Have you had that day of parenting which starts off reasonably well. You hit a odd road bump, but hey, it’s ok you’ve got it handled. Then a pot hole. Then another road bump. It’s beginning to feel a little wobbly. You get round to sorting one thing just as another happens. Pretty soon you’re not getting on top of your day and you’ve not even done the school run yet!

..Spilt juice, play sand, toys, noise and mess can come together in a ‘perfect storm’. Taking you full throttle from overwhelm to the point where you just want to give up, resign from the role and pass the keys to someone else.

There’s no doubt about it, parenting can be tough at times.

Perhaps this is true for you. It gets to the point where you just stand and stare at the juice dripping off the table and down the side of your coat. You’re looking at it and just feel numb, probably saying to yourself: What. The. Hell.

Having cared for my three children, the youngest since he was 13 months, I’ve experienced that overwhelm more than once.

Those days are not a reflection of who we are or who we want to be as parents but just a reflection of that moment in that particular time in those particular circumstances. We all can have bad days. Sometimes things don’t work out as we’d hoped. Our expectations meet reality and we get stressed. Having cared for my three children, the youngest since he was 13 months, I’ve experienced that overwhelm more than once.

I remember wanting to desperately get that one important thing done only to have it derailed with a nappy to be changed, or dinner to be started. More issues and problems just pile up and then new ones come along all the while you crave to have more than just five minutes to get your head straight.

It’s easy for us to then label ourselves as bad parents.

A friend came to me with her day from hell. She felt overwhelmed by the feeling that it was never-ending. Finally she’d had to find a space and cry it out. She felt like she’d failed her children. She needed to cry it out and release what she was holding on to: that sense of failing at parenting.

Those are the days were you feel acutely aware that you’re making this up as you go along and sometimes that you’re getting more wrong than right. It’s easy for us to then label ourselves as bad parents.

I reminded her, and I think it’s useful for anyone going through something similar, of the times when the children were younger. They’d cry and you’d not know what for, or you felt drained and tired from a sleepless night and it felt like it was constant battle. That it seemed like it’d be always like this, as if it would never end.

As you reflect back on that time now, you can say to yourself, I got through that thing, that situation, that problem that I never thought I could. You can look back and, yes, remember it was difficult, but that it didn’t last forever. And look at you now. You got through and you know that it was just a bad day, possibly only a bad five minutes but certainly not a bad parent.

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About the Author

Ben Jackson is a registered counsellor, coach, and lecturer with nearly 10 years of professional experience. He helps clients with stress and anxiety, anger management, self esteem, confidence, and depression.

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