One twin wakes up from his afternoon nap and is inconsolable.
He doesn’t want his bottle or pillow pet. A cuddle does nothing. As I work through all the possibilities, I keep my cool, constantly just trying to find a way to help my son through this moment. Things eventually settle and all is well.
Two hours later, the same twin pauses to pick up a rock when I’m in a hurry to get him into the car. And I immediately snap, “Just get into the car!!”.
My children have two mothers. One is calm, focused on their needs, engaging, funny, organized and in control. Their other mother is snappy, dismissive, grumpy and out of control.
As I look back on the week that’s been, it’s good to be able to know that good mum has been present more often than bad mum. Now, all I need to do is find the key to keeping good mum around and kicking bad mum out, never to be allowed back in. She’s feisty though, that bad mum, and every time I think she’s gone, she finds a way back in.
I think I’ve discovered one of bad mum’s main triggers, though. Tiredness , stress and busyness are of course triggers. But, they’re not the worst. When tired, stressed and busy, it’s possible to still keep cool. I’m noticing more and more that the time that bad mum rears her ugly head the most, is when I’m focused on me. When I want to watch a show, or write an email, or get somewhere in a hurry or just sit and have a cuppa. It’s in these times that the smallest acts of my children suddenly turn into an acts of deliberate sabotage on their part. They aren’t my focus, I am. My well-being, not theirs.
Truth is, I can tape the show and watch it later. The email can wait. It’s not the end of the world to be a minute or two later. And the cuppa, well, if I just took a moment to engage the kids in an alternate activity, they’d give me the five minutes I need to enjoy it.
I know all of these things, but to date, I’m yet to succeed in stopping bad mum. But, that’s not going to stop me trying. My goal, is to give my children one mum. Just one, generally predictable mum. In the meantime, good mum’s role is to overwhelm the kids with cuddles, laughs and positive experiences, so that she dominates the memories.