I have remarked on many occasions that I am a much better parent when there are witnesses.
Oh, come on, you totally know what I’m talking about. If there are other people around, I am a lot less likely to lose my shit and yell in frustration. I’m much more likely to do a quiet-but-firm talking-to or low-drama time out. I’m not a completely different person by any means, and it’s not like I’ve never flipped out in a public place. But overall, I probably do a better job in front of other adults than if I’m at home by myself and totally at the end of my rope. Yeah, I’m just going to be grateful that there’s no video playback of some of those moments.
The major exception to that is when I’m doing feeding therapy practice with Ellie. It is so, SO much worse when there are other people around.
I’m not sure if I can adequately explain how stressful this is for me. On a particularly good day, I can get her to consume about 1/4 cup of various baby food purees and yogurt. It takes a solid 45 minutes, a fully-loaded iPad to keep her occupied, and every drop of patience and encouragement and determination I can muster. I have to stay really upbeat, because getting frustrated and trying to force something that isn’t working will only set us back. Even when it has gone relatively well, I finish and feel like my blood pressure is through the roof and I am completely spent. All I want to do is retire dramatically to a chaise lounge.
And that is when I have the entire quiet house to myself. Throw in a pair of five-year-olds with their never-ending stream of questions and complaints, and I barely last five minutes of feeding therapy before I throw up my hands in defeat and freak out on everyone. I can’t even handle doing it with M around. He’s trying to be encouraging and helpful, and it’s all I can do not to scream at him to SHUT UP AND JUST LEAVE IT ALONE.
Of course, this turns into a whole vicious cycle. Feeding therapy is hard and stressful, so I put it off and avoid it, so it stays hard and stressful. I need to get more disciplined about finding a time that I can do it every day, which should ultimately make it more routine and a little less stressful (not to mention more actual progress for Ellie).
But UGH. Sometimes I just need to talk about how much it blows. It really, really blows.