Monday, January 25, 2010

Lingering Regrets

Sundry wrote a post today about having a bad parenting day. I think my comment sums up what I wanted to post about today quite nicely:

God, I was just telling the ladies at playgroup this morning that I had one of those days last Friday, and it left such an ugly SOUR taste of bitter regret in my mouth that I felt a tiny bit down about it all day on Saturday, which was the girls’ birthday.

I yelled at them on Friday so loudly and furiously and out-of-control-ly that I hurt my vocal cords. And then I ordered all three of them to their rooms, where I then proceeded to swat each of their butts once as they walked by me, cowering.

I loose my temper a lot, but this was soooo… extreme, considering the offense(s). They were just mildly bickering, a soft static undertone to the entire day (school canceled due to storm), and I suddenly couldn’t stand it for one more second.

It still makes me sad. And, though every other aspect of being med-free has been wonderful, it makes me wonder if I *DO* need that stupid effing zoloft after all.


Swistle said...

Yes, ug, I know those times. I find it helpful to talk to the kids about it afterward, when I'm calm and remorseful. The talks usually include their own crimes, but then I say, "But I shouldn't have handled it by _____." Then I usually tell them that my temper has always been a problem for me, and it's something I'm always working on and sometimes I mess up, and that I'm sorry and that I wish I'd instead handled it by _____.

What I've found is that first of all, these end up being highly bonding conversations. And secondly, they serve me later: I can say, "Remember how I told you I struggle with my temper? I'm struggling it with it now, and I wonder if you can help me by _____." Or if THEY'RE having a problem with something, I can say that everyone has SOMETHING they struggle with---remember how I struggle with my temper? You'll have to work on dealing with ___, just like I have to work on dealing with my temper."

Marie Green said...

Oh Swistle, that approach, that wording, just EVERYTHING is exactly what I'm going to do. Thank you so much!

d e v a n said...

*sigh* I have times like that too. I could, in fact, see myself doing EXACTLY what you described and feeling guilty about it. Sometimes it's just hard being a parent. I'm going to take Swistle's advice too.

Jess said...

I LOVE Swistle's suggestion. My mom screamed a lot when my sister and I were kids, and while in retrospect I can understand why she was so stressed, I do have very bad memories of it. But I think a big part of the bad memories is related to the fact that she never apologized, and we were always made to feel, even well after the fact when everyone had calmed down, that it was our fault that she had screamed. Even one conversation like the one Swistle suggests would have made a HUGE difference for me.

KS said...

I actually learned what Swistle is talking about from my husband--he has those conversations with the kids quite often. I think it is brilliant advice.

Hang in there, mama.

east coast anne said...

Ugh, I know, oh I so know. I learned the approach Swistle is talking about from that Becoming the Parent you want to Be book that you suggested to me. It's been a lifesaver -- another thing I throw in is a sort of warning when I feel the ire rising like -- "I've asked you to do XX three times now and I see you're still doing it. I'm getting angry because you're not doing XX and I'm afraid I might lose my temper soon and start yelling, we both don't like it when I yell, so please cooperate now." That strangely works sometimes. The other thing I do is warn in terms of how I'm feeling, "Momma is really tired right now because I didn't sleep well last night (STORY OF MY LIFE), remember how I can lose my temper when I'm tired, please give me a little extra help me today, just like I give you extra help you when you're tired (ie: brushing your teeth for you, helping clean up your room at bedtime, etc.)." An the other thing that's helped is making it clear that her ACTIONS, not HER are what's making me lose my temper, that separation seems to help. One last thing I learned from the positive discipline books is ACT, don't TALK, ie: sometimes we just talk too freaking much and they just hear blah, blah, blah. Taking the kid gently by the hand (hard sometimes for sure!) and guiding them toward what they need to do or away from what they should not be doing while saying nothing is sometimes really helpful. I find that often when the girl is having a hard time breaking away from an activity herself, this is actually useful and she doesn't fight me -- almost like she needs someone to step in and redirect her. Sorry for blathering on, and I hope I don't sound all know-it-all, because we know I CERTAINLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING MOST DAYS, but this is something I've had those gut-wrenching struggles about and done a lot of reading on, so wanted to share some things that have given me some peace in hopes you will find it too. Love you bunches. -- EC Anne