Coping with the emotional battles of parenting

Emotional battles parenting

*Photo Credit

Today’s post is mostly about parenting but there’s still a link to my favourite subject (‘debt’ in case you were thinking ‘dogs’) so bear with me! Last week, I experienced one of the many battles of being a parent. Parenting is never easy and this one was a tough emotional struggle for me.

It was to do with my daughter’s second day at preschool. The first time she went to preschool, the hubby and I took her together and off she went exploring and seeking out the other children and new toys to play with. It was only when we collected her that the teacher told us she had become very upset once she realised we had left and that she was there to stay! We spent a lot of time afterwards talking her through why mummy and daddy have to leave her at preschool and that it’s only for a short time before we come back to pick her up.

The second time my little girl was due to attend preschool last week, I got her out of bed in the morning and tried to get her dressed in her uniform. Unfortunately, she had already made up her mind that she didn’t want to go, so we had a major meltdown situation. She refused to get dressed and wouldn’t let me help her. In the mornings, everything is rushed at the best of times because of work so the pressure was on to make sure I wouldn’t be late for work and she wouldn’t be late for preschool.

Then my little girl bowled me over with this statement in the middle of the tantrum she was throwing. “I don’t want you to get me ready. I want Daddy to do it! I want him to take me to nursery. You stay here. I don’t want you to come.” This might sound like something a 3 year old kid would say anyway, but her little outburst just knocked the stuffing out of me. She didn’t want me?! Tantrums are a regular occurrence at the moment which is just part of the stage she’s at. But for the first time, I felt really emotional about something my own daughter said to me. I had to get the hubby to intervene and take her to preschool as it was the only way to make sure we all wouldn’t be late for our various duties that morning.

Of course, she didn’t mean it or even know the effect she had on me. She was lashing out probably because she was anxious about going to preschool and she genuinely didn’t want to go. It’s hard not to be affected emotionally by situations like this where my daughter is simply venting her frustrations and mostly likely her fears out on the only people she really knows and trusts. But I still spent that morning worrying about whether my little girl was happy at preschool and thinking about whether I’m a good parent and what I can do to be a better one.

After a while, I started thinking about this more logically than emotionally. I realised that this is a normal part of parenting and kids are bound to play one parent off against the other. I guess because I’m at home with her all the time, I’m seen as the ‘bad cop’ who has to discipline more often than the hubby who could be viewed as the ‘good cop’. Because he works away a lot, the time he spends with our daughter is full of fun, games and laughter! Which could explain why this scenario rolled out on that particular morning. When I collected my little girl from preschool later that day, all was forgotten and she ran up to me with open arms. :)

When you have kids, you want them to be as happy as possible and give them the best chances in life. Being a parent is the best job in the world, but I also think it’s the hardest! Because as you’re raising them the best way you can, they develop new skills and need new experiences… and with that comes individuality and a growing sense of will.

Parenting lasts forever

If you have an argument with a friend or face emotional struggles at work, it’s easy to think, “Sod it. I can’t deal with this. I’m moving on.” But as a parent, you see past the tricky times instead focusing on the good times and all the amazing stages of development your child goes through.

This little episode will just be one in a long series of emotional battles I’m sure and these battles will get bigger and more upsetting in the future. But that’s just part of being a parent. The minute my daughter was born, I knew that I would do my best to protect her and care for her for the rest of my life. So no matter what she throws at me now or in the future, it doesn’t make a difference as I will battle on through it. I can see why parents support their children through thick and thin, when they go down the wrong paths, mix with the wrong crowd, end up in jail or worse. Because most parents can’t do anything else, they’re in it for the long haul. (I say ‘most’ because unfortunately there are some parents out there who don’t support their children at all.)

Continuing on through thick and thin on our journey to debt freedom

Anyway, this situation made me think about our debt of all things. Our debt has been the reason for many tough emotional battles over the last 14 years. The hubby and I have taken on the roles of ‘good cop and bad cop’ from time to time and we’ve had arguments about the fact that we couldn’t buy this or that, go on holiday, eat out occasionally, switch jobs or just do nice things in general. Usually one of us wanted to buy something or do something which involved money and the other held us both back  – then eventually we both gave into whatever the emotional struggle was about anyway.

Until now of course. We look at our debt situation logically, at last having a full picture of how much we owe to our creditors and how much is being paid off each month. We have a budget that we follow which helps us to stay on track. We’re prepared now and armed with the tools of focus and motivation to see this battle through until the end, despite what challenges and emotional hurdles come our way. No matter what happens with how much debt we can pay off per month, no matter what life throws at us, we will continue this journey to debt freedom through thick and thin. We’re in it for the long haul!

Have you experienced emotional battles when parenting, paying off debt or in any other part of your life? How do you cope with your battles?

Editor’s note: Please check back tomorrow for an exciting new feature on this blog!

