Despite our best intentions and everything we talk about as our parenting goals, the truth is, everyone sucks sometimes. For everything I write about, it doesn't mean I always accomplish it either.
When I wrote about how we should all stop being mean to toddlers, it was a lesson to myself as well, reminding myself to try to respond in a manner that helped my child learn, rather than just barking "no!" and ripping something from his hands. I don't always follow my own recommendations, and in fact, part of my inspiration for writing that post was I had looked up Dr. Sears' "18 Ways to Say 'No' Positively" for myself, because I seriously needed the reminder.
Then I read blogger "Yummy Mummy" Kim Foster's post "On Being an Angry Mom" and again was reminded that we all mess up sometimes. Plus it helped to know I wasn't alone -- so many of us can relate, and so many of us felt we could have written the same exact words.
I wish I didn't get grumpy with Lucy when she plops herself into my lap, with the grace of a camel, and slams the laptop lid shut just as I'm about to write something utterly brilliant and necessary. I wish I could see it for what it is -- her message to me that she needs me. That I need to pay attention. I wish I could calmly explain to her in the moment what I needed to do to finish, and when I'd be able to give her my focus. I wish I had more balance.
And gosh, do I know exactly how that feels. I say, "Hang on, Mommy's working," like a broken record, and while I try to just finish, my kids escalate and drive me crazy. It would be so much more helpful to me to stop for a few minutes and give them direct attention, and then return to my work, but that's often easier said than done. And sometimes I do snap at them, and then feel like a jerk.
Heck, on an especially stressful day, my daughter asks to nurse, and I get irritated with her, even with her touching me. She's only 21 months old -- it's not something I'm proud of, and I always feel terrible when I do it.
Foster has a suggestion ...
What I'd rather do -- what I'm going to try to do every day now -- is reign myself in, be in the moment, think about my reactions, what I'm saying to them with my body, my words, how often I smile, take a second to think before I talk, and give them the benefit of the doubt first. Because if David and I don't, who the hell is going to?
That's how I feel too. Being a mom means that sometimes you're going to suck. But that doesn't mean you should accept your suckiness and just give up -- it means you should constantly be evaluating your causes of stress, the reasons your kids act up (usually because they feel ignored), and try to do better ... and be honest with other moms too when you talk about your struggles. Letting them know that you don't always live up to your goals can help them feel like they're not alone.
Do you feel like an Angry Mom sometimes? How do you do better?
Image via CortneeB/Flickr