I am not a perfect mother. But losing my temper hurts (me) every single time…

Those that follow me know that I am not the mom that is writing a blog to help you parent your children better. I make no pretenses -at any point- that I have any idea what I am doing, if I doing anything right at all, or that I am anything resembling a perfect parent. I do not write tutorials for how to handle tantrums or stress and I rarely give advice outside of trust your instincts and forgive yourself for your imperfections.

Which is kind of ironic since I beat myself to death over mine.

Yesterday was Jp’s third birthday as well as being the end to an incredibly overstuffed and busy weekend. We took him to Sea World (which did not go well, go figure), had a party for him, and spent the entire two days running around, packing, making preparations, preparing food, buying presents…the full-court-press-works. By the time that last evening rolled around I was thoroughly and completely exhausted, to say the very least.

So, when the meltdown to beat all other meltdowns happened last night, I was not emotionally ready or prepared for it.

It was BAD. Bad with a capital B, bad to the bone, bad. Jp’s meltdowns, while less frequent than they once were, can be truly traumatic for all involved. And violent. Extremely violent. I have mentioned before that I am a short girl and Jp is over half my size now as well as being extraordinarily strong for his age. This makes the tantrums that were once, slightly disturbing, now actually quite painful for me.

There is no calming him; no time-outs that can be had that will be in any way effective and before you give advice, please know, he is three years old and this is not my first rodeo. I have tried every practice that the books and the internet has to offer to little or no avail. It is almost as though someone stole my sweet boy and replaced him with a child that had been raised in the wilderness and taught to fight to kill to protect himself. I, in those rare times, do not even know him and, if I am honest, how much that he hates me is scary. It is totally surreal.

While, normally when this happens, I am alert and with him mentally and just do my best to hold him and speak soothingly as I can until the storm passes and he goes to sleep…last night I was worn out, mentally drained, and I found myself frustrated with the whole debacle. That is never a good place to be.

I had a raw scratch across my cheek and about the 40h time that he boxed me in the face…I snapped. I picked him up by the shoulders, pulled him to eye level, and yelled to not hit me again. He replied by kicking me HARD in the chest. I just started crying. What was going on right now? “What to expect when you are expecting” never warned me about the day that my toddler would beat me. So I bent him over my knee and spanked him. He immediately started crying even harder than before and begged for a hug (his go-to when he knows he is in trouble). So I wrapped him up in my arms again and tried to be soothing. He boxed me a few more times until he finally ran out of steam and crashed out.

I got up, examined my wounds in the mirror, and just bawled until I fell asleep. I yelled, I shook him, and I lost my ability to be the calm one in that storm. I hated myself in that very moment. No matter what he does, the fact remains that he is the child and I am the parent. I have to keep my cool no matter what and, last night, I lost it.

I never wanted to spank, yell, or ever lose my temper in any way. I HATE it with the passion of a thousand suns. It truly breaks my heart every single time. Though, before one single person comments that violence begets violence and all of that regurgitated parenting book hoopla, I just want you to know that I am the mecca of positive reinforcement and (I believe) an incredibly patient and understanding mother. I love that boy with the fiery obsession that only a stay-at-home mom of one child could ever understand. But let us all remember that I took about 30-40 good, solid hits from a child that is over half of my size. Let us talk about what that feels like for just a minute.

The answer is…not nearly half as bad as losing my temper felt like.

I wish with every fiber of my being that I was a perfect mother– even though I know that there is no such thing. It does not stop that pain that comes with feeling like you failed as a mom. Like it is our duty to always be the sane one in these situations and come up short. It does not matter if you are 99% of the time…the one time out of one one hundred that you lose your temper and show that you are a human being with flaws and limits…you will be heartbroken.

And that is okay. I think it is -in the end- what makes you a good mom. If you did not hate yourself for your failings…why would you strive to be better?

So today, I strive to be better. And I gave Jp birthday cake after breakfast while I talked to him about hitting because I felt guilty. I think, as moms, that is all that we can do, right?

im_not_perfect_but_i_love_you

Parenting

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Amber Perea View All →

I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.

