Mums, be kind – to yourselves

Life with young children can be an emotional rollercoaster – so take some time out

Being constantly told that these are the best years and how much we should treasure our young children can add to the pressures of being a parent. Photograph: Thinkstock

Being constantly told that these are the best years and how much we should treasure our young children can add to the pressures of being a parent. Photograph: Thinkstock

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 01:00

Q The thing is, Grit Doctor, I find being a mum so hard. I get up in the morning with the best intentions to be kind to my kids, but have always screamed at at least one of them before we leave the house. It’s as though I have become this impatient scowling dragon since having children. I get wound up by the slightest thing and I spend a lot of time wishing the time away and wishing they were a bit older (I have three under six) and could do more for themselves. And then I just feel guilty for thinking that, and guilty because my mum keeps telling me that these are the best years, and that I should treasure them, and thank God they are healthy and all. I have inner grit and I’ve done the whole fat bitch running malarkey. Just show me the way to be better at managing my emotional rollercoaster.

A I wish I had the answer to this one. It would be my Holy Grail. All I do know is that once we have our first child, a combination of uncontrollable variables is unleashed that has us feeling as though we have been forced on to a terrifying fairground ride. But be reassured that every mother feels like this. I most certainly do. And thank you for being brave enough to share the truth with us all.

I reckon it’s a good thing for our kids to get a dose of our emotional “roller coastering” on a daily – and, let’s face it, sometimes, hourly – basis. Otherwise, how are they going to understand women? Their future wives?

That’s what I tell myself, anyway, after a fiery day with twin sons. And there is nothing more irritating than being constantly told that these are the best years and that we should treasure our young children. That sort of commentary sets the roller coaster off at breakneck speed.

What utter nonsense. Says who? Our mums, of course. Only because through the rose-tinted glasses of their winter years the idea of babies and toddlers, who are as yet unqualified for prison sentences or emigration to Australia, looks comparatively straightforward. It looks easy because they have long since forgotten what it feels like to do it over and over again and again and again after three hours’ sleep.

Uninterrupted sleep

Things might be easier if you had uninterrupted seven to eight hours’ sleep a night, a regular nine-to-five shift and weekends to recharge.