Nov 9, 2010

I'm No Angel

I just did something I'm very ashamed of. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a very small threshold for tolerating crap from people, but when it comes to those I love, I'm always the understanding and accommodating one. But today, just now, I lost my temper with my soon to be 2 year-old.

This last week he's been on a tear. He is hitting, throwing and not doing a single thing I ask him to do. I know, I know, it's the "terrible twos" but the aggressive behavior is not something I will ever tolerate from anyone. I've tried getting down to his level and talking calmly; I've tried time-outs; I've tried distractions. Add to it this fucking day light savings (a.k.a. 5:30am wake-up calls) and we've got a recipe for disaster.

So today, when K woke up in a particularly bad mood, I could sense that this was going to be a bad day. We played games on the iPad, we watched his favorite show, then we came down to play and draw. After fighting and putting him in time-out at least 5 times before noon, I was ecstatic to see it was finally lunch time. I served him his favorite lunch and K proceeded to throw food around (for our already fat dog to clean the floors). When I asked him to stop he threw his place out. And that's when I lost it.

I grabbed his face, told him "No!," took him out of the highchair and put him in his crib. Just like that. No milk, no book, no diaper change, no snuggles. Just straight up shoved him in his room.

There are a few things going through my head about my behavior. For one, what makes me most ashamed is to have lost my temper with a toddler. A child. MY CHILD. I went through hell to conceive him, how could I just so dismissively banish him to his room? He's a child who is still figuring out the world and testing boundaries. Why couldn't I just take a deep breath like I usually do and calmly remove him from this situation?

Second, when I think of how my own parents and friends view me as this devoted and perfect mother, I am ashamed not to have lived up to the image that everyone seems to have of me. And perhaps, it's more that I'm disappointed in myself for not living up to that image.

Third and most unnerving is the thought that I might turn into my mother. While I love my mother and have a great relationship with her today, I often look back on my childhood and remember her smacking me across the face on countless occasions for things that are/were unjustified (like not understanding a math problem while doing homework together). I don't want to become her. I don't ever want K to look back on his childhood and remember a mom who could be qualified as abusive.

I know I shouldn't just label myself for a first (and hopefully only) loss of temper incident, but the shame and sadness that I feel for what just happened is eating at me.

He's now fast asleep in his crib. I want to go in there, hug him and kiss him. Tell him I love him and that I'm sorry... but maybe the best thing is to sit with this guilt until he wakes up and never forget how shitty one can feel when you're not able to remain the adult in the relationship.


MomisQueen said...

Forgive yourself right now. You didn't beat him, you didn't abuse him, you lost your temper. It happens. You didn't slap him on the face and I doubt you ever will, b/c you know how it feels. Honey, we all lose it at least once. The important thing is to breathe and try and figure out how to avoid losing it again. Hopefully, he will also learn that mommy has limits, he can't act out like that w/o consequences. I hope you feel better.

JJ said...

Dude, been there--just yesterday, actually. I felt so guilty and just all around crappy.
We are human--we loose our patience and things get hectic. But we are GOOD mom's--the fact that you are typing this now and want to go give him lots of love is just proof how great of a Momma you are :)
Hope you get some cuddle time tonight.

thewritemama said...

That stage is the worst. My son was into pinching and my arms were so scratched up and bruised, I was starting to feel like an accident victim. My approach is "the naughty chair." When he pulls hair or pinches or hits, things he has been told he is not supposed to do, we visit the naughty chair to talk about what he did wrong, and to make sure he understands, I get him to say "no pinch" and say sorry. I find this routine helps keep me calm me when my emotions are starting to get the best of me because I know we're just going to talk about a problem and then we kiss and move on. THe good news - this phase does't last for long!

Nico said...

I could have written this post yesterday. And I don't think I handled it as well as you did, let's put it that way. I have a really hard time remember that the outright defiance is a phase, a developmental milestone. I'm liking the 'naughty chair' idea as a better strategy.

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