Like when you’ve woken up in a good mood, but your 4-year-old hasn’t. So he stomps around demanding breakfast and just to placate him, you serve it to him. But it’s the wrong breakfast, so he won’t eat it.
And later, when he’s told to get dressed, he refuses, because he wants a cool top, not this one. And by ‘cool’ he means ‘in fashion’, not ‘moderately cold’. And you wonder when your 4-year-old became a teenager.
Braving the shops
Or when you’ve fetched the children from school and you decide to take them to the shop for a treat, like a packet of chips or something equally cheap. But when they get there, they see everything else on offer and they start to bargain with you. And then you end up arguing about how you wanted to do a nice thing for them, and now it’s just horrible.
Or how about when you have to buy your eldest a new pair of shoes? You have to take all 3 kids, because you have no babysitter for the others. You park the car and you walk really slowly to the shop, because the littlest one can’t walk very fast.
And then when you get into the shop, you can’t for the life of you find boys’ shoes. So you ask around and of course, you’ve come up to the first floor from the ground floor, but the shoes are, in fact, on the ground floor. What seems like days later, you arrive at your destination, only to find that they have a selection of exactly 2 pairs of shoes for your eldest, neither of which is suitable.
But your middle child has spotted some shoes she really, really must have now. Now. NOW. So you end up threatening her with grounding until she’s 45 if she doesn’t tone down her sulk.
Or when you’ve had a really good recipe passed onto you by a friend and you’re really excited to try it out for tonight’s meal. You rush to the shops after work to get the ingredients and then when you get home, you juggle the complicated new-meal-making with supervising homework and baths. Once you’ve used all the pots in the house and you’re flushed and ready to drop from exhaustion, the meal is finally ready.
And then the kids sit down, take one look at it and decide that it’s poison.
The littlest one declares it inedible, while the older ones, more tactful than that, pick at it until it’s a congealed, cold mess on their plates. So you throw it all away and open a bottle of wine which you vow to finish when they’re all in their beds.
I know. You’re waiting for me to say something like, ‘it’s all worth it in the end, because they’re such little angels.’ But I’m not going to. Because of course children are lovely. But sometimes, parenting just sucks.
Are there times when you feel that parenting sucks?
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