25 September 2007

Not Proud

I raised my voice at Riley this morning.

I stayed up too late reading last night, and I was tired this morning. I knew my patience was thin. In fact, moments before I spoke harshly to the little man, I had been repeating in my head, "They are only fifteen months old. You are tired. They are not out to get you," over and over.

Ha ha, didn't work. Riley kept ripping his bib off and it was driving me nuts. Instead of getting a new bib, making it a game to get him to keep it on, or just letting him eat with it off (I mean, really, who cares?) I grabbed the (hard plastic) bib from him, slammed it on the table and said (loudly), "Riley! You need to stop. doing. that. right now!"

I'll say this: it got his attention. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I felt like the world's biggest bitch, though. I did put his bib back on, apologized to him, told him that it's not right to talk to people like that and that I was tired and frustrated, but that he was not the problem. And I gave him a hug. As far as I can tell, he was thinking, "Yeah, yeah, where's my breakfast?"

I've been feeling bad about it all day. Poor little man. He didn't deserve that. I know it's not the end of the world, but I want to do better by Riley, and myself. Clearly, I don't like the way I feel when I do things like that. It's just hard when I'm tired and stressed and wish I got more breaks. It's hard to have three people in my life who deserve to be number one.

40 comments:

Paula said...

Been there, done that and it made me feel like crap! However, I think you've hit the nail on the head, you need some YOU time! I understand staying up late reading, it is truely a vice for me. Is there anyone nearby that you can schedule regular kid watching time with so that you can have YOU time on a regular basis? I know it's hard but you need to do it for your sanity and for the kids! Wish I was closer so that I could help!

Amy said...

Oh my goodness, if you've made it to 15 months without raising your voice, then you're doing better than 99.9999% of the rest of us!

I raise my voice regularly but infrequently to my 6.5 and 2.5 year olds. And sometimes it is very effective, and they deserve it.

But sometimes I feel terrible immediately afterwards, too. Mostly when my response is out of proportion to their purported crime, when I'm tired and frustrated myself.

I sometimes give my 6.5-year-old a warning - I say "W, Mama's starting to lose her patience" and she knows that is a cue to shape up - and she usually does. She knows that means I'm getting frustrated and yelling is right around the corner.

Don't beat yourself up over it!

- Amy who used to live in Medford (there are a lot of Amys who read this blog, I notice)

Anonymous said...

Hi, This is probably too simplistic. But just possibly maybe, you hadn't simply told him (today, that is) what you wanted him to do. In a normal tone voice. Maybe with "Please" included. "Please leave your bib on. It needs to stay on till you're done with breakfast. No, leave it on. That's right."
Probably you did all that--but just in case you skipped it--I found that it is all too easy to expect the child to know what you want, without your saying it.
(And to the fifteen month old kid, just because you wanted it yesterday doesn't necessarily mean you want the same thing again today, so you may have to say it again today. And tomorrow.)

Anonymous said...

I'm most likely to lose my patience with 14 month old at bath time -- far worse! You'll do better next time (I'd consider the no-bib option since you have laundry at your disposal -- maybe with the words "that's it: if you can't keep your bib on, you don't get to wear your bib today. Maybe tomorrow you can be the lucky boy who wears this bib but not today.")

Jolene said...

aww, don't beat yourself up about it. You're a mommy and from what I hear, mommy's sometimes yell at their little ones. You just need a break. I wish I could give it to you. :( Riley and Maddie are lucky to have you as their mommy.

Daddy Dan said...

I think it's happened to everyone. I've raised my voice to our 1-year old a few times and I've regretted it as soon as the words left my mouth. They do seem to get over it pretty quickly.

Our baby has just started the bib-pulling off thing too.

Kristin said...

I have a husband to help me and only one child, and I sometimes do the same thing. Like this morning, when I put some cute little pigtails in my 2-year-old's hair while she was eating her breakfast. I told her not to touch them with her cream cheese covered hands. And of course, when I came back into the room, her gooey hands were in her hair. It just annoyed the hell out of me and I yelled, "Don't do that!" I think our kids will grow up understanding that we are human, that sometimes we get annoyed but that, most importantly, we love them unconditionally.

Kathy said...

