My Son is Not a Dick

Yesterday, my son did a guttural scream of rage, told me I wasn’t his best friend ANYMORE, and stormed out of the room.

The crime? After an extra 5 minutes of iPad time before his bath, that still wasn’t enough.

I reacted, as I always did, by taking a big breath, reminding myself that he’s two, sitting him on the naughty step and trying to teach him why what he did was wrong.

What I didn’t do was call him a nob-head. Not too his face. Or online.

If you have read Alice’s post, Jess’s post and Eleanor’s post, you’ll know exactly what I’m about to say.

But when did this outward dislike for our kids become a thing?

Before I get pulled up on my sense of humour, let’s be clear. I have days where I can’t wait until bedtime – last night was one of them. I remember the newborn days and the ‘go the fuck to sleep’ sentiments that run through every sleep-deprived mother’s mind. And sometimes, I am the embarrassed mum who is looking for a hole to hide in at the supermarket when my child decides enough is enough and kicks the till, launching his buggy backwards and upside down, leaving him screaming with his legs in the air, and me screaming silently in my head, while people looked on and questioned my parenting skills (true story). Plus, I happen to think I’m really funny. At least, I make myself laugh…

Parenting is hard. It’s emotional. It’s painful. It’s confusing. It’s frustrating. It’s really hard sometimes. And I’m told it doesn’t stop. Just ask your own parents and they will probably tell you that they don’t stop worrying about you even now, and yes, they happen to think you’re a nob-head sometimes too.

But imagine your mum calling your adult self out on Facebook, at a family meal, or to friends over a coffee, for a mistake you made. Imagine the hurt you feel because she’s making fun of you, and you thought she might be on your side. Whether you are right or wrong. You expect your mum to give you some choice words to your face, or advice that makes her sound like Yoda, but taller and less green. I just can’t imagine my mother doing something like that.

Bill, if you are reading this, you have challenged me something rotten sometimes. But, as of right now, you’ll only just be three in June and while you’re very clued-up on types of ape, you have a lot to learn about life yet. And even then, I’m sure we’ll clash in the future. Because people annoy me every day. And I annoy people every day. It’s the beauty of life. And the pure fact that sometimes people can’t accept that you are always right (joke).

As a mother who has to say goodbye to her son far more than she can accept, I can’t help but feel angry at this new trend in parenting (I can’t even believe I’m writing that). Yes, maybe I don’t know what it’s like because I don’t get to physically parent as much. And maybe I should focus on my own child instead of other people’s way of parenting, but… I just want to shout and say that you are so bloody lucky.

We are so bloody lucky.

There are parents who can’t hold their children. Parents who had to wait years to hold their children. Parents who want more time. And parents who are running out of time.

I also want to be honest about how I parent. I don’t want anyone thinking I have a life that is set-up for a camera, or a blog post. I don’t want fellow mums thinking I always have a full-face of makeup. Or that it’s easy for me. Because, well, if you’ve been a reader for any length of time, you’ll know that I don’t. And the last thing you need as a parent is someone else’s experiences making you second-guess your own. Yes, I can cook and I have a fairly tidy house, but I suck at being ‘fun mum’ (Mark is brilliant at that side of things) and I feel like I’m not present enough, because of work (it tears me to pieces). I want you to see both sides of my story, because I don’t ever want to lead another mother to feel like she’s doing it wrong.

And while it’s not easy to be grateful for a child who has just thrown a giant plastic animal at you (again, true story), a deep breath and the promise of a glass of something later, does help. That and the realisation that I’d rather have a grumpy toddler and tiger-shaped indent in my skull, than nothing at all.

And then the children.

When I tell my son that he’s done something that I’m not pleased with, his first reaction is for his bottom lip to slowly start to wobble and his blue eyes to fill with tears.

I can’t imagine if he had the intelligence to understand what I was saying to him if I thought he was a wanker because he had a paddy. Or how he’s a dick-head for making a mistake.

Can you imagine how your child would feel if you said those kinds of words to their faces?

My son is trying really hard to grow-up.  He’s also trying really hard to adjust to a life with parents who are separated. He is going through a period at the moment where he cries when he has to leave me, and acts difficult for a day when he returns. I know that he’s looking to me for guidance, love, affection, and answers.

And I’m going to give them to him with the respect he deserves. Because while he makes mistakes, I do too. And not once has he shamed me for it.

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  • Reply
    5th May 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I've read this (and Eleanor's, Alice's and Jess' posts over the last couple of days) and honestly can't applaud you enough for taking a stand and saying this. I'm not sure when calling our kids names became a thing but I find it so distasteful. I'm sure much of it is said for the LOLZ but at what cost? Imagine if their children were to read it one day? Just doesn't bare thinking about it. Perhaps I don't have a sense of humour but it just makes me cringe. Ugh.

