I raise my voice. I lose my patience. I become oblivion to the situation in question.
I try all of it while motherhood throws lemon at me.
I live in the verge of emotions. On a bright day, I laugh off the tantrums kid discovers on daily basis. In an otherwise screwed up day I become hysteric for no particular reasons. Motherhood just passes in between those two set of days.
Though, I have never slapped my 2.5 yrs old. For that matter, I have never slapped anyone. To a larger extent I take a silent pride in that. Not that I don’t feel paranoid, but slapping is something I cannot do. Slapping to me is a physical extension of an emotional setback. I prefer reacting emotions more on a ground of speech or sounds. Good, bad or ugly.. that’s how it is.
Last week, my kid (for no major fault of her) received a reaction from me, which later I felt has done more harm to her than what a slap could have done. I screamed.
I screamed loud enough to break a glass into pieces. It did break.. the spontaneity of kid for few moments. She had never seen her mother being real impatient with her before. It was her first and also mine. The scream faded with an awkward silence. An unbearable, heavy silence. Me and kid were standing faraway, in two ends of that silence. She had never been that far from me before.
We both then broke into stream of tears. She, out of fear. Me, out of guilt.
Kid was all by herself, coping with the sudden witness of range of emotions from her mother. All I wanted to do at that point of time was to keep crying, keep feeling bad. I wanted to feel the guilt, but soon realized that I didn’t have the luxury to pamper my own bouts of emotions. I had to first hold the kid and made her believe that I am the same mother, who was giving her a ride 15 minutes back on her back, pretending to be horse. I quickly had to change the environment back to normal. I first had to comfort the kid, making her forget what really happened and when she will fall asleep, I might then dig my own guilt and will feel bad about it. I parked my own sadness for later, pasted the fake smile and approached the kid with open arms.
Parenthood comes with this huge responsibility of making things look bright for kids. Ironically, it is a continuous effort, acquired only after befalling it.
We all are vulnerable, more towards our kid. But, the more we expose our vulnerable self the more harm it does to their spontaneity. Yes, kids need to know the big bad world. They need to know that their parents are no magician. Yes, they will eventually know how vulnerable their own parents are. How fragile this life is… but, there is a time to it.
I made a silent pledge that day that I am going to put a carpet on all things negative. Yes, let her walk on that clean mat looking at all things bright. Let my Alice live in her wonderland in early years of her life. Let her tiny arms gather the strength first. Then gradually we will pull the rug together. We will together see all the vulnerability we had hidden over the years. Hopefully, her then rational mind and confident self will see that vulnerability as a mere matter of fact. We may then clean it together.
I have to work towards that. I am working towards that.
Amrita Thavrani is a mother to a two year old daughter. Occasionally blogs at amrita.thavrani.com. Say hello to her while strolling at the tweet street @TheSeeSawMother.