New Year, New me! Or that’s what I would be saying if I was a basic bitch, anyway. Which I’m totally not.
But seriously, I always go over the top with New Year’s resolutions. This year, as always, I have a ton. Lose 15 pounds. Eat less chocolate. Eat less cheese. Drink less alcohol. Spend less time on my phone around the kids. Plan more activities for the kids. Get K-Man to eat at least one bite of one vegetable. Clean the kitty litter every day. Call my grandpa more. Shower more. Figure out what I’m doing with my life.
But if I achieve nothing else this year, what I really, truly want, is to be nicer to my kids. You see, before I had kids, I never in a million years thought I would be a “mean mommy.” Because though I can be a huge, passive-aggressive “B” behind someone’s back, I’ve never been confrontational. If anything, I thought I would be too meek with my children, let them walk all over me, let them get away with things left and right.
But here I am, almost three years in, mean as fuck. Let me be clear up front: I love my children hard. And they know how I feel. They get snuggled, loved on, praised, adored. I’ve never been one to hold back affection. But, boy, do I lose my patience. I am not a patient person, and my poor kids are the unsuspecting victims of my inability to keep it together in moments of stress. I yell, growl, glare, and flail my arms around like a stupid idiot. It’s a disgusting, embarrassing display.
Even worse, sometimes I lose my temper. Because when K-Man gets violent with his little sister, I run hot instantly. I’m ashamed to admit I’m not above picking him up, or holding him sternly by the shoulders, and yelling in his face. Ugh, I don’t even like to anonymously admit that to the blogosphere. I just get so frustrated, and I really need him to understand that his behavior is not ok, and in that moment, I can’t think of a better way to accomplish that.
When the moment passes, I feel sick, and I hate myself. I don’t think I’m crossing any hard lines about how to treat children, but I know I’m crossing my own lines about what I am comfortable with in the abstract. And I know that violence breeds violence. I know that I am the way I am, in part, because when I was a kid my dad picked me up and held me against the wall to yell in my face about what I’d done wrong. And I know that if I’m not careful, my kids will be doing the same things to their kids.
So this year, I want to be better. To practice patience. To practice calm. To remember to breathe when I recognize the anger rising. Wish me luck (and give me pointers!).
Until next time,