I’m writing this post because I need it. And if I need it, I’m sure someone else will need it too.
I find school holidays quite hard going, not because I dislike my children, but because I find it full on being their sole entertainment.
It’s not that my children can’t look after themselves, they’re 4 and 5 so they’re pretty self-sufficient. The problem is I have no time to myself. Usually, when it’s school and nursery I can guarantee a few hours to do what I want to do (even if most of that is spent working or doing the laundry). Right now I am on a seemingly minute-by-minute basis being asked ‘Mummy, what can we do now?’, ‘Mummy, can you help me with Aquabeads/Lego/putting clothes on baby dolls’, ‘Mummy I’m hungry’ (you’ve JUST eaten breakfast), ‘Mummy, I’m bored’ (we’ve JUST been out all morning).
The inevitable happened of course, there was one too many requests made of me yesterday and the final one ‘Mummy, can you help me with this jigsaw’ (whilst I was on the loo), had me spitting feathers. So I yelled. I told them to leave me alone for 10 minutes. I told them they had hundreds of toys. I told them to go away. So they scarpered.
I was mortified. What was I doing? I shouldn’t yell at them, all the books and advice seem to reiterate that ‘behaviour seen is behaviour learnt’. If I yell, they’ll learn that yelling is a good thing. I was guilt ridden.
I spent the next 10 minutes, pacing the garden trying to work out how to make things better.
But then it occurred to me, OK, shouting isn’t the best form of communication, but there was nothing wrong in my children seeing that sometimes, people lose their temper. Plus, they were old enough to understand that Mummy isn’t perfect, she does things which are wrong. As I considered this, I realised it’s important for children to see that we’re not perfect. If they hold us up on pedestals, they’ll always be worried about failing, or getting things wrong. And getting things wrong is an important way to learn.
So I went to see the children and (ignoring the absolute devastation in the lounge, not the right time to yell about that) I sat down, and apologised for shouting. But I also said that they need to learn to give me a bit of space.
My children gave a solemn nod.
Then my daughter said ‘can you help me with that jigsaw now?’.
Only three days left…