Sometimes I Find It Hard

When Emma was young, we went to a few baby groups a week. Looking back, it was more for me than it was for her – I needed a bit of structure to my day. Even though I didn’t admit it to myself, I found the transition into motherhood hard – like the rug had been pulled under me and those little snippets of adult company saved me. Except sometimes what made it harder, was that Emma found it all so overwhelming.

There’s always one baby in the class that finds it a bit much, gets upset and you have to step outside for a few moments. When she was younger, I used to find it really hard that it was always my baby who would cry. I know that sounds incredibly selfish but I would analyse every look and stare as she cried and I didn’t know what to do with my own child. I would come away from the class thinking, was that really worth it? But back then I always put it down to age, it will pass over time. This week when we tried Tumble Tots, a toddler gymnastics group. She loves climbing on everything, so I thought it would be perfect.

It turns out I’m not sure it is an age thing. As a girl who loves routine, I guess doing something new just upsets the apple cart ever so slightly. Going to this group has thrown me right back to where I was when she was a few months old – feeling guilty again. Am I pushing her too hard? Does she just not enjoy it, or am I supposed to wait to let her get in the swing of things? How do I work out where the line is, when I finally decide that it’s not for her? I should know my daughter inside out by now, I should know precisely what to do. Except I don’t, and I find myself teetering on the edge of indecisiveness yet again.

I know deep down that ‘those looks’ aren’t always out of judgement. After two years, I’ve realised from personal experience that most of the time, those looks can be a range of things from sympathy to just noticing the loudest cry they’ve ever heard. I always remember at nursery when she cried at the drop-off, the nursery leader said to me “wow she’s very loud” – and she’s absolutely right. We’ve never had any baby monitors in our house because if Emma cries, you know about it. But even if there is no judgement whatsoever, it doesn’t make it easy, does it? Every cry of ‘no no no’ makes my heart sink a little more and wonder if I should just walk straight out and call it a day.

Maybe what it comes down to is it’s me judging myself again – making little criticisms on how I parent Emma. I worry, all the time and I can’t help it. People tell you “oh don’t worry, toddlers have tantrums all the time” but it’s hard to manage those situations when it’s your child lying on the floor, sobbing. But I have to keep reminding myself, it’s not a failing if she cries. It doesn’t make me a bad mother – it’s just her expressing herself and that’s absolutely okay.

At the end of every class, they give out stickers and Emma was jumping around in glee shouting ‘sticker time, sticker time!’. All those cries were forgotten. We put the sticker on her jumper and then sang “5 monkeys jumping on the bed” and she was smiling from ear to ear. So maybe, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself after all.

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7 Comments

  1. May 15, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    I have that child too! it can be testing and a lot of hard work! I can definitely relate!
    #bigpinklink

  2. May 15, 2017 / 1:25 pm

    Ahh Bridie you are an amazing Mummy that’s clear from your blog and how you write about Emma! Stop being so hard on yourself lovely xx #MarvMondays

  3. May 17, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    Oh Bridge, it’s a toughie. I’m that awful person who looks when a child is exceptionally loud or tantrumming and I know it’s totally unfair because whilst one can say ‘it’s all in the nurture’ we all know actually it’s not. It’s also in their nature. And they’re kids. I just had it ridiculously easy with my 3. They’ve never been loud (in fact generally you don’t even know they’re in the room!) and as far as I recall only 2 of them went through tantrums for about a fortnight and gave up when they realised it just wouldn’t work with me. And that’ s because I’m a my way or the high way mum. Frankly I don’t think thats right either; yes I’ve never had the issues you’re now struggling with but maybe my kids will grow up to say they were repressed while your little princess will feel mummy always made her feel free to express herself. It sounds from reading a lot of your updates that you are very hard on yourself but then we all were with the first. Have you asked the gymnastics teachers how they think she’s getting on re ability/attitude? When mine didn’t like an activity, I’d sometimes stop after a couple of terms and then go back to it a year later. Maybe try that? Chin up chicken. #bigpinklink

  4. talkingmums1
    May 18, 2017 / 8:01 pm

    Bridie I feel every word you say. When I’m at a baby group I’m always so anxious about what people think of my parenting skills (or no skills!) you do wonder if people are looking at you criticising when in fact like you say they are probably actually sympathising. When little ones don’t like something its hard to know what to do. Persevere or stop! Maybe with Emma it’s just a ‘getting going’ problem as it sounds like by the end she is enjoying it.
    #GlobalBlogging

  5. May 20, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    Oh bless. You do know your daughter better than anyone, but children are constantly learning and growing and developing new boundaries. Things will change for her. I think it is good that you’re offering her new opportunities. I’m glad the day finished with smiles 🙂 Thanks for linking to #GlobalBlogging

  6. May 20, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    You’re not alone. And everyone’s child has had their day of not wanting to be somewhere and making a big noise about it, that day is just your day for it! It sounds like you should definitely persevere though, she’s still only little and she’ll find it easier the older she gets. Thanks for linking up to the #bigpinklink

  7. May 21, 2017 / 7:02 pm

    The twins are now three and are JUST getting comfortable in these social situations. I really was worried there for a bit. Thanks for linking up mama 🙂

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