About a fortnight ago, I had a bad few days with the kids. Well – with everything really, but it was the smalls that got the worst of it.
Everything just seemed to be me saying “no – stop it”. “Don’t….” And as the day wore on the saying turned to snapping, which in turn came to shouting.
And it was all mirrored back to me by my eldest small – my mirror. As she spoke to her little brother the way I had been speaking to her.
And then I cried. A lot. I snapped a bit more – at the smallest small and that was it. I was ready to hang up my parenting gloves because this is not how I wanted to be with them.
My temper was vile when I was growing up. I scared a lot of people. Quite a few more people just didn’t like me… but I didn’t really recognise any way to be different. One day I snapped at one of my sisters, and from that point on I tried to sit on the anger that would erupt out of nowhere.
With adult friends, boyfriends and to my family I seemed to “calm down”. I’m not sure I really did though. Having been on the receiving end of one of my boyfriends temper tantrums (when the cricket/rugby/whatever team lost….) or when he was worrying about something he had absolutely no control or influence over, I swallowed it further down.
The years have passed. The temper remained buried.
I had my first child, and a zen-like pregnancy with her. A wriggly demanding squirmy baby arrived and still my temper remained absent.
My baby became a toddler, and even though she was starting to push buttons my temper stayed cool.
I became pregnant just before she turned 2. My temper rose with vile ferocity. Shouting like a common fishwife yarping across the dock. I miscarried. My temper seemed to abate as I realised the stresses of being pregnant with a second child and having the situation as it was whereby I was doing the lions share of the work with the eldest was not going to be feasible if baby no2 came along. When baby no2 left us, my resolve strengthened and my temper abated again.
Until being pregnant with our last baby. I can make excuses and reasons galore over why I think my temper came back like it did. I was tired running around after the eldest… I was having a boy so hormone levels were different to when I was carrying the eldest… Maybe that’s right – maybe it’s all bunkum.
Now the youngest little one is getting more independent. And his temper is really starting to show. Is this how boys are different? Or is this how this child is learning from being around Mummy Dearest?
Whichever one it is, Mummy Dearest is not going to be any help to him with the way things are. I can’t remember seeing anyone do anything to show me how to deal with my anger as I was growing up. And it’s not a case of “having a conversation” once or twice – it needs to be a constant reaffirming lesson.
If indeed my boy does have a fiery temper, then I need to show him that it’s ok – oh and by the way – this is how you deal with it.
I signed up to a course that was advertised on Facebook by the Parental Stress Centre. Tame Your Temper Challenge. It lasts 28 days. 21 days to change a habit and 7 days to affirm those changes. We’re on day 4 and so far I have not been able to do the daily work needed to make any changes.
Whilst listening to the pre-challenge video earlier, it said in there something along the lines of, “if you want to make changes its up to you to make this a priority”. And all of a sudden all the excuses I was making started to fall away. No – I don’t have the time, and yes, at this moment in time I would rather be in bed getting some sleep, but if I don’t actually do this, then what precisely is going to change?
I’ve talked often with my own clients about the theory of “Learning by Osmosis”. We buy a book on something we want to learn and that book sits on our bookshelves (or in our Kindle *other e-readers are available!!) – untouched. But we bought the book – so surely the contents must pervade into our beings by simply having the book? No? No. And people (including myself) are surprised by this fact.
Just as tools such as hypnotherapy or NLP are billed as “magic bullets” to make changes easily and quickly in our lives, they aren’t. We actually have to do some work on our own part to make it happen and make it stick. And there are times when that will lapse. And that’s ok. As long as we’re mindful, or consciously aware of what we are choosing.
So here is my intent for this course.
I would like the TYT Challenge to bring to my awareness what causes my rage to erupt. By the end of the course I will be able to spot when it is about to happen and take steps to change the course. I will show my own children how to manage their anger when it feels like it can’t do anything else but explode.
I look forward to catching up (now) on as much content as I can.