Friday, September 23, 2011

Bad Mother

Today I yelled at little R. She was fussy today, mostly because she is trying to learn how to crawl and can't quite get her legs to obey her appropriately. Then she tried to play with her mobile: the toys on it are detachable (affixed with Velcro), except for her favorite, a helicopter that jingles. She always tries to remove it, and when she doesn't succeed, complains. So she kept whining, and since I was in a bad mood for other reasons, I lost my temper.

I shouted "Stop whining! Nobody wants to hear you! Nobody likes you!" (What a ridiculous thing to say BTW: I sound like a 4-year-old.) and stomped out of the room. After a few minutes I returned and rescued her from her conundrum, and told her that I was sorry (although she 1. can't understand me and 2. didn't really seem upset due to number 1).

But it made me feel bad, because I am supposed to be the adult here, which would include keeping my cool, not insulting others (especially small, vulnerable children), and setting a good example.

Little R is too small to do anything seriously annoying, so I haven't been fully tested yet (in fact, this was probably the first time I have lost my temper with her). But it's only a matter of time. Unfortunately, I tend to have a quick temper, meaning I get grumpy and then do or say regrettable things. My mother is the same way, and while she was a great mother in many respects, I also clearly remember how frightening I found her anger. She was never abusive in any way, but just being around rage is scary as a child (let alone when it's directed at you or your behavior), especially because I didn't usually understand why she was angry. I don't want little R to have memories of living in dread of my wrath, or of feeling the insecurity that results when you aren't sure if your mother still likes you.

I need to remember to monitor my moods better. That way, if I feel myself getting overly frustrated and grumpy, I can temporarily remove myself from the situation or do something to regain my calm. (Give myself a timeout, in other words.) While I know being calm and even-tempered is going to be a challenge for me as a mother, I hope that I can succeed at this very crucial element of parenting.

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