I’m privileged to introduce you to a follow up post to a guest post from Mama O Naturale I had a few weeks ago:
Some time ago I wrote a blog entry about turning the tides. Of becoming a different parent to my own. Of stopping the cycle of physical discipline: smacking.
The last 6 months have been a bumpy and unnerving journey. The last year in fact has been a tumultuous time for me.
A year ago I lost my brother suddenly in a vicious road accident, a month later I gave birth to my daughter, 5 months later I became a single mother and 6 months after that we’ve come full circle, just celebrating (if you can call it that) the one year anniversary of my brother death and we are but weeks away from my daughters first birthday. Though my intention not to smack was heartfelt and honest, I cannot say I was as successful as I might have liked to have been. The last 6 months of adjusting to life as a single mother have been difficult to say the least. There is no relief team who charge in the door at 6pm every evening to relieve you of your quarry, but instead you’re alone to deal with the witching hour and the ever increasing tension of the evening meal. There’s a toddler hanging off your leg, an infant screaming at your feet, pots boiling over, smoking frying pans and on the odd occasion, a fire in the kitchen. (Honestly, I’ve never set fire to anything I was cooking in my life. In the last 6 months I’ve had 2 oven fires and a frying pan/oil fire. Sheesh!!!) Not to mention the terrific twos of a certain little boy who has the will power of a buffalo in a stampede. There is much to contend with, and only one, often frazzled, person to deal with it all.
Needless to say, one gets tired, one’s fuse shortens and on the odd occasion one snaps. By my count, I recall 20 or so times that I have smacked in the last 6 months. I remember them all because they’re gut wrenching reminders that, in that moment in time, I failed. But, there has been progress. And in reminding myself of this, the guilt and shame dissipate.
Any blind man can see how hard it is to be a single parent, and considering all of the circumstances, I’ve done an alright job. In fact, I’ve done more than alright. I have a 2.5 year old little boy who is fun, loving and overflowing with empathy and a 1 year old little girl who seemingly has bottomless stores of patience and a sense of humour to boot. I’ll stand up now and blow my own trumpet because there really aren’t too many people out there who are going to blow it for me.
And out of the shadows, there is a glimmer of success. And as time passes that glimmer turns into a beaming light.
One month. ONE MONTH. Do you hear me?!!! I have gone one whole month without smacking. One month might not seem such a great thing to most people, but given the fact that it takes 3 weeks to form new habits, I think it’s fair to say I’m well on my way to a better life with my kids.
There was no magic recipe to concoct this success. No epiphany or turning point. It’s been months of determination. Of falling down and getting up again. Of refusing to give up and pushing on admitting my failings, and trying again.
That’s not to say I’m a perfect parent. I still yell sometimes and I’m not always as attentive as I probably should be; it’s hard to get time to myself these days and sometimes I just bury myself in Facebook for a moments peace. But I’m getting there and compared to how things were 6 months ago, I’m levels above where I was.
If you, like me, were a smacker, know that you can change. You can stop making excuses for your behaviour and defending it with immoral reasoning. It’s a head down, bum up (pun intended) task. An achievable task. I am walking proof of that.
May you create love filled memories in each and every day.