5 year old boys, PMT, and self doubt; a dangerous cocktail

>> Friday, 2 September 2011

Five year old boys and PMT do not mix well.

That is my considered opinion after a morning when I raised my voice more often than I should have during breakfast, harrassed beyond the end of my already hormonally-challenged temper by constant requests to read him his train-tastic railway magazine (Boy #2 is a train spotter extraordinaire in the making) and his tantrums over his too-sloppy weetabix, his too-sloppy cornflakes, and his napkin - which he refuses to tuck into his waist-band - falling repeatedly onto the floor.

So, whilst sorting the Boys' breakfasts, their lunch boxes, the pack of chopped vegetables that Boy #1 needed to take into class for a project today, getting them to brush their teeth, put their shoes on and check that they had all the various kit they needed for their day, I shouted. Loudly. There may have been swearing in there, too. There was certainly a great deal of hissiness and general crossness on my part, and if I'm honest, a remark that I may well go back to work and leave Boy #2 with a nanny if he continued to behave like this every morning. Which was not a helpful thing to say, since if it comes to that, it will be nothing to do with his behaviour and everything to do with financial realities and / or my trying to re-establish myself as an employable human being.

And it's too close to being a real possibility for me to allow him to think of having a nanny as a punishment.

In the heat of the moment I'm falling into the trap, I think, of imagining that what I say to him won't be remembered in years to come and yet, he's 5, for goodness' sake. He already remembers events that happened last year and the year before. Hell, he remembers that the blasted train magazine he was leafing through this morning was a present from his cousin last February. I can no longer rely on the fact that he is too little to process and store away things that are said and done; he isn't.

It's just unfortunate that his end-of-week tiredness, his kicking against the restraints of going back to school after a summer of doing what he likes, when he likes, collide with what seems to be an increasingly fierce PMT as I get older.

I need to take a step back in those situations. I need to take a deep breath. Is it really worth getting wound up over too-sloppy weetabix, for example? Why not bite my tongue, simply throw it away and start again? Because it's one of those battles that really, really aren't worth fighting, and in any case, desperate to get him to eat something, anything for breakfast before a long school day, that's what I did this morning. Crossly, yes. Muttering about over-priviledged little pashas and starving children in Africa, yes, but eventually, that's what I did; throw it away and start again.

Writing this down here, it's glaringly obvious that in situations like this, I need to aim for the high ground. I am the parent; I am the grown up. I am the one who should be able to keep their temper. Perhaps I need my own star chart here? Awarding myself points for fulfilling the promise 'I will keep my temper when Boy #2 is having one of those mornings'? It's certainly worth thinking about.

In the meantime, I'm off to make the vanilla cake that I promised him when I dropped him unwillingly off at school this morning. Well. Given the circumstances - and the time of the month - I think it will make both of us feel better...


Tattie Weasle 2 September 2011 at 10:06  

Are you sure we are not living the same life? I have holed myself in my office amid increasing piles of detritus growling at all who have the temerity to even think about crossing the threshold and all because the youngest kept his knife in the air when he ate this morning ( he does it at every meal time)..maybe its more than PMT ...but I don't want to think I am THAT old yet!

MrsB @ crankymonkeys in london 2 September 2011 at 10:31  

Mornings are the toughest... I find that it's not worth fighting over stuff in the morning :) - if I've made them porridge that they usually eat and they all of a sudden want Cheerios, then Cheerios it is.

Mwa 2 September 2011 at 10:58  

Ghah! That is SO recognisable. I have noticed that on two identical mornings, with my little girl doing exactly the same thing each morning, one is lovely and runs smoothly, and one is hell and full of shouting, and the difference is most definitely in me, my mood and my approach.

Don't worry too much about the shouting - yes, they do remember stuff now, but they also remember the good stuff and you can apologise/talk to them if you were out of line. (I have needed to on several occasions and I find the children quite forgiving of my mistakes.)

Good luck with tomorrow morning! Just remember we're all in the same boat. x

Jennifer at Jenography.net 2 September 2011 at 14:44  

I've often had that moment when I think, wait my daughter is going to remember these kind of moments with me the way I remember moments from my childhood. My next thought is usually "uh-oh"...

Melksham Mum 2 September 2011 at 16:38  

Oh my word you sound exactly like me right down to the "there are children in Africa that would eat that food, stop sticking your nose up at everything rant rant rant" I also worry what they will remember and beat myself up about it afterwards and promise myself I won't react again.....until the next month and the next one....!

Jacq 2 September 2011 at 21:58  

On school mornings my mantra is 'just say yes' unless I HAVE to say no. And never say no when a 'we'll see' will do.

It can be next to impossible though. I end up in timeout myself quite often.

Iota 2 September 2011 at 23:49  

Don't beat yourself up. It all sounds very familiar.

Almost bedtime 3 September 2011 at 19:29  

Glad to know that I am not the only one who has mornings like this. I am feeling pretty ashamed myself right now as my in-laws are also staying with us for the week and I was in a terrible (sleep-deprived) mood this morning that I just couldn't get out of. Reading your post and other comments has made me feel like I am just human like everyone else instead of the horrible ogre that I was beginning to believe I was. Thankfully they all went out and I can re-group before they get back!

Home Office Mum 4 September 2011 at 05:26  

you see I've been counting down the minutes until my boys go back to school so that my peace and tranquility will return. But you've just reminded me about school mornings and I know that in just a few short days time I shall turn into the amazing banshee mother who has to repeat herself five million times to get the kids to eat, get dressed and clean their teeth like a groundhog day horror film. I genuinely feel there is a gap in the market to overcome this particular issue. But perhaps the makers of valium have already come up with the solution.

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