When Mama ain't happy...
I don't think anyone here will disagree with me when I say that parenting is an incredible joy. We love these little people so much and they do so many things that make us proud. But there is another side to that coin. A neighbor of mine once shared this wisdom about parenting: "They will make you feel all of your emotions stronger than you ever knew you could." Among those emotions? Anger.
It's a very visceral emotion, and it arises without much warning or forethought. And it's really, really difficult for me to process these emotions, especially in confrontation with my child. Things can go many ways but the end is never very pretty. And neither one of us feels good about it. I know this is difficult to talk about, but I also know I am not alone. Another mother wrote to us:
I feel like I am in kind of a dark place in terms of parenting. I have caught myself in behaviors where I am yelling, really yelling, at my child. This might include throwing things (coats/cereal bowls etc) this might be spurned on by me asking my child to clear the cereal bowl or to brush his teeth. And when it doesn't happen my hot point is right there. Although I have not hit my child I can imagine how parents do it. I don't think I would hit my child. But I am not ok with where I am finding myself in terms of my temper and lack of patience.
I have several stress points in my life that are not negotiable; I am raising my son alone and don't have lots of support. My son has recently been on/off medication that amps him up- and in turn really stresses me out with his behavior. So I need to find some solutions within those constraints. To me this is not a conversation about being single. I am looking to other moms who also find themselves short-fused, short-tempered, and parenting in a way that that they are not happy with.
What do you do- how do you manage the anger & stress and get to a better place with your kids?
I think that, for me, it was very important for me to step back and realize that I had these feelings and frustrations, not only with the situation but with myself. I wasn't happy with my own behavior... so I had to ask how I could change it.
Now, I'm not a single mother, but I am currently the single caregiver to my two kids (with much support from two grannies until daddy comes home). I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be without their support. Add to that some behavioral issues my 4.5 year old is having at school, and life is not getting any easier day to day. After some looking around and reading up, I have turned to the Love and Logic approach. Today is day 5 and I'm trying not to let myself relax back into my old ways (and this morning - it was really, really tough!). But reading the philosophies helped me realize that there was a power struggle going on, and that my son needed to have control over SOME things in his life, or he'd be constantly trying to control everything. That cycle had to stop. That's where Love and Logic came in for us.
Have any of you Mamas or Papas had some wild success breaking the power struggle? I, for one, felt very freed, and much happier with my child when we weren't angry at each other all the time. How is a mama to get past the anger and become a happy Mama again. What other techniques have worked besides just a parenting philosophy? Sleep, diet, exercise? I'd love to hear what other parents are doing to manage stress and anger.