We lie on her bed hugging for a long time. Crying, sniffling, wiping our eyes, laughing because we both look utterly dreadful.
Her hair is smeared across her face, caught up in the tears down her cheeks.
My eye makeup has run making me look unkempt and comical.
But the moment isn’t comical.
Mia and I have had a huge row. She has behaved in a way I simply will not accept.
She is cut a lot of slack because she’s that sort of child. She needs to push boundaries and feel like she is winning small victories. And that’s fine. I can allow her those victories because they make her feel a small sense of power. And I get that.
But this time she pushed too far. Way too far and she was in trouble. And she knew it.
I marched her from the school playground to the car in silence. Because it was only silence keeping me from blowing my top.
We drove home with the weight of what was to come between us. The air thick with it.
She is never silent, but on this journey the space between us almost roared with the silence.
I have a young daughter who knows how to manipulate. She is obstinate, damn obstinate. She’s stubborn and argumentative and feisty and wise well beyond her six years.
And I feel like I’m failing her. Like I have no idea how to parent this child. That despite everything I’ve gone through and learned with her older brother, I am useless.
His sister is nothing like him. Nothing like him.
Which makes me feel even worse because she is constantly being reprimanded and he isn’t. And she must hate that too.
Today I felt like an utter failure. That black moment when you sit at the kitchen table on your own, your child in their room ‘thinking about their actions’ and you feel like you have no idea what you are doing. Or indeed, what you are going to do.
And you wonder ‘why me’ and feel so very alone.
Then a very lovely friend of mine sent me a text message. It simply read:
“You’re a great mum. I read once that god only gives us challenges if he/she thinks we can handle them.”
Mia and I talked. Talked and talked and talked. Then we planned her birthday party together (it’s still ages away). Then we did some art together because that is what she loves.
She goes to bed, pulls her cuddly toys closer and hunkers down under the duvet. Then she looks up at me with her beautiful big brown eyes and even though she says nothing, those eyes tell me everything.
And she hugs me and I feel like actually I do know what I’m doing. This was just a test. A bloody tough test, but I’m up for it.
Because I know that this little girl is going to be amazing. And I’m going to help her get there.
This post is for all those parents out there with a similar child who makes them question themselves constantly.
You are not alone and you are doing a great job.
And I am also loaning you my lovely friend and her uplifting text message. Everyone needs a friend like that.