Whoever said that the newborn stage is the hardest is a big fat liar. Even with all the mental health issues I suffered just after Little J was born, it was easier than what I am dealing with at the moment. I’ll be completely honest with you – parenting is hard! And being a mum has only become harder and harder the older Little J gets.
The newborn stage was so lovely. I was a first time mum with no idea what I was doing, but Little Js needs were so simple back then. Feed, burp, change, cuddle, sleep. Oooh, the cuddles, I miss those. He would snuggle in, all warm and cosy after a feed and fall asleep on my chest. Now if I try and get cuddles, I get pushed away, slapped, bitten, hair pulled….but more on that in a bit.
Even though I was a first time mum with mental health issues I adored becoming a mum. I don’t want to sound smug and full of myself but I actually found it relatively easy. I felt ready and able (my anxiety had other ideas, but that’s a different story completely).
Not a baby anymore
As Little J got older and his needs became a bit more complex that’s when I started to struggle a bit. Our tried and tested routine was no longer working, so we had to adapt. And that would work…..for a bit. Little J was obviously growing so quickly that we had to constantly change up the daily routine to adapt to him.
We’d have a good few weeks or months, then all of sudden Little J would be unsettled and unhappy again. It felt like as soon as I had a handle on things and everything was going well, the situation would change again. Believe me, trying to work out a good nap routine when your baby is breastfed on demand is not easy.
The terrible ones?
We’ve all heard of the terrible twos, but I honestly believe that Little J is suffering from the terrible ones. Everything is just such a drama! Here is a list of just some of the things that have upset Little J recently:
- Doesn’t want to go to bed
- Isn’t happy that I’ve left the room to go to the bathroom or kitchen
- Isn’t happy that I’ve come back from the bathroom or kitchen and sat on the floor to play with him
- Can’t wait for his dinner to cool down
- Doesn’t want to get out of the bath
- Doesn’t want to get dressed or have a nappy change
- Isn’t happy that he has a different lunch from me
- Wants to be picked up and instantly put down again
- …..and then picked up again
- His dad has come home from work and tried to give him a cuddle
- Wants the TV remote/mobile phone/Playstation controller
- Doesn’t want to go in his car seat or pushchair
- ………Quite honestly, this list could go on and on
The thing is, he doesn’t just have a bit of a moan; he throws a tantrum! He screams, cries, stamps his feet, hits, scratches and headbutts. One night Darren was putting Little J to bed, and he wasn’t happy about it as he wanted me to put him to bed, so he grabbed a fistful of Darren’s beard and pulled, hard.
The worst one is when you pick him up and he throws a strop. He throws his head back and flings his arms and its a job to try and catch him. It’s like being on Strictly Come Dancing, the way he launches himself about. Not quite as graceful though!
We cannot win at the moment. Everything that we do to try and make Little J happy just fails. His needs are so much more complex than they used to be and I’m struggling!
Everyone is allowed to have a bad Day
Through all of this though I am trying to remember that Little J is going through so much growing right now and he’s struggling just as much as I am! He’s growing and experiencing new emotions every single day so I try not to get to frustrated with him.
I remember reading a great quote from Rebecca Eanes on Motherly from her book The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting, reminding us that our children are human too.
“So often, children are punished for being human. They are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes. Yet, we adults have them all the time. None of us are perfect. We must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves.”Rebecca Eanes – The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting
I absolutely love this. I always try and remember this and I’m honestly going to print it out so that I can have it as a constant reminder for when Little J is older.
Now I’m not saying that I’m going to let him get away with being a little devil child but I am going to think twice before I tell him off. Maybe he just needs a cuddle and a snack. Usually works for me if I’m having a bad day!!
Parenting is hard, but equally growing up is hard too! Trying to parent a child who is a miniature version of you, with all of your ‘best qualities’, ie. stubborn, fierce, argumentative, bossy, assertive etc. is no easy feat. It’s the hardest job that I have ever done, which is only going to get more difficult. But it is also the most rewarding job I have ever had too. I love that little rascal so much that I would go through labour every single day for him.
Any mum/dad/carer out there that is struggling at the moment, I hear ya! It’s not easy, and don’t feel like you ever have to pretend that it is. Who cares that you have a pile of washing up to do or if the washing pile is overflowing and you need to hoover. If your child has gone to bed with a full belly (after eating enough food to feed an army!) and feeling loved then you have done your job. You’re doing amazing. Now, pour yourself a glass of wine and pop on Netflix. You’ve earned it!