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  • Writer's pictureJaye Gaff

Parenting & the “I Hate You”

Once upon a time I surprised my child with a trip to go get a second piercing in her ear. I cooked. I cleaned. I made it nice. A few hours later, for some reason or other, she screamed at me that she hated me and stormed out of my room.

Now, I usually hold a grudge for a long time and I tend to think one bad moment can destroy a happy one. But, for some reason, this day I decided to be an adult about things. Usually I will say to B. that I need some time. That I love her but I just need time to allow myself some quiet. I am very bloody sensitive. But I didn’t do this. I chose not to say anything.

The next day she came downstairs and held my hand. She apologised and I could see how hurt she was. She was disappointed in herself. She cried. She felt terrible that I had paid money for a surprise I knew she really wanted and she’d told she hated me. And in response I said:

that’s okay

And, really, it was okay. Because I know she didn’t mean it. Because I know I’m awesome. And I know kids, and adults, have little fits of despair every now and again. And I know she’s going through changes and has hormones and her brain isn’t developed and blah blah blah. So I told her all of that. And I told her I understood. And, I guess, her own frustration and anger with herself was “punishment” enough.

I realised that I didn’t always have to take time to recover. That I didn’t have to try and give her a teaching moment. That what she needed in those moments was help understanding why she did it — the hormones, man — and not why I think it was wrong.

I was really proud of myself in that moment because there was this one time, when I still talked to her, that my mum said my approach to life was “new age bullshit” and for so long I tried to pretend that wasn’t me and felt insulted by that. But I’ve come to realise that I love new aged bullshit and, now, whenever I walk past one of those crystal shops my Husband and I laugh and pretend that’s my new aged bullshit shop and, well… we find it hysterical.

So, if that’s who I’m destined to be — a mother full of new aged bullshit — I’m really fucking proud. That’s the mother my daughter needs and she’s the only one that has to like it.

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