Monday, November 24, 2008

A Fresh Start

Never did I imagine that I would be the kind of mom that would scream and yell at her children. Never did I think for one second that I would use the harsh words I have used. Never could I envision having such a hard time keeping my cool. And yet here I am hanging my head in shame.

Sunday morning was really tough. The boys threw their worst tantrums and behavior at me and I responded in kind. I tried walking away. I tried counting to ten. I even locked myself in the bathroom. Nothing worked. Each time I blew my top. I screamed, red-faced and wide eyed. I shook my finger in their faces. I told them how awful they were being and said things that were ridiculous and out of line. The minute the words came out of my mouth I was desperately trying to grab them and stuff them back in.

I'm the adult. I should be able to do this. I should be so much better at this than I am. What is wrong with me?

By the time we were ready for church I had decided I had tried all I could that morning. For the first time in their lives I dropped the boys off at Cherub School and went to church by myself. Happy to be playing, and not trying to sit still in church for an hour, the boys eagerly waved goodbye as I left all three of them in the church daycare. And though the boys were happy, I was miserable. I felt defeated. Like a failure.

I sat down in the pew at church and had all I could do to keep the tears from coming. I feel as though I am failing these boys every day. Every day there are moments I can look back on and hang my head in shame. Times I could have done better. Should have done better. This, my most important job, seems to be the only one I am not succeeding at and yet it is the only one I must.

Mass started and I listened to the scriptures. The music soothed me and the sermon inspired me. I became more and more at peace as the mass went on. And I realized, for maybe the millionth time, that we all fail at times. It is human nature. No one is perfect. We all fail. And it is in failing that we learn how to succeed. We learn how to live. And we learn how to love.

The good in this is that every day is a new day. Every hour is a new hour. Every minute is a new minute. A fresh start is just around the corner. And I'm taking it. And I'll do better this time.

46 comments:

ann said...

SO....I put myself in time out finally, after a day of sharp tongued cynicism, and biting criticism for all concerned. I console myself with 'all I can do is the best I can do.." But it just wasn't good enough today. Thanks for the words of encouragement. Already, a new day.

Janah said...

Being a first-time Mom, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think some of those things. And when I see that toothy smile, I just wonder "why can't it always be like this?!" Why does it have to be so hard sometimes?
I wonder if maybe it's the expectations we put on ourselves? But no matter how many times I feel like I am a disappointment as a mother, deep-down I know that I really am doing a good job!
And you should think/know the same!

maggie's mind said...

And this is exactly why I just love you to bits. Being human and making mistakes is something we all do. Being human, making mistakes and then somehow coming out the other side with some grace is something that you do, and it is inspiring.

Jeni said...

Hmmmm. If I tell you not to be so hard on yourself, expecting to always be able to stay cool, calm, collected and in command of three young children, does that imply that many years removed from being in shoes similar to yours I was able to react in said manner or am I trying now to smooth over my own failings as a parent in that respect? Maybe a bit of the latter there, cause I know I was never cool, calm, collected, in command when my kids were growing up. Today, I am a bit more so able to exercise a little extra patience level with the grandchildren but that comes to me now from a couple different things -one, that I don't have sole responsibility resting on my shoulders for the upbringing of my grandkids like I had when my kids were young and two -from things I've learned in the past five years now from being exposed to not just one, but two little ones with autism. Puts a whole new spin on things, it does!
Don't be so hard on yourself when things fall a bit apart at the seams. A little screaming -er, I mean venting -to youngsters has never, to my knowledge, kept them from growing up into fine, upstanding citizens some day but does tend to help keep mothers with a full head of hair too. Well, it worked that way for me back then anyway.

lime said...

i'm glad you realized your only human but are seeking strength to do better. you know what? our kids need to know we realize this too and be shown how we handle it. it's a teaching opportunity for all of you.

Mom24 said...