Related posts:

Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield at freedigitalphotos.net – Grumpy Child

Femme Frugality

Comments

  1. 1

    says

    I have a 3-year old daughter. My husband stayed home with her for her first two years of life so they have a super tight bond. It’s always stings a little when she wants him over me. Similar to you, I recognize that this is more than playing favorites. I am the disciplinarian, my husband is fun, laid back and loves to play. (Which is one of the reasons I love him so.). And boy, has she ever mastered the playing one parent off the other game. Sigh – parenting. Love your connection to debt. It’s perfect.
    Taynia | The Fiscal Flamingo recently posted…5 Influential People – It’s PersonalMy Profile

    • 2

      says

      Thanks Taynia! I’m glad I’m not the only one in this parenting situation! I wonder how often you might find two disciplinarians for parents… or the opposite! Probably good to have a balance. :)

  2. 3

    says

    If am not mistaken and from the little psychology I can remember from school, your daughter could be displaying early signs of the Oedipus/Electra complex however you look at it, where a kid identifies more with a parent of the opposite sex. Completely normal i would imagine :)
    I don’t have kids of my own yet but I can appreciate the efforts that go into bringing up a family. Finances do play a key role in family relations and I do agree completely with you, no matter what the financial situation is, the family comes first. Debts come and go, financial situations change but family is there always.
    Simon @ Modest Money recently posted…Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard ReviewMy Profile

    • 4

      says

      Thanks Simon! I will definitely look up Oedipus/Electra – never heard of this before! Yes bringing up a family does mean huge efforts and sacrifices, which tend to happen without you noticing really. When my daughter was around 1 year of age, I looked back on how my life had changed – and I do prefer it!

  3. 9

    says

    Even a small glimpse at other people and their kids leaves me thankful for not yet having one. I believe that in my current position and starting businesses it is not the best idea to have a kid that I need to look after. I am up for the effort and know it will be hard however I want to get more financially stable first.
    Martin recently posted…Finance tips for a small businessMy Profile

    • 10

      says

      Lol! You do have to be really sure before having kids that it’s the right thing for you and during the right stage of your life. Although some would say there isn’t a right stage as such!
      Hayley recently posted…Frugal Feast #1My Profile

    • 12

      says

      Thanks GMD! It really is the most rewarding job ever even at the most challenging of times. I dropped my daughter off to school today (third time now) and the whole experience was marginally better than last time. So that’s progress!

      Glad you liked the debt connection – it does feel like a battle at times doesn’t it!
      Hayley recently posted…Frugal Feast #1My Profile

    • 14

      says

      I think it’s something built into most parents. The only way I can describe the feeling of being of parent is that my daughter feels like a part of me, an important limb so to speak. Without her I would be lost!
      Hayley recently posted…Frugal Feast #1My Profile

    • 16

      says

      Thanks Jen! Good point about her being comfortable separating from the hubby. That’s made me feel slightly better! Does it get easier the older they get from your experience with your child?
      Hayley recently posted…Frugal Feast #1My Profile

  4. 19

    says

    Oh yes, I remember the first time the girls pushed me away in a tantrum. And it’s hard. You do second guess yourself, but I’m glad you were able to set aside emotion and look logically at the situation (which isn’t easy to do!). I’m often the enforcer in our home too so the girls often run to their Dad as they think he is more lenient. He’s really not, but I’m the one who is probably seen more as the “teacher” and he the “fun” one. I am fun; I swear it! :)
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…Five Smart Fall Money MovesMy Profile

  5. 21

    says

    Aww Hayley, I don’t have children of my own but I can totally see why you would get emotional when your daughter said what she said. I think I would react in exactly the same way, get very upset and me being me there would probably be tears too! :P If I ever have children of my own, I will be so protective over them too, just like you say “through thick and thin”, whatever happens. Ahh, parenting sure seems like a lot of fun! :P
    Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies recently posted…Frugal Feast #1My Profile

    • 22

      says

      Thanks Eva! I have to admit I did shed some tears when I was by myself a bit later! Parenting is fun, sometimes we have challenging days but it’s all worth it. :)

  6. 23

    says

    This goes along nicely with my post about thinking about having kids. I can’t imagine how hard it was to hear that, even though you knew she didn’t really mean it or realize she hurt you. I already know I’ll be the ‘bad cop’ as my boyfriend is way more easy going than I am (that is, if we have children). I am glad that her third day went better at least! Here’s to the rest of the week being easier.
    E.M. recently posted…Thoughts On Having ChildrenMy Profile

    • 24

      says

      Thanks so much. :) I’ve just read your post E.M. and I think you’re doing absolutely the right thing by weighing up all the factors in having kids – you have to be totally sure before having them. It’s ok not to want kids either! :)

  7. 28

    says

    Having kids is expensive AND emotional for sure. I find it interesting that a lot of finance bloggers
    Don’t have kids. I think it is great that they are handling that short coming before that do! Cause it will be a financial and emotional shocker! :-) I love kids and all the drama they bring, good and not so fun! Hang in there. Just wait for the teen daughter years ! Woo hoo! Xoxo

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