A few hours ago, I caught my 4-year-old son Pim with his Micro Scooter in the living room. Now, Micro Scooters are intended for use outdoors, at least that’s the rule in our house. So I told him to put the scooter back in the hallway and I made my way to the kitchen. A few minutes later, I heard baby Ava (who had just had two nasty shots (jabs) and was feeling miserable) screaming and crying, I looked up, and saw Pim with his scooter in his hand, he clearly had run into the baby. I was so angry, I dragged him to the corner and yelled at him.
Fact: he disobeyed the rule in the first place, didn’t listen to me in the second place, and unjustly hurt Ava in the third place. I had the right to become angry. I try not to raise my voice too much, but sometimes I lose my patience and yell. I don’t like it but it occasionally happens — usually when they’ve been nagging me for a while, trying to find out how far they can go with me.
I do believe (I hope) that I’m human, and that my kids need to learn that there are borders, and that it’s ok for them to experience that their mother (exceptionally of course) may lose her patience if they go too far. It’s not nice, however (for both of us).
I sent Pim to his room so I could cool down and after 10 minutes we spoke about what happened, why I had become so angry, made sure he understood what he did wrong — and we apologised to each other and hugged bigtime. Peace is back in the house. And I’m promising myself to work on being more even-tempered!
I am always amazed by mothers who seem to never lose their patience, never seem to explode, reason with their children as if they are grown-ups. So tell me, do you think I am a terrible mother for losing my patience, or is it normal? Do you ever lose your patience or do you have a trick up your sleeve I should know about?? Yoga, meditation, medication? I’m very interested to hear.
(photo from here)
I’m pretty sure I would have lost my patience under the same circumstances. The mothers who never seem to lose their patience? Yes, Iv’e seen those too and often wonder how they do it. Maybe the answer is that they do lose their patience, just not in front of you!
True! But how do they keep their calm in front of me?
sounds like a guilty mom. of course you’re normal and human. i’m interested to hear from others since i have just recently been losing it a lot lately. your blog. perfect timing! mine are 3 and 5! i’ve been home with them every since they were born….
3 might be the most difficult age, trying to see how far they can go with you… And at 5 they get an opinion which is cute but can also be really annoying! I hear you… !
Esther, your email came just on the right moment!!! Mine is 4 year-old too and she is just difficult lately… I don’t know why… Is it because of the school? (we are in Leiden)… What?… She is usually very sweet and gentle, stubborn but nice… but lately she is like a little monster, provoking, being mean, giving the “NO” to everything, screaming, crying for no reason, pushing my limits… Las sunday, after half an hour of screaming in the bath tube, splashing water to me, and refusing to listen, while I was patient and nice (I swear!), I couldn’t take it longer so I dragged her to me and shouted “SHUT UP NOW!”… Of course she kept screaming because I scared her… and I started crying… I was totally worn out… She realized she went to far and try to make peace but at that point I didn’t want to pretend like nothing happen, so I was cold to her… I cried a lot that night because 1) I can’t understand why she is behaving like this, and it is driving me crazy; 2) I am unable to bring her out of that nasty loop that traps her in; 3) What the hell am I doing wrong?…
I agree with you, and I believe it: we are moms but human after all, and we also have a limit. Being a mom is the most difficult thing ever… My husband cannot imagine how frustrating and painful are these moments; he is not there to experience them… I love my girl to death and I want her to be happy above all… but not over my mental sanity, please!
I don’t believe in those moms who pretend that everything is prefect and wonderful… I can’t deal with them, with their look (I am a failure)… I want real moms, with whom I can share the joys of motherhood, but also the bad-dark days…
Thanks for posting this, for being honest, for being a HUMAN MOM.
Oh Marga, you made me cry too! It’s true — motherhood has it’s dark moments. And no — husbands can’t relate at all — at least mine can’t. Make sure you make some time for yourself every now and then. Or go shopping 😉 xxx
It was so good to read that this happens to you
, too. I’m usually nota Person that yells at other people but my darling son, though only 1, gets me there sometimes. And of course I hate myself afterwards for loosing my temper. And these moms, who allways seem to be calm make me feel worse… I would love to know how they manage? But maybe they just don’t admit?
Thank you for your post!
I would of done the same thing Esther! I can’t cope with parents that want to be friends with their children and therefore let them get away with murder while they try to reason with them. There are many times I’m sure my children hate me for not letting them do something or yelling at them when they have been naughty but at the end of the day I am their parent and not their friend that will come later when I have brought up well rounded, well behaved little citizens of the world.
Don’t believe a Mum who never loses her patience – either she’s lying or she’s slightly mental. Being a Mum is the most exasperating job sometimes and I actually really believe it is a good thing for kids to see that there are boundaries and sometimes they will cross them and their Mum will go crazy at them – imagine if they never learnt that lesson? What kind of people they’d grow up to be!
I secretly agree that I don’t think the calm mums are for real. If they are I would love to hear their secret! They surely make me feel more guilty for losing my patience.
