Dear Mummy in the changing rooms
After your swim, you seemed to be finding motherhood and the needs of your lively toddler too much to manage. I’m sorry if you were having a bad day. Of no consolation I'm sure, but I do remember these times well. Sometimes they were tough. So mind-numbingly difficult and deeply frustrating. I remember the crazy boundary-pushing declarations and repetitive story-telling. We often recall the amazing highlights, humorous exchanges and everlasting imprints: all key moments captured in mind, body and soul, embodied forever.
Toddlerhood can test us to the max...YES IT CAN but for better or worse these early years leave a lasting impression upon our children - creating eternal memories.
There is no easy way to say this and I'm sorry but I need to change the tone. I need to tell you that your physical attack on your child was shockingly disturbing. We were in the cubicle getting dressed. We didn't see you or your toddler but what we heard will remain with us forever.
My daughter wept as she placed her hand on the lock to break free of the cubicle. In that moment her eyes held the deepest sadness and the darkest rage. I placed my hand on the door to stop her from leaving the cubicle. I knew she wanted to voice her opinions and share with you her distress. Unfortunately I didn't have trust or faith in you. I feared you may lash out at her too. How would you have responded to my nine-year old daughter telling you to STOP? How would you have responded to her tears for your child and her rage for you?
My daughter doesn't know what it's like to be hit but I have told her of my experiences.
When you walloped your child something disturbing happened to me. My feet felt like they were glued to the floor. My mind and body was transported back in time. Internally a known fear was triggered, this was quickly followed by a need to remain silent.
I’m sorry to have to tell you but in that moment my daughter’s joy was zapped from every ounce of her being. Your actions left us feeling distressed and somewhat depressed. Instead of us having wonderful memories of our first solo outing to the pool, our time together remains forever tarnished by the sound of your hand hitting your child.
Please consider how the physical punishment you are inflicting upon your child is being experienced by him? Your actions will leave a deep impression on him and will influence his relationship with you. If I may, I also beg you to consider the impact your physical actions have on you, and those around you.
On our journey home my daughter was silent (or silenced). In asking her what was wrong she spoke of the pain of listening to you hit your child.
My heart goes out to you.
I wish you well on your parenting journey and I hope one day you'll find peace in your soul.
With love and a hug
A mummy who was hit as a child