And then the wave comes crashing down…

Last night was not one of my finer parenting moments.

It was hitting-rock-bottom awful, in fact. I think it has been brewing for the past few months. I can see myself losing patience much more easily not only with the girls, but just in general. I feel frustrated most of the time and just a little bit out of control. And I have noticed the effect it is having on Em, especially. Her “stern” rants when she is frustrated, her attitude-riddled comments with me, when she yells at her sister – all of it I know she is picking up from me.

So last night.

Have you ever had an experience where you feel like you are outside of your body just watching an event unfold? I felt like that last night. And I was horrified of the monster mom I saw – impatient, yelling, acting like…well, like a 3-year old. After I managed to get the girls into bed, I just went downstairs and wept. I was so upset at myself for handling everything so wrong.

I remembered all my promised whispers when they were born – I can’t imagine ever doing anything to hurt you. I will always love you. I will always take care of you. I will never yell at you or make you feel that you are inconsequential.

I would love to blame being tired, stressed-out, home with the girls by ourselves again, but I can’t. I just completely lost control and failed especially on my last “promise.”. Clearly the book I’m reading (Buddhism for Mothers: A calm approach to caring for yourself and your children) is not working, or I haven’t yet reached the part where I can turn the theories into practicalities.

Thankfully, children wake up each morning only remembering the things they want to remember. They forget and forgive so easily. And since I am the only mother they have ever known, they don’t have a lot to compare it to. This morning they bounded down the stairs, laughing, their little bodies full of energy, ready for a brand-new day.

And, I greeted them with the same enthusiasm and showered love on them as I proposed a little “pact” between all of us. I apologized for being an ogre last night and told them how very sad it made me to be so mean. I also vowed to them that I was going to try much harder to not raise my voice, and then we came up sit a funny signal. Whenever anyone in our house starts to yell, or get angry we are going to give them the “signal.” And give that person an opportunity to settle down and compose themselves.

Em, of course, is a huge cheerleader in the whole experiment. After we had our talk this morning, I had asked Em to do something and she did her little aggravated, “ughhhhh.” I looked at her and said, “Emma Grace…” and she broke out in this huge grin and said, “Hey, Mom! You were supposed to give me our signal!”

The rest of the morning and beginning of the afternoon was beautiful. Like last night never happened. I had obedient, calm girls sharing and being very loving to one another – and me. I felt mindful and focused on them, and found our morning to be so much more enjoyable. I felt like the calm Mommy I want to be. The calm Mommy these two sweet girls deserve.


I’ll keep you updated on our journey. I feel like we hit the crest of a very big wave last night. Hopefully we are sailing into some calmer seas ahead.


10 Responses to “And then the wave comes crashing down…”

  1. 1 shell_newman March 13, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    We’ve all been there Bean, hang in there. Your girlies have an awesome momma. Be thankful that you were able to say you were sorry, admit you were wrong and start over on a clean “signal”. You are teaching the girls very good things that someday they’ll teach their own girls. We love you, keep your head up-

  2. 2 Colleen March 13, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I don’t believe for a single second that every mom doesn’t have a few of those days. You are a better mom for having realized what you felt was wrong… and then admitted it. It is so much worse to have what you consider a bad mommy moment and then act like it didn’t happen.

    That photo… oh my word are your girls just gorgeous.

  3. 3 thelandofka March 13, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Big (((hugs))). I have so been there. Some days you just wonder who took your patience and flushed it down the toilet. At least those days are good for one thing…they make us remember who we want to be and it kind of wakes us up and makes us try harder.

  4. 4 Kim March 13, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Man do I wish we still lived close to each other. I’d be there in a heart beat. It’s true what all of your commenters have said… we’ve all been there. Your not a monster, just human… we all trip up from time to time. The good mommies apologize for their behavior and come up with a plan to prevent it from happening again. You’re the best, sister! Love ya!

  5. 5 Erinne March 13, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    I am glad to hear I’m not the only one. Not that it’s funny but – kinda – cause yesterday I was very on edge and lost my patience as well and was just totally not myself – I had to take a few moments and sneak off into the garage and just take some deap breathes and try again. My 5 year old son was really testing the waters and I was at the end of my rope.

    Today though we had a great day and he came up to me and apologized for being sneaky and not listening and gave me a big hug and told me he was glad I was his Mommy cause I’m the best Mommy in the world. So it’s those moments right there that you realize you are human and you can’t always be “on” and in control.

    Hugs to you and thanks for sharing.

  6. 6 MelodyA. March 14, 2008 at 3:27 am

    Yes, we have all been there and all have had moments that we are not proud of. We pick ourselves up and redeem ourselves knowing that we are doing the best job we can. And we see it in our children. Hang in there.

  7. 7 msscatter March 14, 2008 at 4:09 am

    I don’t ever want you to think for one second that you are a bad mommy. You are a wonderful mommy! All moms have those moments but you are entitled to it. No harm was done.

  8. 8 ksmcnulty March 14, 2008 at 4:15 am

    Hang in there, Care. The days where you know there’s no “break” coming at the end of the day i.e. daddy out of town are tough and long and tests our mommy skills to the utmost. I’ve seen you in action and you are an awesome mommy and your girls wouldn’t trade you for another. And yes, isn’t it amazing how forgiving kids are—kudos to you for acknowledging your wrong to the girls and moving forward from there.

  9. 9 Christina March 15, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Hugs! Ahhh yes, I have been there. We have all been there. We want to be the perfect mother to our children all the time, but we’re human. We slip up. Our children aren’t perfect children all the time either! The fact that your recognized the problem, apologized to them and made a fresh start makes is evidence that you are a GREAT mama. Your girls are lucky to have you.

  1. 1 Some Days… « Barely Controlled Chaos Trackback on March 21, 2008 at 1:31 am

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