You learn a lot about what you really sound like when you have kids.
A car pulled in front of me shortly before a red light. From the back seat, I hear “Really, dude?”
As I was opening the dairy drawer to get some butter out, a bottle of ramune (a Japanese soda, which comes in special glass bottles) hit the floor and exploded. After trying (and failing) to stem my own stream of profanity, I had to then shush my daughter’s rant, which was along the lines of “Dammit! I am gonna tell that Daddy that he can never buy ramune again! No more ramune in this house! Too breaky!”
Ye gads. I am a snarky, potty-mouthed harpy.
I don’t get a pass with my son, either. Not 20 minutes after he got in trouble for smacking his sister in the head with a Paw Patrol toy (poor thing still has a knot), he screamed at me in rage and confusion for slapping his hands when I caught him playing with the power strip plug. I don’t want him to play with the plug, so I hit him. He didn’t want his sister to play with the toy, so he hit her. With the toy, even. Makes sense, right? So why did he get in trouble?
I should add here that I am not a spanker. I reserve hand slaps, and the occasional tushy smack, for moments when the child is doing something that seriously endangers his or her health – like standing in the high chair, or playing with electricity.
I’m having a hard time justifying yelling at my kids, then giving them grief for yelling at each other (or me!). Telling them not to hit, not to say mean things, not to touch people who don’t want to be touched, then breaking those very rules with them. Yes, I know that sometimes you have to do stuff like that as a parent. But I don’t feel good about it.
There has to be a better way, for all of us.
Part of it is simply being more mindful of what I say and do. Not letting myself get stretched so thin that I snap over stupid stuff. Not getting all road rage-y whenever I get behind the wheel. I need to anticipate and head off things like the head smack. Stay on top of the housework so I won’t be out of the room long enough for the power strip plug to sing its siren song. Most importantly, I need to respond, not react, to situations.
This won’t be easy. But I’ll be a far better mother if I can pull it off.