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What goes around…

So, I mentioned several weeks ago that The Child was having trouble going down for a nap and how it made me a bad mom. The more cranky I got, the more tense she got, the worse the situation got, on and on into a miserable feedback loop.

Well, now I’m getting it back. Right in the a**.

The Child has started having full-fledged temper tantrums. Part of it, I know, is just being 2. Part of it is the insanity for the past month — starting school, weekends spent doing everything but resting, naps schedule all awry. I know there are some kids who could deal with that with aplomb, but The Child needs her structure.

But she’s acting out in ways that are very similar to the ways that I lost my temper during the nap fights. Same words, tones, gestures, even my (admittedly weird) habit of smacking myself on the head when I’m really frustrated. (It’s sort of an extreme version of the Jersey “DUH!” head slap. I’m from Jersey, you see….)

Even when I lost my temper, I would calm down in less than a minute and apologize and say, “Mommy is sorry. I should not have shouted/snapped/etc. I got frustrated and lost her temper and that’s not the right way to deal with being frustrated. I’m sorry.” I said that so often it was like a fucking mantra.

But, naturally, that’s not what stuck. What stuck was mommy losing her shit and shouting and gesturing so abruptly that she accidentally slammed her into the wall and nearly knocked herself silly.

So lately I’ve been trying to keep her out of any situation where she would be tired/cranky/hungry/overwhelmed enough to have a temper tantrum. Since her equinamity is based directly on how strictly her schedule is kept, it’s been a lot of work. But I want her to have a few weeks of seeing me practice deep Zen breathing when I get frustrated, instead of losing my shit. Then, when she’s more calm and has a better example, I can push things a little and she may react more appropriately.

Of course, that is good in theory. But in practice, i have to be calm even when I’m frustrated and I have to tell her, “Wow. I’m frustrated. I’m going to take some deep breaths to stay calm.” Which is a very difficult thing to do when you’re ready to blow your top.

Ah. Joyous parenting.

Categories: motherhood
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