It’s a dirty little secret that as a mom, you will sometimes get angry with your kids. Angry at what they are doing. You will sometimes feel like you are going to explode.
Just a note before anyone gets too worked up about this topic: I’m talking about normal, able to be controlled anger, not anger that leads to child abuse. So, if you are planning on lecturing me about that, you can give your fingers a rest and skip it.
Who wants to admit to anger? We want to say that we’re in control and never lose our cool. That we handle everything with grace and never have any moments when we feel like we’re going to lose our minds over the day-to-day goings-ons in our households.
Um, I wish that described how I handled everything.
Another note here: the following scene does describe what happened in my house this weekend. It’s not normal behavior for my boys. If it were, I would have run away from home by now.
On Sunday morning, I heard the pitter patter of little feet upstairs in our main living area, which is directly above my bedroom. Looking at my clock and seeing that it was only 6am, I decided not to head right upstairs.
I’d left the tv tuned to the Disney Channel and figured the boys could entertain themselves for a little while. Cub was still sleeping, so I wasn’t all that concerned.
About a half hour later, I headed upstairs because I started to hear loud crashes- which turned out to be just my boys running around.
But, oh. The mess.
The horrible, awful mess.
Both boys had their pj shirts off and were COVERED in paint and glitter.
Paint that was on the highest shelf of one of the kitchen cabinets.
That the only way that it could have been reached was by Monkey pushing a chair over to the counter, and climbing up on the counter, standing on his tiptoes, and pulling it down.
They even painted each other’s backs.
And then, sat on the couch.
The dining room table was covered, too.
They’d tried to get out juice, too.
Broke the childproof lock on the fridge AGAIN and got out the juice.
Isn’t it lucky that the store was having a sale on my favorite blueberry-blackberry juice?(seriously, though buy 2, get 3 free)
The floor was a purple, sticky mess.
They’d also eaten their way through an entire box of cereal bars.
They turned the dishwasher on.
They tried to be helpful and clean themselves up in the bathroom- which resulted in paint on the walls of the bathroom and the throw rugs in there.
Though the paint is washable, the dishwasher wasn’t broken, and the floor could be washed, I still lost it.
Yes, they are 5 and 3.5 and probably shouldn’t be allowed to be upstairs by themselves for that long- I should have gotten up out of bed- it didn’t keep me from turning into flipped-out mommy.
I don’t want to be that mom.
The one who SCREAMS at her children and then gives them a sound spanking on their tushes.
For something that was awful and shouldn’t have happened, but was still a lot her fault.
After scrubbing the paint off them in the tub, I sent them back to their room while I cleaned up the mess.
And cleaned through teary eyes.
Part of me was crying at the mess. But, it was mostly because I don’t want to be a screamer.
It makes me feel like a bad mom all around.
For being a mom whose kids would do something like that in the first place- I must suck as a mom if they’d do that. After all, my friend J’s kids would never do something like that.
For screaming at them. I know it scared them. Everyone else handles these situations calmly, don’t they?
And yet, when I went down to get them, I found that Monkey had left the room, gone to the laundry room, gotten the detergent, and poured it all over his carpet so that there was a huge blue puddle on the floor.
What did I do? Did I learn my lesson and handle it in any better?
No, not at all.
There’s even a book out about this by Julie Ann Barnhill called “She’s Going to Blow: Real Help for Moms Dealing With Anger.”
The best part about this book was realizing that I’m not the only mom who occasionally feels like there is steam coming out of her ears.
A quick search of Amazon this morning showed me that this is hardly the only book dealing with anger and parenting.
We were discussing this topic in my small group at MOPS a couple years ago and one of the moms in my discussion group(who had FOUR children UNDER 3 at the time) sighed and said, “You know, I get why you hear about shaken baby syndrome. Why a young mom would get that angry and not be able to handle it and just want the baby to shut up for one minute.”
There was a stunned silence at our table, as we all processed what she meant.
None of us thought that she was implying that it was okay to shake a baby(or hit a toddler or whatever else you’d do in a moment of anger), but that it’s okay to acknowledge that you do occasionally feel that anger and frustration.
It’s all about how you choose to deal with that anger.
I’d love to tell you that I’ve mastered my anger, but from the story about my day, you know I don’t have any answers.
I DO love my boys and love being a mom. I think that anger is a normal emotion, though not a pretty one to admit to.
What about you? Do you ever feel like you’re going to blow? How do you handle it?