I know I've had moments, hours, days, like this. Enjoy the peacefulness and forgiveness that comes with a new start.

Kelly said...

I could have written that same post. I have had major problems with Aiden lately. Nothing seems to work and he's been rotten to the core. I was in tears 4 different times last week because of him. I've blown it with the bigger boys a few times too. I understand completely. It's impossible not to lose your temper (and your mind!) sometimes. My hope is that years from now they remember the good and not the bad mommy moments, thats what I worry about. I don't like yelling either, I grew up with it and hated it, yet here I am some days. Hang in there. It's a lot harder when you are parenting alone and not getting a break. When hubby gets home, please plan a break for yourself! ((hugs))

Robyn said...

Oh yes, I have been there a many a time. I way to frustrated with the language barrier. I hope like Kelly she' remember the better moments.

wheelsonthebus said...

been there, done that. got the t-shirt to prove it.

Tammy said...

We all have our moments that we wished we could take back. I know I've said and done things to my kids that I wish I could of taken back. I am glad you found peace and determination to have a new beginning and a new day. :)

Mel said...

Oh...precious Kat...those days happen to ALL of us. I know I have those feelings each and every day. But as you said...we are normal...we realize we need to change...we are not perfect...we know we have a new day to make things BETTER.

It must've been something in the air yesterday...I told the girls I was going to sell them to the gypsies...and Hope believed me. It's a horrible thing to say to anyone...but especially so to adopted angels who have already been abandoned once. She sat there looking at me with tears streaming down that perfect little face, "Mama! I don't WANT you to sell me!" THAT was a giant slap back into reality. I told her then...and I told her first thing this morning...there is absolutely nothing that you or your sister could do that would make me sell you...you are my DAUGHTERS!

Hold those boys close...let them know how much you love them...apologize for your mistakes...and yes, start each day fresh.

Hugs!

Nissa said...

Okay, Kat, I want to know what mom DOESN'T feel that way sometimes? I don't know anyone who is perfect, and we all give in to the stress of raising little angels/monsters(depending on the moment) sometimes.

Are you taking enough 'me time'? I find it helps just to get a break sometimes. A real break, not just a 'lock yourself in your room for a couple minutes' break, but having hubby or a friend watch the kids while you go out & do something fun. I think it's especially tough as a stay at home mom (not that work away from home moms don't deal with many other challenges!) because it IS our job to watch them and nurture them ALL day EVERY single day. Sometimes I long for work away from home, just to get away.

Big Hugs!

Kelley said...

Well said. I, too, could have written the exact same post. I realized the other day that I have been hyper-critical of my husband and kids lately, and they are responding by acting exactly the way I've been telling them they are. Quite a revelation, actually. I've been consciously trying to notice and praise them for their good traits, and it seems to be helping. Even so, we still have days like this. That said, the word of God always helps me to re-center and regroup so I can go back and hopefully be a better mom.

Lisa said...

Fresh starts - AMEN! Good for you to regroup & come back with a clear head - that is what makes you such a good mama!

Nap Warden said...

Boy do I feel the same way. I yelled too much last week. At one point The Little Man looked at me and said "stop yelling mama".
Parenting is hard. Tantrums are hard. I am trying to do better as well.

Dawn said...

As moms, we are so hard on ourselves sometimes. It can be so tough. I get this picture in my head of what a "good" mom acts like, but of course I can't always live up to the standard I set. Thank God for fresh starts, and hugs to you Kat.

Megan said...

The BEST moms are the toughest on themselves!

Tracey said...

Those days... Those days are horrid. And I can see myself spinning out of control and the kids getting worse and me wanting nothing more than to just jump in the car and leave...

You're human. And we cannot have the fabulous days without the horrible days to commpare them to.

BTW, tag.

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

Oh yes I hear you! Thankful for fresh starts :) ♥ Hugs!

Stephanie said...

I think all moms have days like this every once in a while. Sometimes it's just too much. Don't be too hard on yourself...

