It was time for a nap and I was preparing Emma for it as per the routine. I was tired as usual, physically and mentally. I wasn’t looking for a real shut-eye period, but more so of just alone time to finish up whatever I needed to do before she wakes up.
The thing about mothering a young child is they don’t understand how much of your own time and needs you sacrificed to nurture and play with them. And they never will, until perhaps they become a mother themselves, which is 25 more years to go. I try my best to finish up the household chores when she’s asleep. When she is awake, I try my best to spend time with her playing or reading. The problem always stems when she doesn’t want to nap, and I don’t get a break from the day. It really is a coffee break for me, except 15 minutes or half an hour is not enough. Moreover, it takes at least half an hour before she finally dozes off to sleep.
I cannot fathom how some mothers can do it without raising their voice. I try my best not to get angry, but I failed. In the end, I ended up with a crying toddler who didn’t know what she wants, and I myself was struggling so hard to understand what I should be doing with the situation. The first mistake I did was to storm off into the bathroom and closed the door, away from her sight. Naturally she came running from me, and crying even harder as she knocked on the door. But I needed to calm myself in a safe space. She was hugging me as she was crying. I don’t know if it was because she was scared and upset that I was angry at her, or she was just frightened by the whole ordeal. I had let her do what she wants – play. Since she didn’t want to sleep, I firmly placed her back on the ground and asked her to go play. But she still cried, and hugged onto my leg not wanting to let go. At one point, as I was holding her, I asked her again, “What do you want to do?” Perhaps, my voice was still raised because I was still upset. She jumped in fright. and continued crying.
My heart ached.
Yet I needed to get this girl to nap. She was tired, and she was already using all her energy towards crying. It was no use skipping the nap altogether because she won’t last till bedtime at 8 pm. Eventually, I brought her back to the bed and lay down with her. It was the third attempt, and slowly she dozed off to bed with less protest.
When she woke up, I approached her and gave her a hug, she was grumpy from the nap even though she got much rest. I tried explaining to her why I was upset, but then she started to cry again. I hug her, and held her and soothed her. I told her I love her. But she still bawled.
What is going on?
My mom came into the room to see what happened, and took her downstairs to start the evening. I felt rejected, by my own daughter.
I don’t know what is right and what is wrong. People say children need to cry a little and learn. Then there’s the attachment parenting advocates who say there are many alternatives to raising your voice at the child. Each method I try, I am being criticized. But the worst feeling is when you see your own kid push you away when you try to comfort them.
So does yelling work? So far, the answer has been no. This is not the first time I’ve encountered this with Emma. Yes, back then she was younger. But now she is an independent child, able to walk away and run away.
Today, I feel crushed. I feel like running away sometimes. Being alone is such a desire for me right now, and while I know it is not the solution and it is unhealthy, I can’t seem to get it out of my mind.
And the day always ends without any comfort at all with my mom saying, “See, now you know how it feels; what I went through with you when you were young.”