I think Carrie’s post last week was such a fantastic example of how each and every one one of us has moments of doubt and fear as parents, thanks so much for your wonderful comments as always.
This week we’ve got a slightly new perspective. Most of the guest bloggers we’ve had so far are parents to very young children and babies but Nicky is going to talk about the new parenting dimension you enter with a slightly older child.
I was very excited when Laura shared her idea for this new series. It comes at a time when I need to get something off my chest. I am Nicky and I blog at www.notjustthe3ofus.com. I am the mother of a 9 year old daughter and I wanted to share one of the latest developments in the area of being 9.
I hope I don’t disappoint in that I have no magic remedy for this blip in proceedings. All I can do is run through the same tried and tested methods from my mummy file and see what works.
Maybe you will have the magic wand I am looking for.
Picture the scene and imagine the conversation:
(L) ‘I can’t believe I’m missing art today, and we were making tudor shoes’
(N) ‘I know, it’s such a shame you aren’t well. I know how you love Mondays, what else do you like about them’
(L) ‘PE, we’re doing Gym at the moment and English and then we have Miss Courtney’
(N) ‘Who is Miss Courtney’
Shouting voice with hands on head
(L) ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHO IS MISS COURTNEY, I’VE TOLD YOU WHO SHE IS’
(N) ‘I’ve never heard you mention her before’
(L) ‘OH MY GOD, I DON’T BELIEVE YOU DON’T KNOW WHO SHE IS, SHE’S A SUPPLY TEACHER’
(N) ‘Do you really think it’s necessary to react like that, this is another example of how difficult it is to speak to you about things lately. I was really enjoying talking to you and then you behave like this’
Suspect rolls around on sofa (her not me).
This, my friends, is an example of a perfectly normal mother and daughter conversation that suddenly takes a turn for the worst.
Me and my daughter. I am 48 and she is 9.
Clearly someone is missing the point somewhere. I believe all eyes are on me from her perspective.
I know not why but it is not an isolated example.
Of course, I’d love to blame Miss Courtney but I really, really don’t know who she is – honest!
Some of these exchanges can end up with some really nasty stuff being said to me.
Without sounding like a big girl’s blouse, they have at times really upset me and I have to confess that I also had a bit of a cry after one outburst.
So is this what can be expected from a 9 year old?
I have to say it doesn’t matter how sensible you are, there is always that nagging fear in the back of your mind that you have reared a monster.
I am a ‘no nonsense’ parent. I am firm and I don’t have a problem with saying no. Not everyone would agree with my style of parenting (it’s certainly not the easiest for sure) but I will not give in for a quiet life. Particularly, if that quiet life means compromising on decent behaviour.
The same child is generally delightful (strong-willed and selfish) but nevertheless a grounded, warm and happy kid.
The teachers love her, she is a darling at school.
I also confess to wishing she would be like this at school for a change and let them have some of it.
When I pick up on this random arguing, I get a blank look, a wobbly head and an ‘I don’t know What You Mean’ response.
I find the wobbly head particularly infuriating. I figure it means I’m not particularly cool. I have to resist the urge to do it back.
I suggest that before she speaks to me in this way, she should think if it would be a suitable way to speak to her teacher. If it isn’t, then that means it’s not an appropriate way to speak to me.
The hardest thing about these exchanges is that I am not on a level playing field. You could say I am out of my depth.
There is no reasonable argument to be had here, so a compromise is never going to be reached.
I find myself lately sounding like a real nag. Something I always vowed I would never do. I do not want to be this person.
So where do we go.
I have gone through all the different voices that we have in stock during these times. The firm voice, the slightly stern voice, the louder voucher and the reasoning voice.
Unfortunately, the banshee voice has also put in an appearance (screaming like one, I mean) and then the reckoning comes.
You realise that the whole street has probably heard you shout something totally childish up the stairs.
I always romanticise about us being the best of friends when she is older and going out together. I love to see mums and older daughters enjoying each other’s company.
When these exchanges are at their worst, I secretly fear that my daughter won’t like me when she is older. I can’t believe I’m sharing that. What a drip!! I’m doing so whilst thinking ‘surely I’m not the only one?’
I think what is comes down to is, that as mum, you end up being the punch bag.
You are the one that gets it both barrels.
Rest assured that whatever they are feeling, you are going to feel it too.
All I can do is remain firm and keep repeating the same message. ‘Not Acceptable’
One thing I know for sure is that this parenting lark doesn’t get any easier whether they are 9 months, 9 years or nineteen.
Same kid, different challenges.
Moppet to Monster in 60 seconds.
Does anyone else have one?
*If you would like to contribute to the My Mountain series with a piece about your own biggest parenting challenge please email firstname.lastname@example.org*