‘No, don’t go away!’ my little boy squeaked at me tonight with eyes as big as a Disney puppy's. It was during one of those moments when you forget who the parent is. I’d just shouted ‘They should just take me away or something’ through snot and tears, just after I’d hit my Bambi boy on the bum for the forth time in two weeks. I feel sick admitting this. I feel utterly ashamed of myself. The irony is that it’s not PND which is getting me this time - it’s anger and frustration at my three year-old, combined with a massive slice of sleep dep and a sprinkle of depression.
Before I continue, I should warn you that this post will be very badly written. I’m just verbal diarrhoea-ing in the hope that it’ll somehow cleanse my brain and stop me from being such a shit mother. Cerebellic irrigation? Something like that.
“They really would be better without me.”
“No, they wouldn’t”.
“My boy would, but not my baby girl”.
“But what if I’m this shit with my baby girl when she grows up”.
“Yes. OK, better do it soon, then. Could I set her up with some other mother, express enough milk for a few months or something...and then do it?”
“How will I do it?”
“I know all that. I’ve researched all that”.
“How could I do it so it wouldn’t upset them?”
“I’m upsetting my boy all the time, anyway. He’s so unhappy, he’s wetting himself all the time”.
“I should be ashamed of myself”.
“I already am”.
“I have nowhere else to go. I cannot figure out how to solve this one. I cannot stop myself from getting angry with him.”
“I must. I’m the parent. I must simply find a way of coping”.
“I don’t know”.
And round and round and round, like a very annoying, worrying record, baby. I’ve always had problems with my son - he’s always shouted most, hit most, disobeyed most and then cuddled, smiled and been totally, utterly lovable just enough to make me feel entirely guilty for all the times I resent his behaviour. I find myself referring to him as an ‘arsehole’. The thing is, he really is an arsehole most of the time. He cannot take ‘no’ for an answer; his response is to kick, bite, scratch, punch HARD and then laugh at any response I give him. Apart from smacking his bum, that is, as I discovered last week.
He’s also started to go for his four month-old sister, punching next to her head, poking her face. Yes, his behaviour has deteriorated since she was born, but he has always been pretty tricky. I know all toddlers are tricky, but he really is top of the scale. I think. I’ve never actually seen a scale. Someone should invent one.
He is angry a lot of the time and, I suppose, sad most of the time. He cannot be enjoying this constant battle we’re having. The level of adrenaline can’t be good for either of us. I wake up anxious about seeing him. I go out of my way to avoid him. I get someone else to take him to the zoo. I cancel the family holiday as the idea of two weeks with him fills me with dread. I too am angry as well as painfully sad. I have a little lump of something noxious at the back of my throat, which constantly feels like it’s going to erupt into a flow of tears. I resent that he's aiming all this at me and of course I understand why he's aiming all this at me. I resent that he's preventing me from experiencing all the beautifully positive moments with his baby sister because my brain's so focussed on trying to 'solve' him.
I’ve looked for solutions in many places...on the naughty step, the thinking chair, the reward chart, the angry wall, the low-blood sugar snack shelf, the just-needs-a-cuddle cupboard.
Hence, the smacking. I absolutely do not believe in smacking kids. It goes against my primary principles. I do not want to be that person, that sort of mother. I just get to a stage where, after my son’s tried to punch a hole through our windows or bite through my arm or kick in the bathroom door I’ve locked myself behind, I do not know what else to do. I know I have to find a way to cope. I’m reading a lot of books, seeing a lot of specialists for both my son and myself. No one has the ‘answer’...of course they don’t. I’m going to just have to wait this one out again, whilst going increasingly insane. Bloody, bloody hell. I hope I can hold it together and, bloody, bloody hell, it seems that perhaps the baby times might be some of the easiest. Of course, if someone had said that to me when my boy was a baby, I'd have bopped them right on the nose. We need a term for being the parent of an older child, an equivalent of PND - perhaps maybe just Motherhood Associated Depression (MAD) or simply Insane in the Mum-Brain