Parenting – it’s not always crayons and kisses

The end of a long day

The end of a long day

Before I was a mum, I had an idea that MY experience of parenting would be a rosy one. I naively assumed that others who had difficult days were probably “doing it wrong” and that there was ALWAYS a solution to a problem – and I would instantly know that solution.

I wish I could go back in time and have a word with myself. What an idiot.

I’ve been lucky enough to be graced with a beautiful, independent, hilarious, clever, quick witted child. Who is also somewhat of a diva. I say “somewhat”. I mean “very much”.

In my clear-headed moments, I know that my toddler is the double of me in terms of personality. I was a pretty high maintenance child (my mother tells me with glee). I didn’t sleep through the night until the age of five. I had epic tantrums. I didn’t like water in my eyes when I had my hair washed. I was scared of hoovers and motorbikes. I liked to have an audience. I played up to all of the above. Every. Single. Day.

My own daughter is very similar. She is touchy around certain noises – she’s terrified of the log burner, to the point she’ll sit in the freezing cold dining room on her own for three whole hours until bedtime. She’s quick to tantrum. She likes an audience. She likes things her own way. Every. Single. Day.

Obviously, some of these points are just standard toddler behaviour. But others are just her.

I like that she’s spirited, but sometimes that spirit equates to walking on egg shells. On a day when she wakes ridiculously early and refuses to sleep, for example, I know a huge tantrum is only seconds away. It’s like living with a coiled spring which is set to snap at any moment. Exhausting.

Since the beginning of January, I’ve settled into a better working pattern, which has made me happier and more prone to err on the side of patience, even in the middle of the hugest toddler screaming session ever known. My husband, on the other hand, has been struggling.

Today started for him at 1am. He bounced out of bed as our two year old cried over a bad dream. Then, at 3am, he bounced out of bed again, eager to get to Frog before she woke me up due to another bad dream. At 5.30am, when she was screaming and shouting and having a tantrum because it wasn’t time to get up yet, he gave in.

The rest of the day has been spent in a bit of an egg shell manner. I’ve been attempting to be the beacon of calm in tempestuous waters, as my tired diva child throws tantrum after tantrum because she can’t eat a neverending supply of chocolate / paint the walls purple / have Daddy’s computer / play with her friends at nursery / go and live with her grandparents in Devon. The (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine has been battling tiredness with a lack of patience and trying ever so hard to bite his tongue when the anger bubbles to the surface and he feels the need to shout.

It hasn’t been the best.

I just wish I could bottle today and cast it out to sea, throw it away and draw a line underneath it.

Parenting – it’s not ALWAYS crayons and kisses. Sometimes it’s just bloody hard work.



  1. Kate says

    Seems to be you are BOTH to be applauded for surviving…..

    Our 3 have VERY different personalities – Big is very serious and sensible, Medium is an UTTER Drama Queen who cries at the drop of a hat and Small is very much the Boss…..but she is also the Queen of the “I want my own way NOW” Tantrum, particularly when she is tired (although, when asked, she will scream ” I AM NOT TIRED!!! NOT EVEN A BIT!”)!!!

    Today was a good example of this – “I want milk!!” “No, not now, and it’s not I WANT…..” “But I want an Apple” “After Lunch” “But I WANT it!!!” “And I said AFTER LUNCH!!!” – cue total melt down, running round the kitchen and down the hall screaming and declaring to Daddy that Mummy didn’t Love her and was nasty……

    You’ve got to Love them, otherwise you might just go a teeny bit Bonkers!!!

    • says

      I once mentioned to my husband that I liked the idea of having three kids one day. It was amusing to watch the colour instantly drain from his face!

  2. Mummy Plum says

    I love this post. So honest, so true. It’s been one of ‘those’ days in my house today. Reading this has made me feel better. A bad day can feel like a very long day when you’re a parent, but often I find it’s followed by a good one, and then that kind of resets everything again. Wishing you a better day tomorrow.

  3. says

    It is never easy being a parent – i have been feeling like this this week. Not because of the toddler but the big girl! Driving me to distraction with can i get this, that, right here right now she has conviced herself that her cast is touching her heel and her foot is swollen more than it should be…. I hope you and NLM are drinking enough wine to go with the temper tantrums!
    I am!!!

      • Jacqueline says

        No it does but I get totally this post. I don’t want a compliant child but one with a bit of sparkle but when you tell your 9 year old she is being stubborn and she replies ” well, if it is down to my DNA or the way I am nurtured. You are to blame for both!”
        Sad thing is I felt strangely proud.

  4. says

    Don’t worry, we all have days or weeks like this. Kids like to test the boundaries, exactly like we used to when we were little. My 15 month old thinks he is a 3 year old already and is very independent. We have a at least one battle every day. Just keep smiling. Enjoy the hugs, kisses and smiles children give you and carry on. And if all else fails, there is always lots of wine!! Big hugs :-)

  5. says

    It is definitely hard work and you are so not alone with the tantrums. My wee man is not very fond of not getting his own way. I try to be patient with myself, my toddler and my husband all at once so someone is not loosing it!

  6. says

    My son was quite the master tantrum thrower. He would throw them at home, at the supermarket, on the street, everywhere. His tantrums were sometimes so long and so powerful that he actually broke two lightweight buggy’s with them! Eeek. I can very thankfully say that after he turned 3 things have been a lot easier on that front. A LOT easier. There is still the odd one here and there but they are seldom enough that I often can’t remember when the last one was.

    With child No. 2 due any day now I dread when the terrible two’s appear once more but I at least now have proof for myself that they don’t last forever 😉 I hope today will be a better day for you

  7. says

    you are definitely not alone in this, sure being a parent has some amazing moments and highs but there are definitely lows to go with. Times when you’re so tired and you just want them to sit and eat quietly, eat anything and not throw it on the floor. Days when you take them out for a drive just to stop them screaming every 10 seconds.
    But you know that tomorrow they’ll wake up and have forgotten all of it, a new day and a new beginning where they love you more than ever.
    All you can do is try to stay calm and hope for an early bed time.

  8. says

    When I was working full time, the thing that I found most difficult was spending all week looking forward to spending the weekend with my gorgeous toddler only for Angel to be like this for the full two days, and it would break my heart. But of course like everything else, it passes. The next weekend might be fab, and a year later every weekend was good :)

    • says

      You’re right – that’s always a bit of a let down. When you look forward to family time and it doesn’t come off as planned. Onwards and upwards though, right?!

  9. says

    Awww, Molly. I’m sorry today has been hard and I hope tomorrow is better.

    Toddlers can be hard at the best of times, but it even harder to be patient when tired. We’ve been battling mini hangovers today :) Great fun with three kids bouncing around :-)

  10. says

    It’s days like those that would stop one ever breeding, if one had the foresight! I’ve just been reading an article about a kid with schizophrenia who regularly tries to kill herself and her family s from now on I’m determined to take my own kids’ flare ups in my stride.

    • says

      It’s so easy to get caught up in the “it’s so hard for me” cycle on bad days – but you’re right, others do have far more to deal with. I’m going to try and remember this the next time we have a day like this.

  11. Bumptomum says

    Motherhood is so hard! I never thought it would be so difficult!! We just have to embrace it and take each day as it comes. Good luck mummies!!


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