Be patient. Never lose your temper. Don’t raise your voice. Try to make them understand. Don’t instil negativity.
These are the parenting traits that I definitely DO NOT possess.
Since the most recent lockdown, I have lost my cool uncountable times.
I threaten my soon-to-be 4-year old on a daily basis.
Bait, seduce, compare, manipulate – I use everything they teach in Defense Against the Dark Arts.
We fight. Oh man, do we fight.
Sometimes, she screams, then I scream, then mum screams at me screaming at her, and she screams at mum screaming at me.
Make her understand? Oh, she understands.
She understands perhaps more than we understand ourselves.
I can’t do non-negativity.
It’s hard when you have the upbringing of being hard on yourself.
I make myself feel better by thinking this was all for her own good.
I make myself feel better by thinking ‘ this was nothing compared to how my parents treated me’.
Having said that, I do try one thing that my parents didn’t do.
After the screaming and tears subsided, perhaps an hour later, or before I read her to sleep, I try to have a debrief.
Talk about what happened during the day.
I want her to understand that our actions, our spoken words, our behaviours have consequences.
Sometimes I get hurt by what she said, what she did.
When we’re hurt we do things we don’t mean to.
That works both ways.
If I did something that hurt her in return, I apologise.
Also, even though we apologise, it doesn’t make it right.
We gotta try not to do the same things again.
We might forget, because we all make mistakes.
But we gotta keep trying.
We might fail, but we gotta try.
So let’s try to be better tomorrow.
And we hug.
Sometimes she pushes me away.
I’m not sure if any of this is ‘kosher’ parenting since no parenting book has a ‘what to do during a pandemic’ chapter.
Since becoming a photographer I learned not to follow any rules since most rules are made to be broken.
So I do what makes sense to me.
Insanity, they say, is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
I won’t say parenting is insanity, but it’s definitely NOT sane.
The other day, she came up to me and said: ‘I’m sorry for raising my voice, I’ll try not to do it again’.
I don’t know if she meant it, or understood the weight of that sentence.
As a parent, you live for small moments like this.
And I’ll take whatever I get.