I have still been mulling over this incident with DS and me becoming so frustrated and angry that I ignored him and forced him into his car seat.
I feel I have lost my mothering instinct. Up until now, it had been fairly simple to meet DS’s needs. As in it is easy to have a settled happy baby when I have had enough sleep, DS has had enough sleep and we are both in a baby friendly environment. I have not had to soul search too much about what DS needs – it’s fairly obvious. As soon as I accepted that DS’s needs were my responsibility to meet.
But now when he hits me, or pokes my eye or screams to avoid something, I am bewildered. I just do not know what it is that he wants – what it is that is being asked of me. For all I know he is asking me to play with him, bake something, work in the garden…. or maybe he is just saying he has had enough of something.
I have no idea.
On the one hand there is a part of me that is a little horrified that I am even trying to figure out what DS wants. The way I was brought up, it would not be important. I would have been expected to do what was needed in that moment regardless of whether I wanted to or not. There never would have been a discussion about it and my crying would have been ignored or even denied. And I do not think my parents did this because they did not love me. I think they believed that this is the way that children learn to be part of a family/society – cruel to be kind kind of thing.
So it hurts when I was told by my mother that I cried for 3 years most days after school (my father says this is not true – I cired from time to time, not most days). 3 years that I was left without a safe haven and no one to support me. It makes me want to weep for the child I was. It makes me rage at my parents. The cruelty that I experienced at the hands of the other girls in my class was not much compared to the devastation that my parents didn’t try to help me or find out why I was crying for 3 YEARS.
And this all brings me to what is happening in my life now as a mother. I never want DS to experience that lonliness or isolation that I did. Even if the world is not treating him well, I want him to have a safe place where he knows that he can be loved and accepted. BUT. How can I parent freely when I have this underlying goal? DS is a different person than I am, and he will have different needs and challenges in his life. I do not think it is good enough to just prevent the pain I had. I want to meet his needs – be there for him, not my own ghost.
I am very cautious of falling into the trap of parenting DS in the way that I wish I had been parented. I do not want to parent out of a knee jerk reaction, but rather be left free in my parenting – free to meet the child in front of me.