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

from my mind to your hands

Jewelgirl said...

Parenting is the toughest job you'll
ever do because there is so many
emotions and attachment feelings that go into parenting your own children. It is much easier to babysit and deal rationally with
other peoples kids when you don't
have that deep connection. Are you
saying "wait until your Dad gets
home" yet? At their age it might
still work!? I think everyone gets
frustrated once in awhile when kids test the behavior boundaries.

Beck said...

I think EVERYONE is that kind of mom at least once in a while. I was in a horrible, bear-like mood on Thursday and then suddenly had this lovely, heart-lightening weekend and now I am such a different mother. But it's hard and heart-aching to know that you've not been a good mom that day, I know.

Candy said...

I definitely agree that it is in failing that we learn how to succeed. If we didn't do it WRONG, then how would we know what the RIGHT looks like? The contrast between them helps me to see the reasons WHY we choose the right decision. and Doing it wrong helps me to see why I don't want to do that again.

oh.

I'm rambling.

okay, so I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND what you're saying.

Cara said...

The first time Francesco put one of his toys in time out I cried. He wagged his finger at it say "Sit, I said SIT" That was me he was emulating. Thanks for the reminder that it is ok to fail at times. You are so right when you say each day is new, each hour is new.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Those boys aren't going to remember the few days in their lives when their mom blew her top (oh wait, we all remember the time my mom threw a cake at the wall...but we remember it as one of the funniest things ever and not as her being pushed to her limits). Your blog is testimony to how much you love those kids and how much you do with them-- a few bad days a year is award-winning parenting, not anything to feel bad about. Church can really turn a bad day around, can't it?

Tonya said...

I haven't read all the other comments but I would bet they say something like we have all been there at some point and return there a time and again. Focus on the positive and keep working at doing your best that's all you can do!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Oh Lordy, have I been where you are. We're only human, and so occasionally we're bound to lose our cool. My husband travels a good bit with work and I seem to always have at least one day like that during every trip.
You're doing the hardest job there is, and you're doing an awesome job! Be kind to yourself! Thank goodness God gives us a new slate every day. I for one surely need it!

Danielle said...

Even though I haven't reached the stage of dealing with a screaming child, I know that day is coming soon. And when it does, I will remember this story!!! Thanks

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

We've all been there. Sending a hug your way. It will be different tomorrow. I think what everyone has said is true- we're just doing the best we can, learning as we go, and our kids know it so it won't be held against us.

Krystyn said...

I'm glad church was able to refresh you. It typically has the same effect on me.

I feel the same way about it being a new day, hour, minute, second, etc.

Brittany said...

Sorry to hear you had a rough day! You ARE only human, and sometimes our kids push our buttons to the max. Thankfully, you had somewhere to take your kids so you could get away and enjoy mass. Sometimes that is the therapy we need- to step back and take sometime for ourselves.

Fire Hunt said...

I know I've had moments like that.

Chris said...

I would suspect you have struck a chord with every parent on earth.
Kat, I have said things I never thought I would say to my worst enemy, let alone someone I would lay my life down for. I have behaved in ways that put a two year old tantrum to shame. It's almost like an out of body experience, isn't it? Like you're standing to the side, watching this crazy, out of control person scream and rant at your kids.
All we can do is to start fresh, pray for help, and head back into the fray of parenting.
I know parents that, on principle, will not apologize to their kids. They see it as a sign of weakness.
I have no problem apologizing to my kids, if I am in the wrong. They need to know that not only am I not perfect, but that it's okay to not be perfect all the time.
Well, I had more to say than I thought.
Sorry for the novel.

Momisodes said...

I think most parents can relate to your frustration. I know I can, and more frequently than I'd like to admit.

You really are an inspiration for taking life one day at a time. For turning such a trying day as a parent into a new opportunity to do better. Thank you for the reminder.

Kat said...

