There are few things more heartbreaking for a mother than knowing you are the one who caused your child pain. Today, I lost my shit.
It has been building for weeks. There were lots of factors. My husband was away for a full week then came home with a stomach bug. We quarantined him for nearly a week, which added a different level of stress, but allowed the other 3 of us to escape the stomach bug.
So for two weeks I had one child who refused to leave the house, another who refused to stay home, and I was the sole parent to be with both. I handled it well and came up with solutions that worked for both children. I had forgotten how to recognize traveling toward my personal breaking point, though.
Then it was Thanksgiving, which was nice. Except that family visited and my kids did not get to do the things they love for most of the long weekend. They understood and were glad to see family, but each day their nerves were more shot from missing the things they love.
Anytime my focus is taken away from my kids for a length of time, we struggle.
My daughter is quiet and particular. If you do not listen closely you will miss what she says. With so much going on, I could not listen. It was just life- it happens. I missed what was going on.
My son is demonstrative and flexible. We have made a priority of making sure his needs and wants are met too. It is easy for them to be lost in his flexibility. We were focused on other things and my son’s needs and wants were forgotten.
The last few weeks have been hard. So the last few days have seen yelling from both of my children, arguing between them (not common) and tempers, impatience, and seemingly impossible situations. I was exhausted and I lost my bearings. Instead of helping I was feeding the negativity creeping in on (and eventually enveloping) us.
So this morning I lost it. I didn’t full out yell like I used to, but I scolded, belittled and shamed in a raised voice. God, it is hard to admit that here. It is harder for me to look back at myself in those quick moments.
Recovering from Monster Mom
See, the problem is, we have a history. I used to be monster mom. I used to yell. A lot. I used to lose sight of the faces of my children and think punishment and being unkind were the only solutions. So even though it has been a long time since I really lost my shit, a single look on my face quickly reminds them.
I have done so much repair and recovery with my children in the last few years. I have become a better, kinder, happier mother. We have found a peace I did not know existed (click here to read). And in a moment, I seemingly ruined it all.
Genuinely Supportive Responses
The responses could have consoled me. They could have been filled with “it’s okay. Kids are resilient.” or “They won’t even remember” or “don’t be so hard on yourself”. None of that is true and being fed that lie at the expense of my children would have made me crumble.
Instead, the responses were about modeling apologizing, self improvement, and self forgiveness. They were words holding me accountable for getting better. The comments were actual support, not fake smoke being blown up my ass. I could not have been more grateful.
The Ending is Being Written
This is not about perfection or unrealistic goals. This is about understanding that my children are people (click here to read) and I want to treat them as such. Today, I treated them like second class citizens. I lorded over them demonstrating my power and ultimate authority . Really, there will be a lot of recovery needed.
After reading the comments on our Facebook page I was able to think of things a little differently. Those same faces who were quickly reminded of the old monster mom could also be reminded that I have kept my word before and will do the work necessary to get better at being their mom.