I really, really lost it. BIG time.
So much for “peaceful parenting” and articles in the NY Times on the topic – I feel like a bit of a hypocrite at the moment.
Boy did I lose it today.
After a stressful week at work with longer hours, lack of sleep, exhaustion, wishing I could spend more time with hubby, catching a nasty cold from Gorgeous, non-stop fighting from the kids (Little Man is going through an uncharacteristically aggressive phase) and just realising I need a break I decided to have fun with the kids. I had plans today to spend a good Saturday with the children – shopping for fruit (which the kids love to do with me) and birthday treats (all three have a birthday in the next two weeks mash’Allah), a trip to the library, which again everyone loves, pizza for lunch and then an afternoon at my mums.
Of course the icky cold, skipping breakfast and trying to fit too much into one morning left me tired and with a sore head. We got to Pizza Hut to find three children’s parties happening simultaneously, more than my sore head could handle. So I decided to take the bus home, pray my midday prayer and have a quiet lunch at home and then get everyone to nap (me included).
I have really noticed in the last few months how rude some people can be towards me when my children are with me – getting annoyed if I don’t get out of the way quickly enough, getting annoyed if my kids are in the way, making rude comments (and assuming I can’t understand English), giving me dirty looks. I really have at times found it hard to keep my patience with these people (who were obviously born as perfect fully formed adults, therefore giving them the right to judge me).
I also truly hate the way mothers with prams are treated by busses in London – we pay up to £2.20 a trip to be treated as a nuisance by bus drivers who may let three prams on, or decide that only one at a time can get on.
On this occasion as always I checked there were no other prams were on the bus and boarded. At the next stop another lady got on and I told her I would get off at the next stop. The driver noticed that Gorgeous was out of the pram and that I had shopping bags in there and started giving me a lecture about prams not being shopping trolleys and why didn’t I shut the pram (with three kids, ten bags of shopping, my handbag and a pram to manage with two hands?). I never, ever shut the pram – I don’t have enough hands and drivers don’t wait long enough at stops for you to get the pram/kids/bags off again. I have been known to walk almost a mile with the kids in to rather than shut the pram to get on a bus for the above reasons.
But with the sore head, exhaustion, rudeness from people over recent months and my dislike of rude bus drivers I just could not handle his comments. Out of the blue I totally lost it.
People who know me know I am usually quite cheerful and fairly softly spoken. People who know me really well know I have a very nasty temper which I have tried to manage over the years, slowly getting better at it. They also know I have a very, very loud voice inside this petite frame which occasionally is allowed out.
I YELLED at the bus driver at the top of my lungs to just let me the F**K off NOW!!!! Everyone on the bus just went dead quiet and stared (to my satisfaction). I yelled at how I was sick of people treating me badly because I had kids. The bus driver sniffily suggested I park the pram next to the other lady’s. He got another earful with a few more expletives and opened the bus doors quickly. I have never seen the kids do as they are told so quickly either. I don’t think people could believe a sound with so many decibels could come from the little Asian mum.
I am always aware that because of the way I dress I am very visible as a Muslim and therefore have a responsibility to speak and behave well. I am very conscious of the fact that the way I behave has implications for the way other Muslim women are treated. But everyone has their limit and today I reached mine. Plus sometimes I think it might be good for people to know we are not always pushovers just because we choose to behave nicely. Funnily enough I have to say that I felt incredibly calm after I had gotten off the bus.
I was thinking a few days before it had been some time since I lost my temper and that I had been doing quite well recently, including not having any rows with my beloved, patient hubby (in contrast to the first years of our marriage when it was a monthly, then quarter-yearly event for me to go off on one and then spend days in damage limitation mode). Lesson there not to be complacent or speak too soon I think.
Anyway, I got home prayed and go us all takeout. We spent the evening at my mum’s catching up with my sisters (they are such life-savers for me) and I finally found myself at home at 8pm with my headache and nausea just starting to subside.
The children were still squabbling at this point and I was getting continuous reports of “he said... she said...he pulled... she pushed...he stuck his foot in my mouth” (not even joking). So I called a shura (council) and asked for a suggestion as to how we should deal with hitting. We agreed our actions should have consequences. We also decided against Little Man’s gleeful suggestion that the perpetrators of the hitting should “get beats”, when I pointed out that this was mostly him at the moment. In the end we decide that anyone who hits gets 10 minutes in time out (facing the wall). We had three stints of time out before they got the idea. I also had to warn them not to peel wallpaper whilst they were in time out or they would be standing with hands on heads. We’ll see how this little initiative goes.
Whenever I am annoyed with the kids, or we get off to a bad start, I tell myself to stop, take a deep breath and do something to change the situation. So I told the kids to get the plastic mat we use for picnics and painting and their library books and we would have a midnight feast (at 8.30pm).
It certainly lightened the mood and Litttle Lady raced through her four books mash'Allah. They have finally fallen asleep, the house looks like a ornado has swept through it and I have Sisters Circle tomorrow, so I plan to get a good nights sleep insh'Allah and then do a blitz.