You definitely shouldn't beat yourself up about it. All mommies have a tolerance level and its not at all unusual for their children to push them all the way to it. Part of their development involves testing boundaries so that they know how to navigate through life staying clear of them. If you never show them when they have gone too far, they will never learn this and will have far more trouble steering clear of inappropriate behavior as an adult.

The bottom line, you didn't take it too far and you simply showed him HE had gone to far. A social skill that he NEEDS to learn.

yatima said...

Oh man. I want to give you *and* Riley a hug, then send you to your room to read as long as you want while I put the kids to bed and then handle breakfast the next morning.

Anyway, we've all been there. Best wishes.

Binkytown said...

Not alone- thats all I have to add. It happens. He's forgotten all about it by now. When you see him later today it will be as if it never happened. Cut yourself some slack..

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

It happens. You're only human. He won't grow up scarred for life, and you probably felt far worse than he did. Draw a line under it and move on.

halfmama said...

Ah, I've had so many (what I like to call) Mama Kim Jong-Il moments. While it's never a proud moment, it's good (if i may be obnoxiously optimistic here) to show them that you are human, that you are not perfect, that you sometimes lose patience, and most importantly, that you will apologize afterwards. Somewhere along the lines they will hopefully learn forgiveness, and that no matter what, you still love them.

(Hmm... if only I could only take my own advice. Usually I just feel like crap too. But I do try and tell myself this.)

Wish I was closer to help give you a break. I was just telling G that I wish we had met before I left Boston too. If you're ever in Chicago...

Sara said...

Been there, done that. Someone once told me "No one has ever made me happier than my own children have made me, and no one has ever made me angrier". It's astonishing the depths of rage that can bubble up with these little people...I struggle with this daily (more with my 10 year old than with the 18 month old, but with both of them, definitely).

And hey, my genius babysitter cuts a hole out of the middle of old dishtowels and puts the kid's head through it for a bib. It works much better than any other bib I've tried, and doesn't seem to annoy Else the way the hard plastic or tied ones do. To be honest, I almost never put a bib on her anymore. She's always dirty from eating or playing, and I've kinda given up most regular days. There's definitely a choose your battles piece here (or, as my friend Lisa says so well: Is this really the hill you want to die on?).

Duncan said...

snick,

my kids are 17, 14 and 12. They all survived me yelling, grabbing things from them and slamming them down hard, watching me shake with frustration, telling them to go to their rooms and stay there until we can all calm down, and witnessed me counting out loud (I've never actually reached the number "10). They're great, and yours will be too. Fights about bibs turn into fights about keeping rooms clean into fights about using the car into other things i'm sure.

my mom died of PC. as she got sicker, my younger brothers and i spent a lot of time with her at home, remniniscing, and one of our funnier memories was the time she got so fed up with two of the boys fighting that she grabbed them by the back of the necks and bumped (or as they recall, "smashed") their heads together!!! made a huge impression on them (probably literally as well as figuratively), enough so that we were all kidding her about it some 30 years later.

be easy on yourself, snick. this parenting thing justs gets harder and better all at the same time.

namaste,
amy

Christine said...

I would have felt bad too. However, you did get his attention. I think it doesn't damage kids to be yelled at time and again. (At least I hope not; I tend to be a yeller and then a hugger.) Just not all the time. Be easy on yourself. And as another commenter said, if you've made it this long w/o yelling at them, you truly deserve a medal. Hugs and good thoughts to you.

lct said...

I know it must feel crappy, but cut yourself some slack -- you're human and under a great deal of stress; the occasional moment like this is bound to happen and completely normal. Sure wish I lived closer so I could hang with Riley and Maddie and give you a break now and then.

cat said...

Lurker here,

I think that your insight about three people who all deserve to be number one is devastatingly accurate. It looks to me like you're negotiating the space between what absolutely what should be and what is extremely well. Not the least because you don't deny the discrepancy. Strength to you.

Anonymous said...

aww.. I know that feeling.. yelling at your kids and then feeling bad.. I feel that way all the time.. but sometimes you just have to so they understand you. but I am sure your baby knows you didn't mean it and it was only a bad moment..
cheer up.. he still loves you.. you are a great mommy..

Kathryn said...

