Sometimes, when I read peaceful parenting posts that seem so serene and blissful, I secretly feel resentful and kind of eye-rolly and I get all annoyed and maybe kind of jealous? Like, I look at some pictures of your lovely child frolicking in the grass and read about your day that seemed to involve nothing but giggles and feeding rainbows to unicorns, and I get irritated. I’m not a total jerk and it’s not like I’d be happier if you had a bad day, it’s just that I always seem to read these posts on days when the boy has acted like a goddamn lunatic, and I’ve had it up.to.here. with his antics and tantrums and over-sensitive nature. You know?
But then I have my own serene, blissful days, and I write a sentimental post too.
And I remember that for most of us, it’s not that every hour in the day has been sprinkled with beautiful fairy dust and smiles and kisses, it’s just that on a good day, the good minutes slightly outnumber the bad minutes. I know that for me, no matter how many bad/annoying/tantrumy moments we’ve had during the day, I generally look on the day with a smile if we’ve had a peaceful bath/bedtime. (Also, I’m, like, SUPER HIGH on pregnancy hormones right now. Seriously. These chemicals are no joke. It doesn’t take much to go from wanting to scream to feeling overwhelmed with love, so.)
Anyway, in case anyone else ever feels stupidly resentful or skeptical when they read serene parenting posts like the one I wrote yesterday, I feel that, in the interest of being totally honest and full disclosure and all that, I should probably mention that there was a point yesterday where I came as close as I ever have to contemplating corporal punishment. Actually, there were two points. One came when I was trying to hang new curtains in Milo’s room and he would not stop pulling on my leg or the curtains as I was balanced precariously on the window ledge trying to screw in the new hardware for the rod. I asked him nicely/calmly several times to stop, to step away, then progressed to yelling the same thing in about 4 seconds. Then progressed to screaming and contemplation of spanking for not listening to me. If it wouldn’t have taken so much effort to get down off the ledge and back on again, I might have spanked him. And then I would have hated myself because, ugh, he’s 23 months old, he’s not capable of being malicious, he thought it was a novelty and fun game. Later that day, we were returning from a quick errand to buy him sandals and were on our way to the playground when he threw an absolutely insane, mysterious stroller tantrum over god knows what. He screamed and kicked and thrashed for a good 10 minutes straight. I tried to find a problem to solve, to offer solutions, to let him walk, but nothing worked and received only kicks in my directions as a response. I got so fed up with it that I fantasized about taking him out and spanking him, the old “I’ll give you something to cry about” line. I didn’t, of course. I just ignored him and kept walking. He stopped at some point, and he was as cheerful and sweet as ever by the time we got to the playground.
Two hours later, I wrote about how nice the day had been. I’d already forgotten the kid’s bad moments (and conveniently forgotten my own negative desires and reactions), only really remembered the good times. Which I guess is a pretty good way to end each day, right?