For the majority of the day I've felt like a complete and utter failure as a parent. My oldest hurt me so bad today that I was literally sobbing uncontrollably. I was on the phone with my husband begging him to come home from work because I didn't think I could keep myself together anymore. I was at a total loss as to how to act/react/respond to the way our child was treating me.
Sure, she is has already told me on numerous occasions that I've "ruined her life" but the words spoken today cut me to the core. Today my daughter told me that she was going to leave me. She was going to go away and never come home. She was going to leave and never see me again. She told me that she was going to pack her things and take them with her and never come back. She said that she cared more about her things than she cared about me.
Obviously she is just a child and she can't do those things. You may even be thinking that she doesn't really understand what she is saying, but she does. She is a very smart, intuitive, and wise child. She knew that she was hurting me and she didn't care.
Usually I would let this type of thing roll right off of my back, but this time it was different. At first all I could think was "What in the hell is wrong with this child? Who the hell does she think she is, talking to me this way??" After lunch time she was sent to her room for a nap and I assured her that conversations about her behavior would resume when her Daddy got home.
This evening my husband sat and talked with her for awhile and I finally had some quite time to reflect about her behavior and why she might be acting out in this way. Now that we've had time to put our heads together I can honestly say that today was not a total parenting failure. We've learned something today.
At 5 years old, Addison is becoming more aware of her feelings and emotions. Suddenly, she is intensely jealous of her brother even though he has been in her life for three years now. Not only is she more aware of her feelings, but she isn't yet sure of how to express herself or how to deal with the emotions she is having. She is struggling with her jealousy because although she loves her brother immensely, she sometimes wishes it was still just the three of us. Mommy, Daddy, and Addison. She shared that with us tonight and also that she was scared to tell us that before.
As a mother, it breaks my heart to know that my daughter feels scared to talk to me. It breaks my heart that she feels alone, and jealous and like she isn't important to us. So today, I realized, that in this specific area of parenting, I have failed her. I have to change the way I treat her, speak to her, discipline her. Most of all, I have to change the way I express my love to her.
While today was hard, I am thankful. I am thankful that we battled it out today. That we talked it out today. If we hadn't, I'm not sure when I might have realized that Addison wasn't getting what she needed from us. I'm relieved to know all of this now so that I have time to change it, to make it better.
Do you have any advice for me? Do you ever have "parenting fail" days?