Is My Daughter a Robot in Disguise?

 
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As was previously published in Island Parent Magazine

I have to start this post off with an anecdote, because it made my friend laugh really, really hard and nod almost simultaneously as she really got what I was saying. 

In the wee hours of the morning the other day our youngest, three-year-old Audrey slipped into bed with my husband and I. She fell asleep for a little while but then around 6:30 a.m. sat up very quickly almost like a wound up Jack in the Box and stated in a very matter of fact voice, “I’m hungry.”

The story is better when I imitate her voice. Anyways, the way she sat up and announced her hunger made me wonder, more so joke, is our daughter some sort of robot? Has she been programmed to highly annoy us 16 hours of the day? Are these phrases programmed and timed to get on our nerves? 

Before you think I’m mean for thinking about my daughter this way, you must know I spend a lot of time being silly and sarcastic. I’m pretty good at telling corny jokes too.  

And don’t get me wrong my daughter is very sweet. Just look at the photo in this post, with her new bob haircut, rosy red cheeks and lips and strawberry blonde hair. You might be surprised to know she throws a wicked tantrum. 

So, with that said, how is it possible moms and dads parent peacefully all the time?

Is it even humanly possible?

The same friend and I had a great vent session about trying to remain as calm as we can, even when say one of our daughters decides in her tantrum to start kicking the brand-new dishwasher. 

It’s got to be one of the hardest tasks. 

“Human beings weren’t designed to handle the amount of stress our modern life loads on us, which makes it difficult to hear our natural parenting instincts,” writes Dr. Laura Markham in Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids, How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting

Thank you Dr. Markham. Can I give you a hug? 

“It’s almost as if we’re forced to parent in our spare time, after meeting the demands of work, commuting and household responsibilities,” she continues. “Even worse, our culture erodes our relationship with our children and woos them away from us at too early an age.”

Peaceful Parenting is the third book I’ve picked up from the library on this topic. I think if I reserve one more, the librarian might slip a family counsellor’s business card in the book.  

Dr. Markham talks about how one of the greatest challenges for parents is not controlling our children’s behaviour, it’s managing ours. 

That made a lot of sense to me. 

Especially after also reading Dr. Deborah McNamara’s Rest, Play, Grow, Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone who acts like one).That book really opened my eyes that Audrey, for example hasn’t learned the skills yet to control her emotions, let alone what emotions really are. I need to teach her these things. 

Letting this reality into my world and becoming more aware and reminding myself about these things definitely helps me sympathize. But and this is a big but, at the end of a very long challenging day, how are we supposed to sympathize when yet another tantrum erupts in the middle of the night? 

Let me tell you, middle of the night tantrums have to be one of the worst. 

Lock yourself in the bathroom? Find a space in your house where you can take a few breaths by yourself? Practice yoga or meditation more often? Or maybe it’s bigger picture things like not taking on so much stress outside of parenting, for example not volunteering as a PAC member at your kid’s school, or cutting back your work hours, if possible? 

I wonder for the stay-at-home-moms, does not having work stress help? For moms who don’t have to work, or choose not to, whatever their situation, they also don’t have an escape or place to get away from it all either.

No matter the situation, I think a reasonable conclusion and something my friend and I discussed was if we can try and parent peacefully as much as possible, then groovy, but also we shouldn’t worry or feel bad about having a breakdown or two and yelling or scolding every so often. 

It only makes us human, in my opinion anyways. Now if only I could get my hands on the latest version of the Super Mom 2000 cyborg.  

Ashley Degraaf