I kicked my anger demon out of the house…

I kicked my anger demon out of the house…

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

Not-So-Angry-Mama

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Dear Briana,

Dear Briana,

Dear Briana,

You are growing so quickly, sometimes when I look away and look back at you, I swear you’ve grown an inch. It’s amazing to see you blossom from a beautiful baby into a beautiful child. Never forget that you are beautiful.

The other day, you saw Daddy tying my shoes because I am getting more and more pregnant and every day, and it is getting hard for me to tie my own shoes. You thought I might be scared, because Daddy tying my shoes was new and different, something you hadn’t seen before. So you ran over and said “Mommy, hold my hand!” And then you held my hand and patted it and said “It’s okay, Mommy. It’s okay. I’m here. I got you.” And every time you see Daddy tying my shoes, you come and hold my hand, and you tell me that it’s okay. And it is. Because you’re there. Never stop caring about people, baby girl.

You love to sing, and to have others sing to you. Your favorite song right now is “Hakuna Matata” from the Lion King. You sing it softly to yourself in the car, so softly that I can barely hear you. Unless Uncle AJ is in the car singing with you in the backseat. Then you sing loudly, and I can hear your beautiful voice. Never lose that love of music, and always sing loud and proud.

You love to talk about your baby sister. She’s not here yet, but you talk about her all the time, and about being a sister. I hope that your love for your sister grows a hundred times stronger once she’s born, and that you have the kind of bond with her that I have seen between other sisters. Never stop loving your sister. I know she’ll love you, too.

You are learning so many words, so quickly. And you’re learning how to use those words to communicate to others more effectively. (Mommy is throwing big words at you right now. All that means is that you are talking so people can understand what you need and what you want to do!) Right now, you like practicing how to say hello and ask people how they are doing. And you love it when people ask you the same question so that you can say “I’m fine.” You love telling us what you are doing (“I’m playing with my blocks.” Or “I’m reading my book.”) You love to learn the new words. You get so excited and say them as often as you can. Speaking of excited, you love jumping up and down and shouting “I’m so excited!” Never lose that excitement for learning new things, little love.

You love to look at books and be read to. Don’t EVER lose your love of reading.

You love to color and scribble and draw, and you love to watch Daddy draw, and ask me to draw pictures for you. You are learning how to draw hearts with me right now. Don’t ever lose your appreciation for creativity and art.

In short, Bri Bee, hold onto all the good parts of you. Remember the pure essence of you. Adding to it is okay, as you grow older and gain new interests and skills. But don’t forget the simple things that bring you pleasure. Because too many people, mommy included, do that. And then they are sad. I want you to be happy.

I love you forever and always,

Mommy