Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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.