20 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your moment with all your readers. Parenting is by far the hardest thing to do in the world. You always come across as a loving, devoted, patient mother. We are only human doing the best we can with what we were given. I agree with Rebekah – again thank you for being so open and honest.

    • I always try to share the lows with the highs. I feel like it wouldn’t be an honest blog if I didn’t talk about the challenges, too. When I went into this, I felt like no one had really told me honestly what parenting a preemie could be like. The delays, the behavior issues…none of it. So I promised myself I would be 100% honest. Even if it hurts sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  2. What a traumatic experience you had. Especially poignant as it was associated with his birthday and all the love you felt for him. However many of us have had “normal” children who have tried us beyond our limits. My eldest was very very difficult. She had an extreme of temper I never saw in any other child. She was wild and very very physical. My solution was simple. In order to save us both I put her in a different room. Sometimes this involved holding the door to stop her coming out! I did this to give us both time to cool it. It always worked, but was never pleasant, not to mention the fact that she tore the room asunder! I can honestly say I did this in case I would physically hurt her or vice verse. I had a rule she was not allowed hit anyone and neither was I or my husband. It did put pressure on us all to stick to the rule. I am so sorry this happened to you. Trust me I do know what you went through.

    • I have let him destroy many a room and it works without the drama (for me, at least) but that can go on for hours before he drops because he gets himself all amped up and it was midnight already and I just thought, “If I lay down with him this will be over in 15 minutes because he’s already so tired”.

      Live and learn. Next time I will know better. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I re lived past traumas reading your post. BUT, like you I lived and learned, I never had half the trouble with my other kids after. Even after all these years I do not like to remember those less than perfect mothering moments. I am sure like my gang he will get over it way quicker than you.

  3. I love that you shared this. You are very brave and honest. You don’t need to justify your actions to anyone. We’ve all lost it before and unfortunately if you’re at home with your kids they are the ones in the line of fire. I’m sorry you had to endure that.

  4. Oh man. I can empathize to a degree. I’ve been telling myself to puck myself up, dust myself off, and remember that tomorrow is a new day and the perfect time to start over and do things better. This job is hard enough without the extra complications. I hope you took/take yourself out for a glass of wine.

    • It was hard. He used to have these kinds of wild tantrums regularly but lately he’s been so GOOD. It almost made it harder. Like when he did it all of the time I wasn’t surprised or upset. But this one took me by surprise and I faltered.

      It is harder, I think, when you have all of this extra “icing” but I think we get some pretty great parts that other parents don’t, too. Sound crazy? That’s because I am having that wine now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I could not agree more. I wonder often what it must feel like to not get excited about every tiny victory because your child just excels naturally. How boring, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Amber we’ve all been there – excepts for those freaks of nature who remain sane and calm through every storm their child whacks them with (literally or figuratively) that we all obsessively compare ourselves to. What’s wrong with us? I heard Dr Phil once say, “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides” and I loved that. We don’t get to see the other people in their private moments. Often they just look like they’ve got it all together.

    The psychologist Donald Winnicott speaks about being a Good Enough mother. Not perfect, not excellent, just good enough. That’s what our children need from us. Look it up, it’s good stuff.

    Thank you for your courage and honesty. It’s totally clear how much you love your boy. Maybe you need to build a cushioned thrash pit for him for those times – rarer though they are…? Or for yourself now that I think of it… In fact I’d like one too. With a punching bag in it…

    • Thank you! I love the Dr. Phil quote…it’s so true! The truth is, that is a big part of why I share the hard stuff and the times that I fail. I want people to know that no one is perfect and to not feel alone in those moments.

      I try to be honest even though it’s not always flattering.

      I am familiar with Donald Winnicot. Love him! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. The worst is when the tantrum is done, and they are themselves again. Then they look at you with those eyes and you love them even harder because you know that they didn’t mean any of it. We’ve all felt the same, done the same and cried the same tears. You are just one of the few who will admit it openly. Today will be better. Promise.

    • I have to admit it! I have to be one of those people that says that it is okay to fail sometimes. I don’t know why…maybe it is because those women that pretend to be perfect mothers just get under my skin. No one is perfect and I want that to be okay. That’s why I love you! You keep it real.

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