Random Words Wednesday

THE bed creaks like we’re in the bowels of an old ship, not tucked up on a single, four-poster bed, swathed in pink sheets and blankets.

She stares at me in the half-light and I stare back. It’s been a hard day.

I smacked her today, not Social Services hard, but hard enough to leave two red fingerprints on her chubby thigh.

She cried real tears, she sucked in her lips like she didn’t want me to see her lose it. Her breathe shuddered and her chest heaved. I had ripped the world out from under her.

I cried then too and cuddled her close till she went to sleep.

You see, the promise of a much-needed sleep is a dangerous thing. It can make you desperate. And when a fidgeting baby who is fighting sleep is all that stands between you and a couple of hours of quiet rest, well…

So I smacked her.

I felt bad. But I felt even worse when I tried to put her back to sleep that night, and the same fidgeting was accompanied with cries that her mouth was sore.

She was teething.

She was teething and writhing, and I had smacked her.

To make amends, I was not only letting her rest in my arms, I was lying in her bed with her in my arms, making no motions to go anywhere.

I told her so.

“I’m not going anywhere. And,” I whispered. “Mummy’s sorry.”

I wondered how often parents show their apology to their kids, rather than say it out loud and remove all doubt they’d done wrong? Which of the wonderful things my mum and dad did for me was shadowed by a prior misdemeanour?

Which of my treats were guilt-induced?


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. marketingtomilk
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 05:22:41

    This is so true. I apologise to my son and don’t hide it when I’m in the wrong. Usually when i’ve lost my temper and been horrid. I think it’s important that children see the whole gamit of emotions, and understand how it best to handle them. Part of life is doing wrong and saying sorry. Teach by example.



  2. petajo
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 06:06:55

    Being able to apologise is very important to teach … also makes you feel better when you get it wrong!


  3. Trackback: Mummy has feelings too «
  4. Metajugglamum
    Jun 16, 2011 @ 11:05:08

    What a beautiful post and how honest and true.
    I was brought up in a household with lots of shouting, loss of control and slapping. I vowed when I had my own kids that I would do things differently. Unfortunately I do shout. Sometimes quite a lot. I try very very hard not to slap, but it has been known on a handful of occasions. I am grumpy if I’m tired – which is ahem, quite often. I feel guilty pretty much all of the time, but one thing I am learning, is, as marketingtomilk says, I think it’s actually ok to show emotion – as long as it is on the right side of control … AND as long as we can ‘fess up’ and admit we, as parents, can be wrong too.
    I apologise a lot to my son, but I also explain why and also why I reacted the way I did. I also tell him when I consider my own behaviour to be unacceptable. Doing the right thing is so hard and doing the right thing all of the time is probably near on impossible, so alongside my efforts to be a better parent I am hoping that honesty and a bit of humility can be enough. Surely that is the best we can ever offer our children … isn’t it?


    • petajo
      Jun 16, 2011 @ 12:04:08

      In a word – yes. It’s not easy admitting our foibles when it directly impacts on our kids but like M2M said: it’s a chance to learn.


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