In theory, becoming a parent would suggest being a grown-up right? In my experience, this is not strictly true. Being a ‘grown up’ is, to my mind, a mythical state of being. A state in which one is able to make sensible decisions; create order out of chaos; and respond to the demands of parenting in a calm and rational manner. Nope, doesn’t sound realistic to me either.
One of the aspects of being a parent that never fails to demonstrate my inability to be a proper grown up, is dealing with stroppy, petulant children. I can generally start off OK: ignoring the outbursts; addressing the behaviour and keeping my irritation in check, but invariably the mask falls; the charade fails and my inherent childishness seeps to the surface.
Responding to my daughter’s angry yells of ‘You’re not my friend, Mummy.’ with a mumbled ‘good’ not quite under my breath, is not a grown up thing to do. I know this. But sometimes it is just hard to stay in that ‘good parent’ role.
It is to my eternal shame that I did once threaten to pull the legs off my daughter’s much loved flock reindeer (a post-Christmas Paperchase bargain purchase) and that this threat was accompanied by some vigorous miming of how exactly this would be accomplished. Like many moments in parenting, it was one of those times where you step outside of yourself, assess the situation and wonder quite how you managed to get to the point where you were issuing threats of violence towards the beloved toy of a 6 year old child.
As I say, sometimes it is hard to tell exactly who the grown up is anyway….