This week I hit my parenting rock bottom.
There were tears from me, from my husband and from my 8 1/2 year old.
She had been hiding something for weeks that finally came out. When I asked her why she did not come to me at any point to talk honestly I received a virtual slap in the face that stung more than anything had ever before in my life.
“I’m afraid of you.”
I thought I had died because I couldn’t breathe.
With four words my world shattered and I broke down in tears.
I asked if she thought I would yell if she told me the truth and her red tinged eyes, with tears welling up in them again, held my gaze while she replied “yes” and closed her eyes. As she closed her eyes I reached for her. She cried. We clinged to each other and just held on for dear life.
I have had a post in my head for months that I wanted to write. It was going to be called “diary of a reformed yeller”, but it never got past the initial stages every time I tried to let go of my impatient, overreacting self. I never became truly reformed.
I apologized often.
I caught myself mid-reaction and took deep breaths.
I back-pedalled and changed my tune.
I thought I was doing better.
My girls know I love them, of that I am sure. But it is not enough.
I have said before that I never expect more of my children than I can deliver myself. In this area I was failing to live up to that. I would interrupt fights and remind them to use their words and try to stay calm. I myself struggle with staying calm.
They deserve a mother who has self control with her words and tone. A mother who does not stomp her feet like a 2 year old having a tantrum.
I thought that the love could erase the days when I raise my voice or slam something down on the counter in frustration.
I thought I had time to grow more.
I thought my kids were okay.
My 8 year old is sensitive and I know now how she has been taking on board every incident, every loud word, every deep breath I had to take to stop the flow in its tracks.
I look back and notice my 7 year old has started biting her lip when talking to me as she notices my irritation rising. Instead of changing my ways I tell her to stop doing that and the cycle continues.
I know we are all human and make mistakes and we can apologize and keep moving forward, BUT and it is a big BUT, that is not enough for my girls and my family any more. You cannot “sorry” away fear. You cannot simply start fresh the next day and try your “best” as it is not enough.
This week I am sick and therefore tired and crankier than usual – that is not enough of an excuse.
Last week I had terrible PMS which in my case is bad enough to be under medical care for – that is not enough of an excuse.
The week before I fell off the sugar free wagon even though sugar is one of my biggest emotional triggers – that is not enough of an excuse.
I am 40 years old and I am in charge of my actions and my choices. I am not willing to hurt my child ever again.
We talked and cried and hugged and my husband sat there one arm around each of us, just acting as a support – the bridge to hold us together a little longer.
I told her she is my reason for living and that I love her and her sister more than life itself.
I told her that nothing means more to me right now than stopping the yelling completely. It is not okay even once in a while and I need to stop.
I gave her permission to interrupt me any time I start to raise my voice, if she wants, to remind me to take a time out if needed.
I know my triggers and will be focused on this with all my energy and efforts. I would not accept this from them or my husband, but have expected them to put up with it for too long. Not another day. This is not the life I envision nor the parent I want to be. The answer cannot be found in any book or parenting forum. Sometimes it just has to come from within – to find that self control and change for someone else because they deserve the very best in life.
Day one is almost over and went well. I am hopeful that “it is never too late” will turn out to be true.
Find your simple,