Go Mo! I love your response.
My boys are now 5 and 7, and I only recently heard that using the naughty corner for this sort of situation (which I’ve done a gazillion times) doesn’t really work because the child spends the time in the corner plotting revenge against the sibbling that got them in trouble.
I try to think ahead of consequences that relate to the behaviour, so it would be banning the scooter for age approp time in this instance, theoretically anyway. Tonight Mr 7 laughed at Mr 5 having hurt himself, Mum growled Go To the Corner!
we all know being a mom is difficult and trying, and at all ages. i think you did a great job esther. we will blow up every now and then, the question is how to maintain as much calm as possible (ie not hitting our hurting our child when we are mad). and psychological pain is very difficult for them (ie telling them they are idiots, etc.). i think esther’s way of calming both persons and talking afterwards was really mature and great instruction for your kid. it is normal – completely normal – that kids are testing us at different ages. it is part of the developmental process and how they grow up to be fantastic people. but it is our job to keep them safe by establishing limits. we all have our personalities and so do our children — we are all calm under different circumstances, so don’t look only at the negative part of your temper. for example, i don’t mind when my 2-year-old makes a mess on his clothing when eating… so parents rage for that.
I like that: ‘don’t look only at the negative part of your temper’.
Sigh. I hear you, sisters! Some days (weeks/months/years) are harder than others. I too think that Esther handled the situation very well and most notably, respectfully. And that’s just it, isn’t it? It is our job as parents to DEMONSTRATE respect in order that our children may learn it for themselves. And (lucky for us) it’s also important for them to see that everyone makes mistakes – respectful people learn from them, take responsibility for them, and make amends.
I’m FAR from perfect but have learned a lot from Dr Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline books and forums. Actually learned tangible tools, not just nebulous concepts. Three cheers for that!
Keep up the good work (and respect!), mamas & papas. And thanks for sharing, Esther. A big hug to YOU!
Thanks Kat. I will have a look into Dr Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline books. xxx
I read your post and I felt familiar with the situation. My humble opinion is that women pretend everything to be perfect every time. Due to the schedule of both my wife’s and my job I spend a lot of time with my two children (4 and 2 yo). In the beginning I strictly followed my wife’s guidelines (lunch at 12, nap at 13 shower at 18 and so on ) but it often ended up with stress, yelling and babies hardly happy. At one point I decided to be more flexible and to set priorities (not everything has to be accomplished, just the more important goals) so if my child try to use the micro scooter indoor I take him out for five/ten minutes (time required: less than the yelling, time out, apologies circle) and then we go back to normal routine. He usually appreciate that and then behave four hours. After a while we discuss together the fact he’s not allowed to go with the scooter in the house and that he has to respect rules. I am not trying to say my idea is good and that I never lose my patience but just that it works better for me and my children
Thanks HB — it’s nice to hear a dad’s thoughts on this! And you’re right — I have to prioritise my goals more.
Esther, I didn’t want to sound right or wrong but just to propose a different point of view. As a big time spender with my children I appreciate and respect women that have to deal with them. And thank to you and this blog which is my little secret, so many times my wife says “where such a wonderful idea (or item) come from?”…
Haha! Thank you! And please — I didn’t think you sounded ‘right or wrong’ at all — you were right! We probably all want too much, too fast and too good…
A great column, a tough story, an interesting take on anger and our children…
Oh my gosh… yes, very tough. The writer of that letter is a courageous woman. But parts of her story will be recognisable to a lot of women… Thanks for sharing! xxx
Esther, I was so happy to read your post and this string of comments. Not to make us all feel justified in loosing our patience, but to know that as much as we try, it will happen and we have to give ourselves a break when it does. The times I reach the end of my rope leave me feeling completely deflated, guilty and sad, and sometimes it can take the rest of the day to recover and realize I am NOT a bad person, nor a bad mother. I think it would help tremendously to know on an everyday basis most (if not all) mom’s struggle with this and don’t succeed in staying calm each moment of every day. I think we all realize the importance of passing to our children positive stress management skills (something I struggle with in general) but there are moments when it all can just be too much and the response is less than ideal. Really, thank you for sharing and for allowing us all to feel a little relief in our own lives for the times that aren’t so perfect.
ha! you’re very normal! I’ve got a 3-and-a-half year old & I feel like I’ve been losing my temper with her alot lately (part of which I put down to being tired & pregnant). The other day I really yelled (almost a roar) and she yelled back at me ‘I don’t like your voice!!’. That was a bit of a wake up call, we had to start our talk with an apology from me!
I soo hear you. No one is perfect, neither us nor our kids and it is so good to hear that everyone looses it at one point.
The funny thing about blogging is that we often only talk about the cute things our kids do and not the craziness that goes on behind the scenes.
This is very interesting: how monkey moms put up with baby monkey tantrums… Jajajajajajaja… I could see myself and my little one! I guess motherhood is universal, no matter what…