Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Explosive Emotions

Monday night Baker and I finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets so I promised him the movie last night. We had a pretty calm day. Baker cleaned the downstairs bathroom after a small amount of whining; played nicely with his brothers and friends; and set the table for dinner with no complaints (his friend was over, so that may have helped). He was a bit fussy about dinner, but overall good. So, our friends left and we proceeded to watch the movie. At 8:30 pm when it was over, I told both him and Jamie to head upstairs. Instead of listening to me, they started fighting with each other. Then Baker stated he was hungry (knowing full-well our rule of if you don't eat dinner, you don't get snacks later).  Food became an issue. I finally got him upstairs, while Glen carried Jamie to his room. As Jamie screamed in the next room, Baker announced he was thirsty. I got his water and he proceeded to look directly at me, then tipped the glass out onto the floor. I was already a bit annoyed and stressed and this action just sent me over the edge. Mommy Dearest appeared and there was a good hour of yelling, fighting, and crying all around. Amazingly, Emery managed to stay asleep through it all.

I never wanted to be one of those moms who explode at their kids. When Baker was little, before Jamie came along, I could count on one hand the number of times I even raised my voice. Now, with three kids, I feel so frazzled sometimes that it seems like the day is spent yelling. There are lessons I want them to learn and yelling to get your way isn't one of them. Yet, they are learning that one very well. When I make requests calmly, I'm often ignored. When I raise my voice, they respond. Even Emery yells at his brothers or the dog. So, how to break this viscous cycle? I'm not sure.

I start every day thinking I'm going to try not to raise my voice. Most days I do okay until about 4 pm (4 o'clock mom voice, as my friend calls it). I get to a point where the frustration of repeating myself multiple times for every little task becomes unbearable. I get to the point where I feel my children do not appreciate anything that I do for them. I get to a point where I am so angry I can't keep my calm. Maybe I should take up meditation? Therapy? A vacation? Valium?

Part of the problem is feeling pulled in so many directions. The kids require so much care and upkeep. So does the dog. And the house. I have a bunch of projects around the house. Bills need to get sorted and paid. Laundry and dishes pile up at an amazing rate. I'm involved with church.  I like to spend time with my husband. And my friends. And myself. I have books to read, pages to scrapbook, and a blog to write. I know there must be a way to better prioritize things, but it can be so overwhelming sometimes. And that leaves little time to sort through my emotions or examine what I'm doing as a parent.

I was very upset with myself last night. I walked away from Baker and asked Glen to deal with him. I calmed down and went back upstairs. I laid on the bed with Baker, snuggled up, talking things over. I apologized for how I behaved. At least that is one positive he'll take away. He'll know to say sorry when he's done wrong, because his mom can apologize to him when she is wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Jenn,consider this. You and I had days like that when you were a child. Ask yourself if when you remember your childhood, what is the first memory you have? Did the screaming mom completely negate the one who read to you every night, took you to put a penny on the RR track so the 6 O'clock train could flatten it to a copper disc, or walked you to ballet class, pushing a toddler and an infant in the carriage, or hiking to the Three Bears for ice cream on a sweltering summer night. If the answer is yes,then we need to talk. But if the answer is no, you should be reassured that your children will have selective memories,as well.