It’s been ages since I talked to any mamas or papas about having their buttons pushed. But as we’ve just had Christmas, I’m sure we can safely assume that buttons were being pushed left right and centre! But when will Santa come? When you go to sleep. But is he here now? No, not yet, just go to sleep and then he’ll visit. What about now Mummy do you think he’s about to land on the roof now? Not now no darling, let’s just go to sleep eh? Repeat ad infinitum and eventually you could find yourself shouting: That’s it! Christmas is cancelled! Those patience buttons can get quite the work out eh?!
Anyhoo….. For those of you who already know the wonderful Mamazou, you’ll know that Jenny founded and runs a fabulous parenting forum, a community that support parents through the tricky times and terrain of parenthood. It’s a safe space for mums and dads to seek support and advice, “without the side helping of judgement”.
I asked Jenny to tell us a little bit about who pushes her buttons:
Mrs Baffled: Where are you from and where do you live?
Jenny Raymond: I was born in central London and now live in North West London.
MB: What did you do before and after having children?
JR: I started out in recruitment, moved into Private Banking and Compliance and ended up working in the accounts team for a small, family run, company in the City. Since having a child, I have been fortunate to do the same day job but with the flexibility of working from home.
MB: My little Button-Pusher is soon to turn 4, and I’m hoping that we’re about to leave the threenage years behind! What can you tell me about the little Button-Pusher in your life?
JR: I have a daughter, H, who has recently turned 3. OMG… No one warned me about the threenager stage. I mean, I thought that the terrible twos were the worst and then it was meant to get better but the day H turned 3 was the day she flicked another switch. I love her dearly don’t get me wrong but recently she’s been HARD work and I’m struggling! Let’s take the past week… she’s barely eaten, refused to sleep and has put up a fight every single day just to prove a point. It’s like the battle of wits and I think I’m losing!
She recently started a new nursery and told them that her “mummy never taught me to feed myself” and convinced them to feed her every day until they pulled me aside and said it’s something I need to focus on. That was pretty embarrassing but I told them they had been played!
She also has also developed this selective hearing technique which entails ignoring everyone around her until certain words are mentioned, such as ‘party’, ‘present’ and ‘chocolate.’
MB: A bit like my little Button-Pusher then: quite a character! Anything that H does that hits the embarrassment button? People often say that kids have a truth button, and just tell it like it is – no social etiquette!
JR: In terms of embarrassment the last thing I can think of was when we were in Boots choosing her new toothbrush. It just had to be opposite condoms and lube. H saw a man reading the label of a bright pink bottle of lube. Looking pretty chuffed with himself that he was going to score later, my daughter decided to go UP to him and ask for the bottle because “pink is my favourite colour”. You can only imagine the scene that followed and the looks that I was given!
MB: Yep that would press the embarrassment button for sure!! Do you think she pushes your buttons more when you’re tired or happy? Or just busy? I’ve read that button pushing is more about how we feel in that moment, and how we respond, than the actual person doing the pushing…
JR: H is very sensitive and does tend to pick up on my emotions so if I’m tired or stressed she seems to be the total reflection of that, and she pushes my buttons more but I’m guessing that’s normal. After all, we do all seem to feed off each other’s emotions.
MB: What about the happy buttons? Like pride or love? It never ceases to amaze me how deliriously happy B-P can make me feel.
JR: She’s very good at making me laugh. She has this fake laugh and pulls some really silly faces. She always wakes me up by stroking my hair and kissing me on the cheek and saying those four magic words “mummy, I love you.” – but I soon learn that it’s because she wants something! Whilst H is full to the brim with cheek, she fills me with so much love and I honestly wouldn’t change her for the world.
MB: Was there any particular age that you especially found difficult to navigate, or particularly loved?
JR: It’s funny, most people I speak to disliked the newborn stage but I LOVED it – the endless hugs, the watching them sleep, their smell… It was just such a special time to build up a beautiful connection between the two of us. Each stage has got better and better and every milestone in itself has been the most beautiful miracle. It’s amazing to see something so tiny rely on you to nurture them, guide them and turn them into the little person they are today. We never look at ourselves in the mirror and say “Good job mama” but we should!
MB: We absolutely should! I agree! Do you think how we manage the button-pushing, will change as they, and we age?
JR: Definitely – I’d say that managing the button-pushing changes as we age. They are clever and know how to test you more and as H gets older I feel like I need to create more boundaries. For example, now we have time out – where she does something wrong, she sits in time out to think about her actions (well, that’s in an ideal world – what she actually does is cries her eyes out) and once she’s calm we sit down and discuss what happened to try and prevent it from happening again. She’s old enough to understand and know better, where as last year when I started introducing it, she laughed in my face.
MB: Do you think it will be different when we hit the teenage years? Or do you just think different challenges, same buttons of frustration being pushed?
JR: It’s the teenage years that I’m dreading – I know how hellish I was, so good luck to me!!
MB: I’m pretty certain that I still drive my mum mad! Is that just a mother / daughter, parent / child thing, or do you think it’s just part of being a parent, and loving our kids as much as we do?
JR: I really believe that as we all age, we will still all annoy each other. It’s standard right?! I mean, I definitely still irritate my family and vice versa. We grow up learning what pushes their buttons – it’s normal. I’d love to say that’s not true but I’d be lying!
MB: If you had one piece of advice to offer to mums or dads of toddlers having their buttons pushed, what would it be?