored, the GUILT kicks in. Why can’t I be more patient? Why do I need a reset button? Is my child’s tantrum a result of said impatience? Am I emotionally damaging them for life? Which I guess they had coming, I AM berated with psychological terror on a daily basis. Tit for tat? After the barrage of negative self-affirmations has passed and my daily bottom has been reached, what usually happens is that I get an unprovoked kiss (preferably without a tongue) from one of the littles, perspective is found, and I let go of the guilt and remember to just let things be. IT’S ALL GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, the kiss told me so. The kids’ll be fine, I’ll (most likely) come out of their childhood sane, and we’ll go off into the night hand in hand.
IN CONCLUSION, do I deserve the much dreaded parenting advice? Perhaps some days I do. BUT, I think I have it taken care of, really, I’M FULLY AWARE OF THE TIMES WHEN I SUCK. YOU’RE NOT TELLING ME ANYTHING THAT I DON’T ALREADY KNOW. Throw me a bone, yea? Aren’t I allowed to fall apart sometimes too?