I don’t like playing with my child

And other ways in which I am a “terrible” parent

I don’t really know what it is about my generation of parents but we face crippling guilt over almost all of the decisions that we make. If we don’t experience that guilt then we must be awful, despicable, cautionary-tale-worthy failures because only good parents worry about every little thing they do, right?

I will put a disclaimer here before you read any further; I am absolutely 100% one of those people who worries about everything, including my parenting. I don’t think it makes me a good parent by default. I don’t think not worrying makes you a bad parent either.

Here are 3 ways in which I am a “bad parent” by todays standards at least;

  • I don’t enjoy playing with my child. I hate make believe play where I have to put on voices and pretend to be some random princess or whatever. It’s not my cup of tea. My child knows when I half arse things and so I tell her straight up, I don’t like doing voices or pretending very much — tell me what you want me to do please. I’ll happily spend hours playing tag, hide and seek, colouring or doing other similar enjoyable crafty things. I’ve even had a blast with her having impromptu dance parties and jumping around like an idiot. Ask me to play paw patrol or sylvanian families and see what happens.
I look about as engaged as this fantastic creation my daughter made for a friend. We even posted into his letterbox.
  • I hate crying and loud noises. I’m working on this one, I really am. For some reason I could deal with a babys crying so much more than a toddlers, or a childs. Babies crying make sense to me — they have no other means of telling me whats wrong. Children can speak. My daughter never STOPS talking. Except when something is wrong. Then the crying returns and with it, my blood pressure increases. It’s not even “real” crying either, it’s more like yelling with a scrunched up face and forced out tears. I get agitated, I get angry and it’s a real effort for me to say and do the right things because deep down I know, it’s not her fault and she’s still very young. Doesn’t make the urge to scream at the top of my voice myself disappear though. I know my limits by now and sometimes I have to say enough, walk away and come back when I have calmed down.
  • I am a helicopter parent. Chalk it up to my anxiety, or whatever. I am always close at hand. If I am doing chores somewhere else, I check on her all the time. If I am out with her on a walk, I’ve always got my eye on her. I foresee all of the injuries she could have, I try not to let her get too far away from me at any given time. I never leave her alone in the house, even for a few minutes. I always know where she is and she knows where I am all the time. I tell her dad not to upset her when he’s winding her up (why do they do that!?). Mainly for my own sanity but also because I don’t want her to get upset. Maybe I’m not allowing her to fail, maybe I’m scared of what will happen if she gets hurt, I don’t know. I do know that it’s not likely to change either.

I often beat myself up for these things. I try to challenge myself sometimes and actively do the opposite but it usually doesn’t go well. My stress levels get too high and ultimately I feel like I’m letting myself down. This isn’t who I am. I’m her mum, exactly the way I am. She doesn’t want another mum, she wants me. Outside of being a parent, I’m also me. How much of that should I change?

I’m working on seeing the positives in my “failings” though.

  • I’ll never half arse it with her. I will do the things I enjoy and our quality time will be all the better for it. I firmly believe it’s not my job to entertain my child every second of the day.
  • Hopefully if I can accept my aversion to tantrums and noise I can develop decent coping strategies and have fewer outbursts myself. Or I can just hide in the laundry room.
  • She will always know that I am there, she will hopefully always feel safe coming to me for anything because I’ve been there all this time.

It’s really difficult to be a parent today. This year has sucked but even before all of this happened we had all these impossible standards to live up to and none of the support our parents had. Since when was that ok?

When it comes down to it, my little girl is thriving and she feels loved. So.. we have to be doing something right, right? 😅

Now, excuse me while I find a new hiding place. I’ve been made.

PS. You are enough

Software Engineer, expert worrier and mum

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