I was reading a Facebook shared blog post Saturday night- you know those posts that were written like two years ago, but gained so much publicity, aka went Facebook famous, that they are still shared. As I was reading the post, something hit me like a ton of bricks… Everything the author talked about, I have been doing myself… the blog post was about being a yeller. The author described how she had two small children- about 3 and 6, I believe- and every time they made a mess, didn't listen, or had normal child hood mishaps, she would yell at them. It finally dawned on her that the reason that she would “fall apart” and yell was because of the stress of everyday life and normal distractions that were out of her control. The stress that we as parents have come to accept as normal. The stress of trying to be the perfect mother. And the distractions of “excessive phone use, commitment overload, multiple page to-do lists, and the pursuit of perfection”. The author said that her defining moment was when her daughter had climbed into the cupboard, knocked over a bag of rice, and started crying with fear in her eyes. The author said that she was mortified that her own daughter was scared of her. In that moment, she decided that she needed to change.
Change for the better.
At the end of the bog post- a page and a half- I realized that I am slowly becoming the parent that the author described and the type of parent that I dread. The parent that always yells. The parent that bitches about the issues, but never comes up with a solution. The parent with a short fuse. The non-understanding parent. The distracted parent.
I realized that I have been the type of parent that blames child raising issues on my child- we used to go on play dates and I would talk about how I loved being a mother, but I hated all the animosity within the family unit. Animosity that until now, I had no idea that I was actually the cause of.
In the ten-ish minutes of reading the blog post, I decided that I too, need to change. I need to lighten my load… I mean in the past week, I have been consumed with selling clothes and makeup on Facebook or in my Etsy shop, replying to emails, trying to keep up with the blog and sponsorships, laundry, cleaning, trying to get a job, and so much more. I have been consumed with non-important things. I have been shoving my child in front of the TV and telling him to play with toys, and not spending an ounce of time with him. And in the little time that was spent with him, I would be correcting everything that he did. Even though it would be the right way to do something in his eyes.
I realized that all my distractions were adding up and stress was mounting, so instead of blowing up in public, I too, like the author, fell apart behind closed doors and took out my frustrations on my tiny, loving, but occasionally annoying child. Granted I don't resort to violence, but yelling is still a horrible thing. It teaches children to cower and fear the person that is supposed to love, cherish, nurture, and guide them through the most crucial years of their precious life. The person that is supposed to love no matter what.
My defining moment was not when I was reading the blog post (the blog post put things into perspective for me). In fact, it was about an hour and a half before, when I was sitting on the couch with my son. We were sitting next to each other, and of course, I wasn't there.
I was distracted with my phone, and doing my nails. Stupid, I know. My son got up, stood in front of me, and motioned to sit on my lap. I told him no. I literally told him that I had to do my nails, and I was looking for pants on my phone. He sat back down next to me, and fell asleep in less than five minutes.
There was no pouting, there was no crying, or even getting mad. There was just silent normalcy. To him it was normal for Mommy to deny affection in some situations, to be distracted by her phone, and essentially, in his eyes, for Mommy to tell him that he wasn’t important.
And no child should feel that way. Especially at four years old. Especially at such a critical time in their lives.
That was really hard to write. Even now, my eyes are welling up with tears and I feel horrible. It’s often hard for me to admit when I am wrong.
Once I realized he was asleep, I picked him up, cradled him in my arms and kissed his forehead. I told him how much I loved him and that I was sorry. In that moment, I knew I needed to change.
So here I am.
Today, I am making a public vow to change my yelling and being distracted ways. I am going to stop yelling, and attempt to take a calmer approach to parenting. I am going to say no to the distractions. I am going to put the phone down. I am going to remind my child how important he is to me every day, and show it. I am going to breathe. I am going to ask for help.
Now, most of this is easier said than done, but it needs to be accomplished. And I know it’s not going to be overnight. But I have hope. Hope that I will and can change. For the better.
*Linking up with Anne