I’ll admit it. My kids periodically push me to the point of yelling. I don’t mean to reach the point of anger, but I occasionally lose my cool.
These aren’t my proudest parenting moments. I do my absolute best to calmly explain why their undesirable behavior is wrong and discipline them accordingly, but toddlers aren’t exactly the most reasonable people on Earth.
A few examples come to mind showing their general lack of reasonableness:
- Dumping approximately 4,000 pieces of Legos on the floor 2 minutes before company is supposed to arrive
- Failure to put on shoes after I’ve asked 15 times and we are already running late
- Pushing in public because they are pretending to play karate
- Asking for candy and the iPad for the 52nd time of the day
- Refusing to nap even though they are clearly exhausted
- Throwing an entire bowl of yogurt in my face after asking for it only a mere 2 minutes prior
- Taking off shoes in the car after leaving the park, promptly dumping about 3 pounds of playground sand all over my freshly vacuumed car
- Screaming at the top of their lungs making the world’s most annoying screeching noise
I could go on and on.
I realize individually these things aren’t a big deal. In fact, from an outsider perspective, they are actually pretty funny. But most parents can understand how patience dwindles after a few of these scenarios happen before 9 am. Taking away toys, time outs, loss of privileges, etc., are all effective to some extent, but I’ll admit, my kids do tend to straighten up when they can tell I’m really mad.
I was at lunch with a friend a few months ago and we were discussing our equally difficult mornings with our kids. She mentioned that lately, she’d been an angry mom. I’d never heard the term “angry mom” before, but it really made me think.
How often do my kids push me into angry mom territory?
I don’t want to be an angry mom. I want to teach them right from wrong and to control their emotions. Calmly talking through disagreements and identifying reasonable solutions are things we work on everyday. I don’t want them to yell when they are mad or upset, so why would it be alright for me to act this way? How can I expect them to learn from me when I’m the one losing control of the situation?
I don’t have a magical solution or potion to cure Angry Mom-itis. Some days, awareness of my actions and noticing when I’m starting to lose patience is enough. Other days, a glass of wine (or more) at the end of the day helps relieve symptoms. But in reality, I’m human and I can’t say I don’t snap from time to time. I’m not perfect and my kids will undoubtedly continue to push my buttons (I truly fear the teen years). But since my lunch with my friend, I’ve started talking to my kids about my reactions as well. As they get older, I hope that these conversations will encourage them to talk about their feelings and they can begin to resolve disagreements on their own, whether it is with me, a friend or a teacher.
Parenting is tough. The toughest job I’ve ever had in my life. I still have plenty to learn, but there is one thing I know for sure. I don’t want my kids to look back at their childhood and see me as an angry mom.