I seem to be having a lot of parenting moments lately where after the fact I realize I could have handled the situation more…shall we say maturely. I don’t know if the kids are actually acting any differently or if I just have less patience. I haven’t been sleeping well due to Amy’s frequent wake-ups, so it very well could be the latter.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but these are very small incidents where right after I react (and the child in question reacts to my reaction) I realize I haven’t handled things well. Tonight there were two good examples. The first was when Amy hit me (she’s a bit of a hitter) while I was putting her pajamas on. Now I’m not saying hitting is okay, but there was a reason she hit me. I had irrationally got mad at her for taking her pj’s off while she was on the toilet. She almost always does this when she’s having a poop and I don’t think I’ve ever got mad at her. But tonight my patience was down and as soon as she did it, I got mad. And she knew I was mad. I whipped her off the toilet and shoved her in her pajamas. And she hit me. My reaction? I pretty much pushed her out of the bathroom, pajamas half on, and told her to go to her room. Okay. So first off, how about chill on the whole taking the pj’s off issue, since it’s never been an issue before. Second, how about recognize there was a reason she was frustrated and mad, acknowledge her feelings, and tell her it’s not okay to hit. And then continue to put her pj’s back on and get on with bedtime.
The second incident was with Elliot. He was brushing his teeth and I asked him to let me finish, which we do every night. He started goofing around and running away from me. Again, patience wearing thin, I reacted by taking away the cars he was playing with. This may sound minor, but taking away his cars is a HUGE deal to him. And I know this. Not a good consequence for merely goofing around. He got angry and threw his toothbrush at me. Then he started screaming. I started putting more cars away, and he screamed louder. Great. I felt like screaming too. And right away I knew I could have easily avoided the escalation if I had just ignored his goofing around.
Like I said, this seems to be happening a lot. Tomorrow I’m off and have the kids with me, and I’m feeling under the weather. I’m hoping that by writing this I have made myself more aware of what’s going on, and I can remember to just take a moment before reacting…and then hopefully react a bit more constructively. It’s not that these things shouldn’t be addressed, it’s just that I’d like to be able to feel good about how I’ve handled it, not feel like I’m the same age as my children.