Remember that time I went thirty two glorious days without yelling? Then I lost it and I haven’t gotten back. I’ve gone a day here and there but I can’t seem to get through without losing my cool.
This bothers me a lot. I invest so much time thinking about why it is I can’t keep it together. All the advice that says to breathe and walk away or give yourself a time out? None of it works. It makes it harder. I feel anger bubbling in my chest.
So why do I feel this way? This is what I’m focusing thoughts on. I’ve come up with some ideas though I can’t be sure just yet if it’s the cause of my outbursts.
- Getting interrupted: What’s ironic is as soon as I was typing out this point my little darling child who will only sleep in my arms awoke with a shriek. The interruptions really get me down. It always seems that they are content until I try to take advantage and start doing something. I set a timer for five minutes the other day. I told them I couldn’t talk until the timer went off. They came in to talk to me three times. The third time I shut the timer off. It was pointless.
- Whining: I’ve recently heard that this is a common theme with children who are becoming more mature. I hate to use the word “whine” in any form, especially with young kids. Usually it is something they are lacking. But boy, the constant high pitched voice along with borderline sobbing is more than I can take.
- “I’m hungry!”: Okay. I made you lunch ten seconds ago. You didn’t eat. In fact, it’s still on the table. You don’t want it? I thought you were hungry? Not eating makes them another level of uncooperative and angry.
- YouTube Videos: Anything they watch on YouTube drives me up a wall. It makes my ears bleed. My heart break. My soul shrink.
- Couch cushions: Do we need to take all of the cushions off the couch and push the couches away from the way just to fight over who is using what pillow? Do we need to do this?
- Water: My kids love playing with water. Everywhere. Water. Every. Where. Buckets full, dolls being washed in the sink, windows being washed with a wet broom, spray bottles being sprayed at one another and all over the walls. Enough said.
- Dinner Time: By the time I need to cook food for dinner I’m the pressure cooker. This time of day SUCKS. Someone gets a black eye, or dumps a bag of cereal all of the floor, or falls, or falls again, or someone took something away, or someone got hit with something else. This all in the time it takes me to take one pan out of a cabinet. I’m tired from simply thinking about dinner. This is where I do most of my screaming.
- Miscellaneous: Other things set me off too. The sudden inability to put on socks or a sweatshirt. The need for a water bottle that is two feet away and total refusal to get it him/herself. Forgetting where the garbage is. Playdough. Not wanting to bathe. Not wanting to wear clothes. Not wanting to change clothes. Not leaving the dog food or water alone. Throwing my spices all over the floor. Running around the house with toilet paper trailing behind. Dogs and panting and mud. Cats and meowing. Trying to play in the toilet. Climbing on the pellet stove. Climbing in the kitchen drawer and standing on the edge to see what dangerous things are within reach.
So. This list is not all inclusive as most of you parents know. I didn’t even touch on the bedtime routine or the hell that is getting kids dressed to go outside in the winter. Or the grocery store.
But all of these things are usually happening because of something else. The whining and fighting. The lack of cooperation. The insanity.
So what is the underlying issue here? Is it really them making me miserable or are they the miserable ones from not having needs met?
I’m going with the latter. They certainly don’t think, “I’m going to be unbearable today because I want to make my mother miserable.”
No. They don’t. They are communicating. They are small humans with an impressive vocabulary but without the know how when articulating feelings come into play.
I notice that the more available I am, the smoother the days go. I’m finding when I spend more time sitting on the floor, there is less need to be up and walking around. There are less messes, less chaos, and less fighting.
When I sit and read or sing, talk, play, and LISTEN, the days are happier. The whining is lessened. The days feel more fulfilling.
I’m thinking about this a lot tonight because I had a moment with Waverly earlier I’m not proud of. She was getting under my skin. She is so lost right now. And emotional. I know I need to be present more. But her whining. It doesn’t allow me to get close. And it dawned on me that she has been watching all of these videos of people playing with dolls. In the videos the dolls are always being shamed. The dolls are always whining. The videos are torture. The unschooler in me says let her watch them, she’s been role playing a lot and they are good for encouraging imagination. But the mom in me is done with them. They aren’t good for her well being.
I’m thinking about it a lot tonight because I got frustrated with Gannon while I was trying to do something. He came upstairs while I was working on the computer and would not stop talking. I was trying to concentrate but couldn’t and I got mad. He was probably feeling the need for connection and wasn’t sure how to find it. I pushed him away.
I’m thinking about it a lot tonight because I have gotten angry with Egan. He is a baby (15 months isn’t a baby anymore but let me pretend). He NEEDS me. His need for attention is making me the most crazy because I feel like it is constant. It’s tiresome. It’s wearing me thin.
I’m thinking about it a lot tonight because they aren’t the problem. I am. I need to take care of myself to take care of them. The fact that I’m not doing that well is not their fault. I need more time to do things that are outside the scope of being a mom. It’s not their fault I don’t have that. I need better sleep. I stay up later than I should. Also not their fault.
I need to make some changes. I need to sit on the floor more, reading, laughing, singing, engaging, LISTENING. I need to SLOW DOWN. I am always rushing to get no where. I need to be present and live minute by minute. Remember to breathe and eat and drink some water. I don’t have to react. I don’t have to be angry. But I do have to be better. I have to do better. I need them to trust me, to know they can come to me, to know that when they are having a hard time I will be there.
Change is essential to growth. I’m ready to grow.