Today, I had the mother (and first) of all blow-outs with my 3.5 year old.
We spent 20 minutes screaming at each other. It was like looking at a snapshot of things to come in what I was hoping wouldn’t be for another 10 years. If at all.
The absolute rage in her tear-stained, red, snot-drenched face was shocking.
It was all a power struggle. She didn’t want to put her Kindle on charge and go for a walk when I suggested… she wanted to do it on her terms (10 minutes later).
I gave her the choice. It was nearing dinner time and a grey cloud was looming. She said she wanted to stay home.
I explained the consequences of her choice to her over and over. She kept crying and screaming “but I want to go NOW”. It continued. I took a step back and let her cry it out. She worked herself further and further into a rage and came back for round two. I explained it all again. She screamed at me again and I screamed back. I told her that it was the end of the conversation and said that I was going (as in going upstairs to feed the cats). She grabbed my arm and BIT my ass.
She’s never been a biter. Something just SNAPPED and she lost her shit. I cried and managed to loosen her grip.
Soon after, she got on my lap and apologised and said “You must never say you’re going. You can’t leave me mummy”. In that moment I realised my choice of words made her snap.
We talked and apologised for shouting at one another and explained that it didn’t mean that we didn’t still love each other forever.
It was a daunting experience. One born mostly out of exhaustion.
Today is World Mental Health Day. I’ve read some harrowing stories by friends and strangers on social media throughout the day.
I envy their ability to put their truths out there. I still don’t feel able. I’ve been so good at pushing back and putting a face on this subject. I don’t have the poetic, deep words to describe the dispair that is sometimes felt. I also feel that I’m fairly “lucky” with my brushes with depression.
This year didn’t start off well. I had a miscarriage. I think this was a trigger for what would later become one of the worst bouts of depression I’d had in a while (or since I took an overdose and was taken away in an ambulance many years ago). I woke up crying every day for about a month. My husband had this look of concern on his face. He hugged me tightly. Asked if it was his fault. A lot. Said he didn’t like seeing me this way, felt helpless. But he continued to be patient and continued to hug me. Ramona quite often said “Mummy, you can’t be scared because I love you”. It killed me. It hurt every time she said it whilst wrapping her arms around me. Lucky for me, the cloud eventually lifted and I almost felt/feel human again.
I feel all these things. Useless. Crap mother. Crap partner. Crap human.
Today has been HARD. And the anguish I saw in my child over her attempted power play, I see in myself.
I must try harder tomorrow.