Parenting is hard. Very bloody hard. And to be honest I don’t have an answer for many of the daily problems that crop up. I may be an actress with a seemingly showbiz life, but I am ultimately just a working mum of two with a mortgage and a husband just trying to get from one day to the next without too many catastrophes and absolutely no death.
Today’s problem was finding out that our daughter had kicked another young girl in her class. Apparently just before she kicked her she sat on her and put her hands around her neck. Suffice to say me and Jason were mortified, shocked and embarrassed and we let the parents of the young girl know this. We apologised, tore a few strips of our daughter (who denied 50% of it, but confessed to the kick), proceeded to tell her that if she was older and she lost her temper like she had today then the police would get involved, and sent her to her room to think about how she had let everybody down. Behaviour like that is completely unacceptable.
I have to admit though that my first instinct was to think that my daughter couldn’t possibly do that, be that violent, lose her temper like that, she has never been violent before, her and her sister never get physical with each other and its completely out of character, so I wanted to jump to her defence. But I took a deep breath and tried to be objective. When she admitted to kicking her friend I was mighty glad that I hadn’t gone with that first instinct. I have seen other parents do this, defend their kids in what seems like an indefensible situation and it doesn’t help anyone. Nobody wants to be one of those parents who can’t see that their kid is nightmare.
On top of all of this I was at work filming when we found out, by text, from one of the dads!! This meant that Jason had to do the initial disciplining by himself, with me on WhatsApp (between takes), chucking my ten penneth in. I try very hard to not feel guilty about being a working mum. I’m not always able to make every concert, sports day and parents evening, but I am the breadwinner, I love my job and so I have to go to work, guilt about it therefore is a pointless emotion.
But for this one I couldn’t stop the pesky guilt from creeping in. ‘Have I been working too much? Away too much? Is it my fault because my daughter feels neglected of my time and so she’s taking it out on the girls at school… ?’ We sat and talked about it the next day, once the dust had settled, and my daughter told me it was a fit of temper, no deep psychological reason, no feelings of neglect, just 11 year old frustration. She was sorry, very sorry, and went to school and apologised again to her victim, promising to never do it again.
I think it’s important as women to not let the guilt win, we must just take responsibility for our actions and accept the consequences, instead of beating ourselves up for things we cannot change. We all make mistakes, we must learn from them and then move on.