Friday 22 May 2009

The mummy rollercoaster

Oh. My. God.

There isn't really enough wine in the world to help me recover from the last hour.

You see it all started like this. Boy across the road had the friend from school to play but didn't invite my son. This was a problem. I knew it would be. But he wasn't invited and that was that. As we can see into their garden, staying at home this afternoon wasn't an option. We had to go out. First we had to live through the sheer heartbreak of a child who wanted to play with his friend on the last day of school, but couldn't. Compounded by the taunts of the friend going to play with the neighbour who at school had said: 'I'm going to play at Xs house and you aren't' as is the way of children. So that was nice.

I knew it would be like that so I went into supermummy mode. I had pre-planned and prepared. I had the car packed with bikes, scooters, football, board games, picnic blanket and bucketloads of crisps/sweets/cocktail sausages/miscellaneous picnic snacks. I donned my 'Yay, we're going to have the best afternoon ever' voice and tried to gee up the troups as we headed for a nature reserve well away from the friends.

It was hard, hard work. Eventually once we were safely consuming our 15th fizzy sherbert sweetie, the sobbing stopped and we all managed to have a genuinely fun afternoon exploring the woods, riding bikes, playing football, making dens etc. All was well. I even managed to convince them that what we were doing was infinitely more fun than playing on a boring old Wii (which is what had been advertised as the activity over the road).

I patted myself on the back for being a good mummy and salvaging a good afternoon from the jaws of nightmareville.

We came home. The friends across the road were still there. So my son stood at the fence yelling across the way asking if he could come and play. I kept saying that he couldn't as it was after 6pm, and besides, it smacked of desperation and norman no mates-ness and I didn't want the poor child to be begging for a play, particularly as he still hadn't really been invited.

So I ushered them indoor and served them dinner, which only moments before they'd been nagging for. My son took one look at it and tried to throw it onto the floor. I caught it. Asked him if he was sure he didn't want it. He had a name calling session and was adamant that he didn't want it (I am toning this all down a LOT). So I said I'd eat it if he didn't want it as there wasn't any left for me. He took off outside again in a strop, slamming doors en route.

I gave him five minutes then recalled him. He came in like a small thunder cloud, and as if the last five minutes had magically been erased from his mind, demanded his dinner in a tone that didn't exactly make me want to rush into the kitchen and rustle something up. So I said that I'd eaten it. Which I had. At which point he grabbed the bowl out of my hands, flung the remains on the floor, hit me, called me stupid and slammed the door.

Now I know he's had an emotionally wrought day. And I know he was probably tired. I know that the correct thing to do was to sit with him, be understanding about the fact that he wants to be outside and more importantly with his friends. I should have been calm and rational.

But this type of behaviour happens a lot and I'd had enough of it. I'd also used up every ounce of my energy in trying to get through the afternoon without more emotional meltdowns. So I instructed him that he had just lost out on bathing and bed time story priviledges, that he may wash his face, hands and clean teeth and could go to bed.

Let's just say that didn't go down well. At. All. The end of my tether was reached and surpassed by a good mile or so. I won't go into the details but it wasn't my finest moment of parenting. I had as much of a tantrum as he did. And he ended up going to bed (eventually) sobbing and asking for his father who certainly wouldn't have taken a more favourable view of his behaviour. I now have an almighty headache and feel utterly deflated.

All of my good mummy hard work of the afternoon was wiped out in an hour in the face of fairly vile behaviour from a child who was never going to be in a great frame of mind today. Now I feel guilty and rubbish.

It's the mummy rollercoaster.

If only I'd read the sign before boarding: Step right up. Tickets cost you most of your life savings. Brace yourself for a white knuckle ride with unexpected twists, turns, highs and lows. May cause whiplash. And nausea. May make you scream hysterically or laugh uncontrollably. Once you're on it, there's no getting off it. Good luck.


BoozleBox said...

God I'm soooo with you on this. My oldest son is 10 and we have meltdowns of a nuclear variety and I try so bloody hard not to. He sometimes has a hard time at school too with certain 'friends' but most of the time his life is pretty bloody great but to listen to him you wouldn't think so. I think it's his over-the-top reactions to things that trigger my counter-productive verbal missiles. I don't know whether it's puberty starting or just my crap parenting but I am often left beating myself up over it. Sometimes, I handle it well, better than I used to, but when I'm shattered it's really hard. You are not alone - trust me! Wine should probably be available on prescription!

katyboo1 said...

I absolutely feel your pain. It is so reminiscent of struggles with Tallulah. It is utterly heart wrenching when you try every possible way to avert disaster and they just insist on being as miserable and horrible as possible.

Don't worry. I think it's good that kids seen parents having tantrums too. At least that's what I tell myself (a lot), because I do it on a reasonably regular basis.

Nicola said...

Been there. Done that. Feel like I am on the same rollercoaster every single day. Had a great day with the boys today...until 4pm when it all went horribly pear shaped. Is there a full moon or something? Some cosmic alliance that is bewitching all of us into full tantrum mode. I try so hard to bite my tongue so hard and deal with these situations in an 'adult' and constructive manner that it is a wonder I haven't severed it off completely in the process. Enjoy your wine. You deserve it. He will no doubt wake a happy bunny tomorrow - and the rollercoaster will begin all over again. Best of luck! xx

Perfectly Happy Mum said...

I soooo know what you are talking about right now... As for the mummy tantrums I had so many in the last 2 weeks that I comtenplated sending myself to my room a couple of times!
I really hope this friend's issue sort itself out very soon.
Just a thought, have you thought of maybe inviting the friend and the boy across the fence together to your house and get a cool game out or anything these boys like doing? It might be a good way of putting your son in a good light in the eyes of both and getting him included in the future?
That's just a thought because obviously I don't know them and don't know if that would be possible.
Anyway good luck :)

Tara@Sticky fingers said...

Hells bells, that is a Bad Day.
We've all been there in some shape or form but it doesn't help you one jot when you are in the middle of it.
I would say kick back and take the edge off it with a drink, but I see from the most recent post you've put up, you already have!

The trouble is, these sorts of things are BIG when you're that age. Things that we think are trivial or you should be over it by now just don't go away that fast.
Really feel for you HOM. x

Iota said...

What can I say, except to reiterate what sympathy others have offered?

There's just no right way through all this. Keep plodding on.

Helen said...

I recognize what I have done at several occasions in the past, although (I suppose) nothing to be proud of, it hardly qualifies as bad parenting! My kids have survived... And, gosh, we are humans! Let me tell you something, last week husband had gone off on a business trip so I came home to full responsibility as dinner provider and all the niggly little things that involve putting the household to bed... well, at about eight thirty pm, ready to put my feet up and watch some tv, I found that the cable somehow had become unattached and so I started to investigate the cause.This led me into the dark kennel, in order to fiddle around with the cables... and I stepped into...! you guessed - I immediately blew my top, yelling for my eldest (whose job it is to clean up after the darling furry mutts)to come and wash down the kennel - he said he was busy on MSN talking to a classmate about some class assignment the next day... well, then, language got even more colorful, as you can imagine! He then said, he wished his father was home, because he would never get so upset over nothing as I do... by that time, I was filling buckets of water with chlorine and soap and was ready to empty them all over him and the computer!! So I guess it happens all the time. (He did come down and clean up!)

TCN said...

I was just going to add a comment along the lines of "I sympathise and agree with your post" - but upon reading the other comments, I've realised I've still got a LONG way to go as my eldest is not quite 5. I thought her attitude was bad now, I'm really beginning to dread teh rest of my life with her now, and as for her 18 month old brother - I can only hope he isn't half as full of attitude as she is!