Sussex columnist: Why I sometimes need to hide from my children and other parenting confessions

I had one of those days on Sunday. Nothing major happened, my children were just being kids which obviously entails them being a bit cheeky and annoying at times.
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​Normally that’s okay, and I take it in my stride. Children will test boundaries and it’s just all part of being a parent.

But for some reason my tolerance for anything was low at the weekend. Things that wouldn’t normally bother me made me irrationally cross. And so my children being less-than-enthusiastic about doing their homework and bickering with each other tipped me over the edge.

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I had little mental capacity to parent them without regressing to a teenage-like state where I channelled my inner Kevin and Perry and started grunting at them and complaining about everything being ‘so unfair’. And so, when it really all got too much, I decided to remove myself from the situation and sought solace in, of all things, cleaning out my bathroom cabinet. I locked the door, put a podcast on and just focused on the task in hand.

If only I could have kept cupboard free from any clutter. Picture: Katherine HMIf only I could have kept cupboard free from any clutter. Picture: Katherine HM
If only I could have kept cupboard free from any clutter. Picture: Katherine HM

Before anyone tries to report me, I’d like to make it clear my husband was with the children so they weren’t left to fend for themselves. I just realised I needed to tag myself out for a while, and the bonus was I finally had the time to do a very boring job I’d been putting off for weeks!

I think it’s fair enough that sometimes you’re not as good a parent as others. There are definitely days where you feel like you don’t have the energy to referee your children’s argument, and you feel like you might scream if you have to ask them to brush their teeth one more time.

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Often, I’m parenting solo and I just have to get on with it through a combination of gritted teeth, picking my battles and food-based bribery.

When my husband is around, however, it’s great to be able to leave him to it for a while.

Yes, I may have made a job that should have taken about 20 minutes last at least an hour, and yes, a glass of wine may even have been sneaked into the bathroom, but nobody needs to know about that.

And now, it’s back to business as usual. Mornings this week have been just as frantic as ever, as we blunder out the door in a frantic cloud of lost shoes, missing water bottles and snack pots being flung into backpacks. But my ability to cope is restored and I haven’t had to resort to deep-cleaning anything again yet. But with the Easter holidays approaching, we all know there’s still time…

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In a bid to make myself feel like a better parent, I’ve been re-watching one of my favourite TV shows the past couple of weeks – Motherland.

Not only is it hilarious (school WhatsApp groups, the PTA, grandparent babysitting and more all get regular mention), it makes me feel like a rockstar mum.

No way am I as bad as Julia, who spends most of her time trying to offload her kids on anyone who’ll have them. Yes, it might not be real, but it definitely works as a bit of a reality check – maybe I have got this parenting malarkey more sorted and organised than I give myself credit for?!

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I did actually manage some parenting wins this week. We got to the end of term for most of their clubs (just sweaty swimming to go this week), hit up the roller disco (again) and survived a party at the Flying Fortress.

But, perhaps best of all, was that for the one day of spring we had last week – that glimmer of hope when the sun shone, it didn’t rain, and I actually went outside without wearing a coat – I dried a load of washing on the line. Hallelujah! Nothing makes me happier than when outdoor clothes drying season starts (see column two years ago pretty much saying the same thing).

Okay, so it might not have happened again since seeing as we’ve been thrust back into wind and rain, but I live in hope that the tumble dryer can go fully into its summer hibernation soon. Fingers crossed!

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