A few weeks ago (a couple weeks ago?), I wrote a blog about how I felt like anger was a huge problem for me as a parent. I wrote about how I pretty frequently lost control and screamed at my baby girl, and then felt awful about it. I talked about how parenting with PTSD can make things hard sometimes, and how I was making an effort to step back and take deep breaths and parent differently.
And I just wanted to share, I feel like I’ve really gotten a good system going. I’ve had to walk away from her a few times, I’m not going to lie, and I won’t say I haven’t yelled, because I have a few times. But I haven’t screamed rage in her face. And she isn’t afraid of me. If I get upset, she doesn’t get scared. She feels safer, I can see it in her face, and feel it in her hugs. She’s grown ten times more affectionate with me in the last few weeks, and she’s listening a little bit better when I switch to my “mommy isn’t kidding” voice, which leads to less yelling and less loss of patience on my part.
She’s still two, so it’s not perfect. She doesn’t always listen, and there are days when I lose my patience. But taking deep breaths and counting to ten and making a conscious effort to keep my VOICE calm, even if I don’t feel particularly calm, has had a positive effect on my parenting. Pretending to be calm makes me feel calmer. It’s weird, but it works. Singing to myself (or to her) helps, too. She loves music, and singing has always calmed me (and her!), so it’s a doubly helpful thing.
I have also learned to just step away, or ask David to step in, if I truly feel like I can’t maintain control of myself. Because I’ve learned it’s not really about what she’s doing, it’s about what it’s triggering in me, something making me anxious and something making me overreact. *shrug* I don’t have to be supermom and have control of everything every second. And sometimes being supermom means handing control to someone else while I go hide behind a closed door for a while. Usually with a book. Or a pillow over my head so I can cry without anyone hearing me. Whichever.
I’m not sharing this to brag, I’m sharing this because I know I’m not the only mom out there who loses her temper and screams at her kids and feels guilty. So I’m sharing because if I can fix it, so can you. And if you can’t fix it by yourself like I have been trying to and been mostly successful at, then talk to someone who can help you. ‘Cause you’ll feel better, and your kids will feel better, and your spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend will probably feel better, too. Living with someone who loses their mind all the time cannot possibly be comfortable. (I know it stressed my hubby out to no end.)
Feeling Calmer Every Day