  • Reply
    sara carvosso
    5th May 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I agree actually although my children annoy me a lot sometimes I only try to speak good about them. That's my personal choice I want my children when they are older to see the love I have for them. I do find these posts funny but would not writethe myself. Aston at aged 8 is still difficult when he comes back from his dad's but then they don't bother with him and I think it makes him sad . Lovely post and some beautiful words in there too. I told my eldest to stop being a little s*** and felt really bad for ages. Sorry for the ramble lol

  • Reply
    Jess @ Along Came Cherry
    5th May 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Well said Charlotte! I absolutely agree with every word. When my kids are older I want them to know that they made me the person I am today and changed my life in a way I never thought possible, I don't want them to think that they wrecked my life and made every single thing I did a huge effort. Nor do I want them to think I never called them names that I don't even call adults who have actually done something wrong. I know people who would do anything to have kids and to see people being so negative about the ones they are lucky enough to have is awful. I know there seems to be such a demand for it but it's selling out in the worst way possible really x

  • Reply
    LadyBug Home & Design
    5th May 2015 at 2:18 pm

    I enjoyed reading all four articles. My children are far from perfect but so am I. my daughter can be a challenge but she is growing and learning. I will admit that I was stressed that week and my daughter was fake crying and I felt like I was going to exploded. Without saying anything, I went and have her s big hug. I did not let go until all the frustration left my body. The rest of day she was happy and sweet girl. I chose to try to change the situation. Since then, my hubby and I have both tired "hugging" when the situation about the house has reached "screaming point. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Reply
    Play At Home Teacher
    5th May 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Brilliant post. There does seem to be a growing trend at the moment which is such a shame. I am off to read the other posts now. My daughter is asleep on my lap. She has a cold and is teething. I haven't got anything done all day. But my heart breaks that I can not help her. I am not sitting her swearing about her. xx

  • Reply
    Katie Kirby
    5th May 2015 at 2:52 pm

    I just feel, if you don't like certain blogs or the things some people say then all you need to do is un follow them. Live and let live etc, There is no need to try and make other people feel bad.

  • Reply
    5th May 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I don't like to hear people call their kids names. The other day I saw a woman lash out at a small child (hers, I hope) in a supermarket because he was misbehaving. She called him some really awful names and I was horrified and angry and really sad for the little boy.

    But in all honesty, I love blogs from parents who sometimes don't mince their words – such as The Unmumsy Mum, for example. They might use the odd expletive but you can tell its tongue in cheek. Frazzled ramblings. Their way to vent. They also write about how much they love their kids and it's obvious that there's absolutely no malice intended. It's just their style of writing.

    The other day my son hid the carrot sticks from his lunch in his toy Mystery Machine. It was one of those amusing yet exasperating moments and I put a status about it on Facebook and added that he was a 'sly git' at the end. It's not something I'd say to his face. It wasn't said with hate or anger. I guess it could have come over as negative but I hope if he ever did read it, he'd read all the positive things I say about him too. And regardless he'll know he's loved.

  • Reply
    Nikki Thomas
    5th May 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Such a well-written post and I agree, it would take a saint to stay calm all of the time but to call your children names is an awful thing to do, however upset you are. Those are the words that stay with them.

  • Reply
    Kerry Dyer
    5th May 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Totally, totally agree! I can't expect Sienna to behave and not swear if I do it to her, simple as! We have to set example and as naughty as Sienna has ever been or as hard as the day has been, not once have I even thought 'she is a dickhead' or 'she is a wanker' or 'she is a bitch' who are these kind of parents?! bloody hell, they don't deserve them! xx

  • Reply
    Hannah Twine
    5th May 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Well said. And don't be so hard on yourself, you are a brilliant mum.

  • Reply
    Donna Wishart
    5th May 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Great post. I have no idea why people think it's acceptable to put their children down in public – or in private for that matter. If your son called you a dick you wouldn't have it, so it's not right that people think it's ok the other way around. I hear you completely x

  • Reply
    Mummy F
    5th May 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Charlotte, I totally agree!!!

    Love this post and being new to the world of Mummy blogging I was actually quite surprised by the sarcastic tones and name calling many blogs had. Inspiring? Not at all. Reading the other blogs it makes me think, hang on who is actually the child here!! Its refreshing logging in and reading posts from someone who quite clearly enjoys being Mummy 🙂 Thank you!!

  • Reply
    6th May 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Well put. It saddens me that sometimes we see parents who hold their children to ridiculously high standards that they would not hold themselves to. Even saying it in jest can be such a dangerous thing, as kids can so easily take stuff like this to heart and be wounded by it.

  • Reply
    Laura CYMFT
    6th May 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Well said. I know someone (who I no longer associate with for various reasons) who would call their child all sorts of nasties when they misbehaved. It's so emotionally damaging to the children!

  • Reply
    Rachael madeupoflittlethings
    8th May 2015 at 12:35 pm

    I love this post. I couldn't agree more. I've come close to losing my little one and it frightened me bed words. Whenever I'm (*he's*) having a bad day and I'm being tested to my limit I still look at hi and think how much I adore him. I'm sure we have many, many more testing days to come but I also know that I will never stop loving him and I couldn't bear to call him some of the names I've seen bandied about recently. I don't know where this new parenting culture has come from but I'm proud to say that I'm not part of it.

    rachael | made up of little things

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