Thursday 23 January 2014

Why parents should stop caring so much


I'm not going to beat around the bush, I had what I guess you'd call a mini breakdown last week.

Normally I'm quite good at truckin' along with the daily whirlwind of children dramas, life and work; but one more insane tantrum from my three year-old stacked on top of serious tiredness caused by the 1 year-old not sleeping well the last few weeks, sent me completely into mumma meltdown mode.

I thought we had moved past the worst tantrums with our eldest, but obviously not. Our trip to Bali last year and the Christmas period seemed to bring them all back on again - which I'm convinced is because he's just plain tired all the time as he now refuses a daytime nap.

The kindy drop-offs in particular lately have been nothing short of a nightmare, to say the least. He's been going there for well over a year for only a few days a week, and has been really happy about it until a few months ago. Suddenly he's decided to act like a maniac whenever I have to drop him off, even though I know he loves it.

It's so distressing when your child is clinging on to the kindy gate, tears streaming and screaming he wants to go home. Without fail I walk away crying myself, questioning whether I should just give up trying to do work and have him back home full-time. It completely drains me and starts my day off with me feeling like the worst mum in the world. It doesn't help also that my youngest is furious he can't go to the same kindy and takes his anger out on me at the same time, pulling my hair and scratching my face while horrified parents and teachers look on.

So yeah, I had a mini breakdown caused by a gradual build up of daily torture from my children.

Hitting rock bottom can be quite a good thing though as it forces you to make a change. And so I did.

Toddlers are a beast of their own and there's not much you can change about their behaviour other than to ride it out, so I knew it was up to me to change the way I handled them.

And this is what I decided to do - simply stop caring so much.

Obviously I care deeply for my children and other loved ones, and I care about practical things like making sure we have food in the house, but everything else? Well it can go and get stuffed.

And guess what? So far so good. My low care-factor seems to be working...

Here are a few examples of all the things I've stopped caring about this week:

* My 1 year-old constantly climbing on to any table to perform Riverdance, eat unpeeled bananas from the fruit bowl and throw everything off its surface - I keep an eye out to make sure he's safe but now calmly get him when enough is enough instead of instantly flipping out.

* The boys pushing one another and pulling each other's hair while screaming - they can fight their own battles now, I'm not getting involved.

* Kindy drop-offs - dump and run, just like ripping off a bandaid.

* The boys taking my mobile phone - yes it's possible they might delete some important info or photos, or accidentally smash it on the ground, but it's just a phone and I will live. I can never understand how they manage to get it in the first place anyhow.

* What strangers and other parents think about me and my children - if people want to judge they can, I don't have time to worry about it.

* The boys faffing around at sleep time until all hours (we recently moved them in together) - sure they'll be absolutely knackered the next day and probably have about ten tantrums, but what can you do? Going in 20 times to tell them off clearly doesn't work so it's easier to just turn up the telly and ignore it. Eventually they'll stop doing it...right?

* The children not eating their dinner - there's always bread and bananas if they don't like what I made, or they can just go hungry.

Maybe I'll start caring more again next week, but for now I'm in a much better place for not giving a sh#t about so many things. And the children are better off for it too. Perhaps I should have been taking more leaves out of their books in first place anyway...

So how's your care-factor?

Photo credits: Heart of the Matter; Someecards



  1. Best ideas. Mums, dads and people chill out, don't take things too seriously. As a parent, just think, is the issue that important? Will the issue keep you awake in ten years? Don't over discipline your children, as it can become a burden on you, and can diminish their enthusiasm. As a grandparent, I can look back and see where my husband and I did over-parent. Truly things are usually not that important or severe; best to give yourselves and your children a bit of breathing space.

  2. Lol, this is all so true! Much simpler to just relax and pick your battles, improves the mental health quite drastically! Good on you:)

  3. Definitely helpful advice! Sometimes it's our response that makes life harder... for ourselves... and we are the ones who can do things differently!


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