You know, I really haven't read of a law being passed that decrees that mums are not allowed to be human...tired, spent...You do a fab job in a hideous situation, and those children are so blessed to have you.
Give yourself a chance, please...you are absolutely the BEST mum and the occasional lapse from your own high standards won't damage the littlies, honestly.
I once came within an ace of pushing Hugger Steward (whom I love more than life itself) down the stairs. He was 2. We were broke and living on a building site. It made sense at the time, - and he still loves me, and seems remarkably OK with it all.
Hugs for you and for the twins

Anonymous said...

I know I will likely come off as offensive by saying this, but really, it's okay to raise your voice. Sometimes our kids test our limits, and I'd rather establish my boundaries when they are fifteen months then when they are fifteen years. Now, I know many people will argue and say the two are not linked, but I have to disagree with that. As I've watched the parallel raising of my cousin's children, I've seen how this idea of "parenting without parenting" has led to children who do not listen.

Perhaps today your raised voice was not merited - I don't know, because I wasn't there. But, I think that there are plenty of times when raising your voice to your child (and perhaps not so much now as when they get older) can prevent many worse consequences.

- A

thrice said...

Please forgive my urge to make a suggestion. Check out these bibs form babycenter http://store.babycenter.com/product/feeding+-+nursing/bibs+-+burp+cloths/junior+bib+%282-pack%29.do?asc=false
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get my twins to keep their bibs on, but these ones did the trick.

Personally, I'm always amazed at how calm and organized you are with your children. In fact, I'm kind of envious. I know you didn't want to raise your voice, but seriously, I think that you are being a little too hard on yourself. You are allowed to err, sometimes. Y'know?

Butterfly Girl said...

I too have done this to my 14 month old twins. I felt awful when I did it and I've tried really hard not to do it again, but i'm sure i'll slip us again. My most frustrating time is when I'm trying to change their diaper and they keep rolling over and trying to get away it's worse when it's poop. Don't be too hard on yourself, at least you realize and are trying to not continue to do that.

buddha_girl said...

You're not alone in this one, Snick.

I was being a total wench to Buddha tonight. TOTAL. After I gained some self-control, I felt like a heartless bitch.

When I went upstairs to get him to sleep, I thanked the universe that my kid still kisses me even when his boogers are running into his mouth and that he doesn't think it's 'wrong' to sleep with his new shoes on.

Momma Mary said...

I think that if you are a parent, especially a single parent, you've done that. I know I have, more than once. I am really bad in the middle of the night when the screaming just WON'T stop no matter what I try to do... The other night, crying became a family affair. :) Oh, and so long as his face didn't turn red, the bottom lip stayed in and he didn't start the wail back, then you are probably okay. Well, at least this one time. ;)

soralis said...

I have been there with my boys, and I have help at home. Try not to be to hard on yourself, I am sure he already forgave you. Hugs

Anonymous said...

I too have raised my voice at my kids. I think its good to apologize later but I also don't think there is anything wrong with raising your voice to them and getting their attention. Part of your job is to teach them how to be little people, how to get along in society and what is acceptable behavior. And sometimes you have to do this by raising your voice and getting their attention. Its also ok for you to give yourself a time out. My daughters (ages 7 and 4) know that all of us (kids and parents) need time outs to take a break.
So go easy on yourself. You're normal!!

Karen said...

I am sure it goes without saying - but you are HUMAN. You will lose your temper and snap at your children once in a while. You cannot beat yourself up over it. From what you share with us, you are an amazig mom and those little ones are lucky to have you!

Amy said...

As everyone else has said...been there. Usually it occurs when I'm tired and hungry and they are also tired and hungry. Bad combination.

Chickenpig said...

I have raised my voice now on more than a few occasions, mostly about safety issues. Now that they are 21 months old, they find crazy ways to risk their lives on a regular basis, even though I have "toddler proofed" both their bedroom and a playroom to the best of my ability. Today, D decided to stand on the rocker in the nursery while I was dressing his brother, resulting in a "Get down from there RIGHT NOW!" After he had gotten down and I wasn't tied up, I could talk to him about why it wasn't safe, but at the time, raising my voice let him know I meant business. Sometimes they are at risk of hurting themselves, and sometimes they are pushing your buttons (yes, smart kids do try to get you mad on purpose). It doesn't hurt them to know that you get mad too, that you have logical reasons for getting angry (you are predictable), that you can get mad and still love them, and that when you get mad, you aren't out of control and won't hurt them. Please don't beat yourself up over it.

glove said...

