Wednesday, 19 October 2011

On Being Psycho Mum

Being a mum and a psychologist may seem like a good deal. I have all the tools to deliver the best upbringing to my child whilst knowing just what to do to remain sane myself right? Well... not quite!

Sure I know all the theories (some of them contradictory mind you) and I counsel other mums on the best techniques to manage their bundles of joy when they are not being so... joyous.

BUT... I also live in the real world and when my child is throwing a tantrum, no matter how hard I try, I do not always manage to "label his feelings, try to distract him and finally walk away to give him some space to express his emotions - and all of that while staying calm and collected myself". No, I lose it sometimes. I want to scream and sometimes I want to run away. Mostly I hide it, sometimes I raise my voice. Thankfully, I never totally lose it and hurt my child.

The hardest part about who I am though, is knowing exactly what the "damage" is when I am not being the perfect mum I dream about. I think about how he will feel 'abandonned' when I choose to take some time out for myself. I worry about being over-protective and turning him into a man who cannot fend for himself. I lose sleep over having another child because of the distress he will go through when he is no longer the centre of my world.

All of it I do realise is absolute bullshit! He is not the first one, nor the last one to go through the normal upsets of life and he will be just fine. But sometimes knowing too much is just that: too much. Sometimes I wish I was blissfully ignorant.

And then I think to myself, I do a good enough job. I spend quality time with him. I take good care of his physical needs. We  play, we laugh. And above all, I love him and he knows it. And if I do nothing else right, I will do this: make sure that he always knows his mummy loves him.

So next time the shrink is telling you about the latest approach to managing your child and you wonder how come they seem so much better at this than you, just remember, they have probably also spent time locked up in the toilet for a few minutes of time out from the kids. If they say they haven't, they are either lying or they don't have kids!

Anna M. 


  1. ha! fully psycho mum! I bet it must be a challenge! Knowing too much, but I guess the skill is in the knowing and knowing what to do with that knowing.

    I have a friend in childcare and she says how many people look at her when her kids have a tantrum, like she is expected to be perfect at the whole gig because it is her job. She quickly lets people know that life is life and 'look away' if they have to!

  2. Hi Anna, I can relate to this a little bit. I'm not a psych but I do run parenting courses and it is always much easier to see what's the problem in someone else's family than your own! I guess distance helps, and it's not all those emotions clouding your judgement.

    Look forward to reading more! Gemma sent me :)

  3. Welcome ladies. Gemma is doing an awesome job promoting my blog. Thanks again! Yes, the joys of being "an expert"! That's partly what my aim is here: to challenge the idea that psychologists have it all together. I want to show the human side of psychologists (even though some like to think they are semi-gods!)
    Really looking forward to sharing my thoughts. Thanks for the support.


Aaaah, you are leaving your opinion! I love it!