Earlier this week I was looking after my friend’s two little boys for a couple of hours one evening as she went out to dinner.
They were good as gold, playing away with my own two, we made popcorn, traded Pokemon cards, watched a movie and while one of the boys had a little cough, he was still in flying form and didn’t even ask about when his mum would be back.
However, by the end of the evening, they were all getting a little tired and no doubt ready for bed. And then – when my friend arrived to pick up her boys, the eldest completely lost it. He cried and whinged and tantrumed, and it was literally like a switched has flicked in a child who up until the moment his mum walked in had been perfectly OK.
I know. I get it too. I think we all do. The best of our children – but also the worst. We get them at their most unhinged. We get them at their most raw and wild and upset.
But there is beauty in this. Trust me. Because this, mums, this isn’t because our children don’t love us or want to punish us or just want to make our lives difficult. Don’t ever think that. No, what this means, is that we are doing our job right.
Why, you might ask? Well, this is what blogger and mother Kate Baltrotsky of KateSurfs.com has to say about it. And when you think about it, it’s just all SO true.
In a blog entry, the mother-of-two explains how her husband always complains how their children are fine when they are with him, but “the second they saw you, they lost it. I don’t understand!”
The blogger makes reference to a funny fake study published by satirical website Momnewsdaily.com, which ‘proves’ that children are “800% worse when their mothers are in the room”. “I cracked up when I read the title, and quickly realized it was fake, once I read it,” explains Baltrotsky. “But despite the article being fake, the concept is TRUE! Kids are absolutely 800% worse when around their mothers . . . and why???”
And here comes her beautiful theory, which will make you feel a little different about those tears and tantrums, I am sure:
“Because YOU, Mama, are their safe place. YOU are the place they can come to with all of their problems. If you can’t make something better… well, then who else can?
YOU, dear Mama, are a garbage disposal of unpleasant feelings and emotions.
If a child’s been holding it together all day, in an unpleasant situation, the second they see you, they know it’s time they can finally let go.
That means letting go of whatever… whining…crying… their bowels, etc. It’s the last thing you want to deal with after having been out enjoying yourself, or after coming home, tired, from a day at work… but that’s what we, as mothers, get: the uninhibited expression of a raw emotional release, slapping us in the face, the second we stumble through the door.
You have not spoiled your kids rotten if you are greeted at the door with whining and screaming. Oh no… don’t let anyone tell you that.
Rather, you’ve created a space safe enough for your child to have permission to be natural.
Do your kids start speaking tongue, crying, or clinging to you when you walk in the door? Take it as a sign that they love you and just know that I’m sending you lots of love the next time it happens, because I know… Oh, I know… it drives us all bonkers-up-the-wall! They save it all for you.”
So there you go. At least now you know why YOU are the one getting all the drama. You are just doing your job right!