The day was going to be hot. I sacrificed giving myself a shower so we could just get moving. A fun morning planned at a splash park...every child's delight right?!
I packed the snacks, fruit, water and homemade biscuits. Yes you heard me correctly, I said homemade! Hats, sunscreen, towels and even some water play toys. I even remember to get something out of the freezer for dinner. Heck, I should be giving myself a medal right about now!
But was it enough? Today it was not. As carefully and lovingly as I had planned - for one of my two, it just wasn't enough. Said child cried and screamed pretty much the entire duration we were there.
I tried every trick and strategy I had in my mama tool box. Was he thirsty? Hungry? Too cold in the water? I offered love and cuddles and even that was just not cutting the mustard on this particular day. And getting firm and a bit annoyed – well that just made things even worse.
A kind grandmother who I had been chatting to earlier offered me a smile of support. "You are really digging deep today lovely mama" she said. And I certainly was.
I was so grateful for her warm and encouraging smile every time I looked at her. I did a few laps of the water park to take a mental break and to give myself some time to think and regroup. I splashed about with my other child who was running around having the time of her life.
This is why parenting is SO damn hard some days. Because despite all our best efforts our kids can't manage their big feeling and emotions....and everything just goes to S H I Z !
Safe to say I think we stayed another 20 minutes and then I just couldn't take it any longer. Thankfully my daughter was satisfied with her fun at the splash park and she was more than happy to leave when I suggested it was time to go.
We all collapsed into a heap when we arrived home, and almost in an attempt to make reparation for his behaviour, my son decided to sleep it off for the next 3.5 hours.
Later that evening I debriefed with my husband about the day that was. We sat and relaxed with a glass of wine and I relayed the turn of events that day at the splash park. My frustration and annoyance had all but disappeared, and as I spoke about my son it dawned on me how difficult that day had really been for him.
Did I know why? No not at all. I would never know.
One of the most difficult things we must face as parents is that we are often asking ourselves the question why? Why are our kids behaving a certain way or what went wrong?
But the truth is that children's behaviours ebb and flow. Some days they are all over it and we are high fiving them like there's no tomorrow, and others like the day I experienced with my son….. they are a freaking hot mess! That doesn't make us any less of a wonderful parent or our children any less amazing. It just means that in that moment – life just got little bit too hard for both of us. And we all have days like that.
That night as I tucked him into his cot I spoke to him gently about our day ay the splash park. He said "I was very angry mummy" and I replied "Yes you were my darling, you were very angry and you did not like it there today".
And then he just about melted my heart when he asked me "Do you still love me mummy?"
He needed me to remind him that even though it was a disastrous day, I did in fact still love him. He needed reassurance that he was not a bad child. He needed my unconditional love and acceptance and an understanding that I would always…always…be there to hold his big feeling on the days when he simply could not.
As his mama – it is the very least I can do.