I failed at momming today. Well, I got the basics down - they both stayed in clean diapers and fed all day. I even went so far as to make sure they both got lots of nap time! But still, they got me. They wore me down. Like a crazy bout of WWE, these two screaming kids beat me down until I cried uncle. On a normal day, I am not the most patient and understanding person. But today, for some reason, everything was grating on my very last nerve. That's not a great mindset to parent with, especially when you've got a full day planned.
Of course, the surefire way to avoid Bad Mom Days (or BMDs) is to step correct on that attitude. I've said it a hundred times, and yet I still haven't learned this lesson myself; I choose my attitude. While I cannot control what happens to me, I can control how I react to those situations. Ideally, I can even control who my reactions impact. Still, I'm not a perfect person and I am far from The Ideal Mother Figure. Instead of cutting off the crappy day at the pass and taking a moment to self-correct, I surged onward. All the while, I told myself I could push through the bad mood, that once my kids got naps they'd be less trying and I'd have a moment to breathe and take a step back.
But no. No, I am a Bad Mom today. Because instead of giving myself a moment to calm down, I yelled. I snapped and I shouted and I threatened to take away toys. I pointed and sharply said, "NO!", so harshly that my son flinched at the sound. That's right. I'm such a momster that my own kid is frightened of me today. What's worse? I know that I'm only demonstrating for my kids how they ought to behave when they're in a bad mood or feeling impatient. And that's NOT OKAY.
Beating myself up isn't going to make my reactions better next time. So why am I spending time putting myself through the wringer? Probably because I want to believe that I can will myself into perfection. Ha! Thirty years old, five years of marriage, and two kids deep - and I still haven't given up the good fight. Is it really a good fight? Not until today did I realize that the pressure to be perfect is creating the anxiety that puts me on edge and makes me quick to anger. I can't help but think of all the times I should have made a better choice.
This post isn't just about my self-flagellating in from of your for some sort of piety credit. Instead, I want to explain to you how I'm going to get past this day. Well - this is at least how I'm going to try.
First, I'm going to forgive myself. No person - and definitely no parent - is perfect. Everyone has their moments of weakness. And this particular moment of weakness? It's actually an area of great personal growth for me. I grew up in the cycle of abuse, but every time I yell at my kid instead of hitting them I consider a victory won. That isn't to scare you - I don't want to hit my kids. What I mean is that I need to give myself a little credit. Everyone comes to parenthood with different experiences and perspectives, and my experience is a bit of a handicap at times. It's colored my own parenting in ways I discover daily, and I'm earnestly trying to reshape my behavior as soon as it pops up.
Next, I'm going to get away from my kids. Not everyone has this option, and it's moments like these that give me an even deeper respect for single parents. As soon as my husband was off the clock, I grabbed my computer and hit the door. A little breathing space will do everyone a bit of good. Plus, I needed to feel like I could get something done without being encumbered by the weight of two resistant and fussy children. That feeling of accomplishment alone replenishes my stores and gives me more strength to go back into the fray.
Finally, I'm going to try again tomorrow. This will be a lesson. My hope in writing this is that you can relate - and that you can help keep me accountable to my own goals. I have to break the cycle of abuse. I have to reprogram my own anxious reactions to things. And I have to do it now - because my choices don't just impact me anymore. Shep and Rory deserve the best I can give them - and I deserve to enjoy giving them the best version of my momself.
Have you ever yelled at your kids? When have you lost your patience with them? Have you ever struggled to handle your anxiety before it turns into anger? Give me all the tips! I sure could use them. @pi3sugarpi3 on Twitter
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