Our household is in a transitional period. With an almost 5 year old and a 2 1/2 year old there are no more babies in my home. Instead I have not one, but two, children who are testing limits, pushing boundaries, and basically driving me to drink.
Being a parent has brought all of my ugliest qualities to the surface. Impatience. Anger. Control issues. Vulnerability. Sensitivity. I actually teared up the other day when he refused to give me a hug. There are days when I morph into my evil counterpart: Maniac Mommy. This woman screams, shrieks, threatens, bans iPad use, and takes away stories at bedtime. Then this woman shoulders a 100 lbs of guilt and feels like she's failing.
I know that's it's normal to be frustrated when you have said the same thing 6 thousand times and yet no one seems to hear you. I know that's its acceptable to raise your voice to make your point but some days it feels like all I've done all day is yell. I hate it. I hate the way it sounds. I hate the way it makes me feel. I hate what its teaching my children about handling conflict, controlling your emotions, and dealing with anger.
Bath time has become my own personal battlefield. I can set timers, warn that its coming for 20 minutes beforehand, bribe, cajole but night after night I'm chasing kids down and screaming for them to get into the bathroom and to please TAKE YOUR SOCKS OFF! By the time bath is over, my nerves are shot, my temper is raging, and I have zero tolerance for anything. Instead of being able to cuddle with my kids and enjoy some quiet moments before bed; I'm tense, angry, and frustrated.
Last week, after a particularly frustrating evening where I lost my temper and screamed like a banshee, I realized that something has to change. I have to change. I need to stop taking their disobedience and defiance personally. I need to take deep breaths and walk away. I need to practice what Daniel Tiger from PBS's "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" preaches: "when you feel so mad that you're gonna roar, take a deep breath, and count to 4."
This is what it has come to. I'm taking advice from an animated tiger. Whatever works people. Whatever works.