Chris- Well you've described it much better than I could. And I completely agree with you. I certainly do not hesitate to apologize to my boys when I have crossed the line. I think it is so important. They need to know that everyone makes mistakes. Even mom and dad. And I certainly don't want them to think that my extreme behavior is their fault. It is mine. If I want them to apologize when they are wrong I certainly must lead by example.

Thank you everyone for your comments. I truly appreciate every one of them. :)

Musings of a Homeschooling Mom said...

We all have days like that, Kat. Some Moms won't admit it, but we all do. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes it helps a struggling mom just to hear that someone else is having struggles some days. It is such an awesome thing to be able to post about struggles and joys of life without being judged. It does hurt to feel like you are a failure. I had an awful day a few weeks ago. It wasn't as bad before my kids could tell me exactly how much losing my temper scared them. I have always been quick to apologize and tell them that I make mistakes and am far from perfect. My 10 year old told me that I scare him sometimes fighting with my husband(his dad). It's just minor fighting and I never think it's bad, but anytime they see us or overhear us arguing, they immediately think divorce and worry. I love that he'll talk to me, but hearing that put me in a tailspin. I've been praying for grace and wisdom a lot since then!

abritdifferent said...

I don't think any of us can stand blameless. Parenting doesn't stop when 5 o'clock rolls around, and usually by that time, you've had your fill of the day and have more to go. My 4 year old takes 3, 4 times of hearing something and lately, repeating myself that many times in a calm voices leads to a screaming match and cowering. I hate being angry with the boys and try hard every day to fight it. I feel like it has become much harder this year since I started feeling unwell. Turns out I have a hormone imbalance. It all makes sense, but, it's harder to think and react and sometimes I lose it so fast. Don't feel alone, because you're not. It's a good thing kids are so forgiving, isn't it?

Hilary said...

Get used to those kinds of days. There'll be more of them. But they won't come anywhere near how many good, loving, memorable days they're collecting. Being the perfect parent is for television. You're conquering real life. Three boys.. hats off to you. :)

The Griper said...

ahhhhhhhh the insanity of parenthood. :) now the girl understands why marriage is a sacrament and parenthood is a vocation instead of just being a contract and a job.

ask your self one question, kat. do you remember all the times your parents got frustrated with you?

Kat said...

The Griper- That would imply that I was naughty once in a while when I was younger. I was never naughty. I was the PERFECT child. ;)
HAHAHAHA!!!!
No I don't remember every time. But my parents (especially my dad) did yell an awful lot. Now I know why. But my mom always tells me that by the time they had me (I am the last of 6) they knew more what they were doing and didn't freak out about every little thing. My mom claims she was a mess with the first three. I guess I'll just have to have more kids! ;)

4funboys said...

that was my day yesterday... and today hasn't been much better.

urhhhh

SO... I told my boys I'd do better tomorrow, and the little buggers made me feel even worse when they hugged me and said, "it's ok mom. We know you're 'trying' to be a good mom, even when we drive you nuts."

Tam said...

I had one of those weeks Last week. This week has been a bit better but I need alone time and well that is something my husband does not agree with. I am glad however that I can log on and KNOW that I am normal and the other woman are in the same place I have been! Great post!

Chaotic Joy said...

Girl. What is it about Sunday mornings. THere are SO MANY Sundays when I plop down in the pew mad at my husband, and irritated at myself for screaming at my kids. I can't worship at all because of my mixture of irritation and shame. And a lot of times I just sit there and cry. But like you, by the end of the service I feel better. I feel peaceful. I feel resolved to do better and sometimes that's what it's all about.

painted maypole said...

Jesus is all about fresh starts. Good thing it was Sunday morning. ;)

(ps - you're a great mom, even if you have your moments)

ladybugsnkatydids said...

Thank you for putting into words what I have been trying to tell my husband for years. He never understood, but perhaps when I show him your post, he will. Thank you.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson