What do you other parents do on the days that you know you are screwing up? Yesterday and today I’ve had a short temper. Maybe lack of sleep, maybe hormones. I don’t know. Ada has gotten hurt four times in the past 24 hours because Azita does something I’ve already asked her to stop, so maybe that’s all it is.
But I’ve had a hard time holding my temper (and my tongue) and though we’ve had plenty of good moments too, the ones that stand out, and the ones remembered, will be the bad ones!
My jerk reaction is to take Azita out to buy her something. Which is so not the reaction that I hold in esteem! It’s probably natural to want to make her happy and feel loved when I’ve lost my temper with her, but we all know that material things are not the best way to show love. They can be a part of it, of course.
But I’ve known a mom who repeatedly bought her kid toys to make up for other shortcomings and yes, the kid is very materialistic, and that’s not a quality that I want to cultivate. It will come naturally, as we are partially material beings living in a buying-driven culture. That’s probably why my urge to go out and have fun picking out something new with her is even there.
But that’s not good for the budget or the long term lesson.
I don’t have a problem apologizing to her or telling her when I’ve made a mistake. We talk about the reasons I’m upset as well, as how her not listening and resulting in Ada crying yet again is a big part of it. But we’ve a;ways talked about things. And so as we talk about it she will even say “Momma, I know you’re upset but yelling is not the way.”
She is good at articulating. I think some parents feel like they will give up power or control by staying calm and admitting when they are wrong. But I know that the opposite happens with us– it strengthens my position as the mother, as the first guide in her life.
Most successful relationships in this world are a partnership anyway– not a dictatorship. I do get ultra-aggravated with her plenty of times when she doesn’t want to do what I need or want to be done, especially when it results in Ada being upset or a mess.
But in general, if I view her as a partner in my household– someone who is adding to it with her different opinions– its just better. And the more I nag about the things that bug me, like maybe her not helping to keep her room clean, the less she listens. Then we’ve got that top-down power struggle going on again. I try to avoid that.
We’ve got so much to do around this messy house. But she asked to go the children’s museum and she probably knows I’ll say yes since I feel bad for acting in exactly the way she does when she is upset– exactly the way she acts when we tell her to take a deep breath and talk about what is making her upset.