The Horror Of The First Week Back After School Holidays

In the school holidays it is so easy to get into the habit of late nights and lie ins. Why would we encourage our children to get up and do things when we could get some extra sleep ourselves or a quiet morning? Well the last week is telling me why I should have done exactly that and just how important our normal routine is.

The back of my daughters' heads as they play on an ipad and iphone in their PJ's

I wrote last week about how much M struggles with the transition between being at her Dad’s house and here, but really it’s all change she struggles with. Going back to school after a few weeks holiday combined with the tiredness from a return to early starts has been ever so tough. On all of us.

One of my New Year’s resolutions (that I actually started in November) is to be calmer, shout less and be more in control of my temper generally. I have been doing well and have stopped myself shouting on so many occasions. It turns out that it’s much easier to be a nice person when it’s the holidays, we are all relaxed and I am getting enough sleep. The last week has seen some horrific scenes with me losing my temper worse than I have in months.

M and me have similar personalities which often causes flash points. I can snap at her which throws her into a bad mood and we both push each other’s buttons to the point that it is ugly. 

The two mornings I had her before school last week were especially bad and left me wondering whether she would be better off living at her Dad’s full time because I was scared of what I might do in the rage she was driving me too.

The hardest part is: I’m her mother, I should be teaching her to control her emotions, showing her how to manage her anger and instead I am behaving just as badly as her. I’m nearly 30 years older than her, if I can't show her it’s possible to manage your emotions then she will grow up believing she can’t. It was only very recently that I decided I wasn’t going to let the dragon inside control me and that actually if I didn’t want to be a horrible shouty mum I didn’t have to be. It might take a lot of practise, but I can get there and I will get there for the sake of my children.

When I shout at M she shouts back, we bounce off each other and get worse. If I shout at Little she looks hurt or scared and bursts into tears. It’s as much to avoid seeing that look on Little’s face as it is to help M that I know I have to change.

I really thought I was doing well, but this week M refused to do anything I asked. She wouldn’t get out of bed, she wouldn’t get dressed or eat her breakfast. M would complain about her sister playing, despite Little being dressed, fed and ready to go (not surprising when she was awake 2 hours before her sister). She was unreasonable, unlikable and it made me see red.

M was frequently like this when she was younger, but she has got better as she got older. I never handled it very well and trying to avoid triggers was generally our best option, but I guess I am out of the habit now and I handled it very badly. 

Once out of the house on Tuesday morning, other than shoving her sister a few times in the car M was fine and I don’t doubt she was ok at school. On Tuesday, despite Baby Boy's first birthday, a shadow hung over my head and I couldn’t get motivated to do anything. On Wednesday when I picked M up I told her that we couldn’t have a repeat and tried to talk to her about how we could avoid another awful morning. She said nothing useful and would barely hold a conversation with me about it. Then Thursday there was a repeat and my day was lost again, filled with regret and guilt.

I next saw M after school on Friday. I was determined to do better, and I have done. Then again M has been in a better mood too. We’ve had a relaxed weekend. No deadlines, no pressure, just taking it easy. It’s what we all needed. And fingers crossed for the week ahead.

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