Posted by: learningwoman | July 23, 2008

Crappy evening

I miss my Mum. She’s away, doing good things for people in another country and I wish she was here, saying soothing things to me.

S. has finished school for the year and he’s tired. Tired enough to be cheeky and hard to get along with. He’s a good person, sweet and kind and thoughtful but like most of us, he’s not fun to be around when he’s exhausted.

For the past few days, he’s been pressing buttons with me until I end up feeling furious. Not just a bit annoyed or upset but beside myself with anger. I start off being very reasonable, I always let them know when they’re reaching a boundary. I want them not to be surprised by big outbursts of anger so when I feel myself getting angry, I tell them. Then I try and find a way to avert it while still sticking to my guns about whatever it is I’ve asked them to do. Sometimes I lose my temper and that’s okay, I’m human and I figure it won’t hurt them to know it.

Tonight before the bath, I explained to S. that even though there’s no school tomorrow, he needed to go to bed at a reasonable time so he could get a proper sleep, since he stayed up late last night. He took it well, we did the bath, read books, put Z. to bed and then I settled down to tell S. a story. I reminded him again that he wouldn’t be coming downstairs and invited him to snuggle up.

He started having a tantrum. Z. woke up and started to cry, I calmed him and spoke to S., who wasn’t listening but was working himself up into a hard-done-by fury. I knew he was tired, so I just hugged him and led him to bed, telling him gently but very firmly that it was time for bed and he needed to stop now.

He didn’t. He freaked out and suddenly, just like that, I turned into my mother. I don’t mean my friend, the person I can talk to about anything in the world, I mean the woman she was when I was a child. Post-natally depressed and shrieking.

I yelled, I shouted, I worked myself up into a towering rage and I said things to my little boy that I regret. He cried and I became cold and distant. I wished him goodnight, hugged him perfunctorily, and came downstairs to ring my Mum, feeling dreadful already and forgetting she was away.

Dad answered the phone. He’s good my Dad but he isn’t what I needed just then, he’s too attached to advice-giving and the need to be right to be able to listen to me properly at times like this. I listened to what he had to say and then said goodbye.

Then A. rang. He’s good too but again he wants to present me with solutions and I just wanted to lie down and weep.

I don’t want to live in a house full of anger and freaking out. I don’t mean that I want things to be controlled and bland, just that I don’t want this. I don’t want to teach my kids that the way to deal with things is to become enraged, or cold and distant and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of those teachings when they’re teenagers and adults.

I went back up to hug him and he’d fallen asleep, his pillow wet with tears and it made me cry harder than before.

I can’t be objective about this stuff tonight. I feel as though I’ve failed myself and my boys.

Tomorrow will be better, things usually are with a bit of perspective but tonight I’m worn out and I need a cup of tea.



  1. You’re not living in a house full of anger and freaking out. You’re living in a house that is mostly fun and sweet, with appropriate anger when things are unreasonable. Kids need to see anger, sometimes – and then they need to see apologies and moving on. It’s how they’ll learn it all.

  2. Kate said what I would say (only much more eloquently).

    I don’t often get to that rage point, but I have been there a few times. I know how you feel.

    You’re human, and like Kate said, it’s how they learn how it’s done. You’ll apologize tomorrow and have a good talk about it.

    Hugs, though, b/c really I do know how you feel.

  3. agreed with the other comments. They need to know that you’re not invincible so that they won’t be afraid to make mistakes when they’re parents themselves. It can be so easy as a child to turn a parent into a superhuman being, and the shock of finding out they aren’t can be really tough when we’re older. when we’re younger and we learn to understand our parents are just like us only taller, things are much more manageable and reassuring, even if they can be painful.
    Cheer up. Our house is like that most days 🙂

  4. Thank you for the perspective.
    I think after a day of whingeing and the kids winding each other up, I was just tired and overwhelmed.

    I don’t think anyone, especially my family are likely to think I’m superhuman anytime soon. 🙂

    They see the full range of emotions here, just not usually so dramatically.
    Things are very gentle this morning..

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