Wretched, wretched mother! Slap your wretched hand!

Oh wait - you didn't beat your baby? Or shake him? Or throw him out of the chair? Well, did you curse? Pull his little hair? Rip his bib into shreds in front of his eyes in an uncontrollable act of fury?

Oh. Well, maybe you don't win worst mother of the year award today. Just the worst-feeling mother. I know you know that he'll live, and probably instantly got over it. But be happy that you feel guilty - there are lots of parents (my wretched neighbors, for example) who are lacking that conscience and treat the little ones in their care with contempt and violence.

FingKASIL said...

You know what's great about 15-month-olds? They have almost no specific recall. Riley has already forgotten about this. Please be as loving to yourself as you are to your kids, and chalk this one up to experience. It was just yelling. You are human. It's okay to lose patience sometimes. Maybe it's okay for our kids to see that we are humans, with foibles, and imperfections. When they see that, it can give them more room to be imperfect, too.

You are an incredibly strong person, but you are human.

buttercup649 said...

A couple of other people have said it already, but I think it definitely bears repeating that it is probably actually good for your kids to see you angry. If they grow up thinking that people will never snap at them if they are acting up, or that people don't get angry that wouldn't be very healthy for them. It sure sounds like you let them know you love them all the time, and this was just another learning experience for you and them. Chin up!

Anonymous said...

I have a boy the same age as your twins and while I don't like when it happens, I do raise my voice with him. And if there's a mom out there who says she hasn't yelled at her child when he/she probably didn't deserve it - well, they're lying. Don't beat yourself up over it - you're doing a great job with those two precious kids and they'll love you even if you are human.

Amy said...

You need more breaks. Make it happen. From the sounds of it you have wonderful friends, family and individuals at the day care that could make this a reality. Put your feelers out and see what you can come up with. SO important as a mom to little ones to have some time to yourself. I myself am one that NEEDS a few hours to myself in the eves (like now) to unwind doing what I want or frankly the day is not a good one.

You know the fact that you openly admit you were short with your child is a sign you are doing things right and the best you can. When I think of all the parents I have witnessed doling out similar on a daily basis along with a few smacks (without guilt) I cringe.

You need some downtime my dear... Don't think of it as a luxury, think of it as a necessity.

Amy in BC. BTDT mom to twins and another.

Anna said...

Oh, so have been there, and can't stand myself afterward. I haven't done it to my 15month old yes, but to my three year old more times than I can count.

In all your "free" time, would you be willing to stop by my site and offer some advice to a soon-to-be multiple mama? My blogless friend is having triplets, and needs advice on stuff and parenting, and what the heck can I tell her as a singleton parent!
Thank you
http://hankandwillie.wordpress.com

bg's Little Sis said...

Been there done that, gotta just forgive yourself and move on, and know it'll probably happen again, we're human mothers, I love Half Mama's saying, "Mama Kim Jong Il moments"...we're doing our best, you're doing your best, keep breathing sista!

lots of love,
lil'sis

Snickollet said...

Anna--

I'll try to get over to your blog and give some mothering multiples advice. Triplets! Wow. I feel like I don't have that much to offer, but I'll try.

-snick

Amy said...

We've all been there. There's only so far you can stretch yourself. Fortunately, kids are so resilient when it comes to that stuff. I've lost my temper with my three and minutes later, they're smiling and hugging me. It makes the guilt worse but at least you know they're none the worse for wear from occasionally being yelled at.

Kristin said...

Don't beat yourself up. Having 3.5 year old b/g twins myself I can assure you this won't be the last time you raise your voice. It's inevitable, it's parenting and anybody who says they NEVER yell at their children is either (1) lying or (2) delusional. I'm probably going to get reemed for this, but it's the truth.

You are doing this alone and you are an inspiration to all of us. I'm impressed you made it to 15 months before raising your voice.

Rachel said...

Welcome to parenthood....sometimes you yell at your kids, sometime in the very near future they will yell at you, usually you feel bad about it, sometimes you don't becasue it's just what the situation calls for, and most of the time the kids don't suffer for a single second becasue of it.