I remember this day so clearly. My oldest child was 6. He’s a hot tempered guy. Comes by it honestly if you’ve met his Mom. I couldn’t convince a teacher or an outside member of our family that if I tried though. That temper is reserved for home. Those sweet little first borns brown nosing their way through preschool having you thinking damn I did something right.
You DID do something right. But don’t let their behavior inside the home or outside the home whether it’s “good” or “bad” define you as a parent. Did you hear me? Shall I repeat that comment? Their behavior does not define the kind of parent you are.
So many times I’ve found myself embarrassed that the people of the park or the store are judging the kind of Mom I am because of the tantrums that have been had. It’s worse when it’s one of your bigger kids because hey they should know better!
Back to this day I remember so clearly though. My dear sweet boy who made me a Mom screaming “I hate you” to me. At 6 years old. How does this child even know to say that? How do I have a child who tells people they HATE them? Where I have gone wrong. I remembered back to the day pre kids when a neighbor girl told me she had the hiccups and I said “oh no! I hate the hiccups” to which her Mom said “We don’t say hate” and I immediately felt like a huge asshole. I bet her kid never told her she hated her.
All those feelings rose up and I thought I immediately needed to solve this problem. Who does he think he is using that word? We aren’t that kind of family. We don’t talk like that. We are kind! Hate has no place here. Not out of our mouths, not out of our actions.
When you have a baby, a toddler and a 4 year old roaming the house during this predicament you might not be able to solve this problem in a jiffy.
I got so hung up on the word. How dare he?! Who knows what else was piling up in my anxious mind but in that moment I snapped. Trying my best to get a kicking, screaming, red faced child to his room to remove him from the situation because I am in charge dammit! All while keeping my baby safe from the toddler was just a disaster. Ya’ll have to work hard to keep your babies safe from your toddlers too right? Flying power rangers in your house?
In these moments I think about friends who’s kids would never get away with speaking to them like that. And I feel small. Unqualified. Again. Where did I go wrong to land this plane here?
Here’s the thing. We don’t have to fix things right in the moment. It feels like we need to. It feels like that’s what our parents would have done or that’s what a parent who “has control” of the situation would do.
What I’ve learned though is that in this situation, simply acknowledging what was said, that I’m not happy about it and we will revisit it later might be the best solution. I might need to cool off and I might need to keep my other kids safe/fed or attended to in that moment and DAMMIT I can’t do it all at once. I made myself crazy for some years trying to get the discipline in line in that moment. In fear that I’d lost all control, that my kids would grow up to be rude, hate talking human adults, that my family members or friends would judge me for not taking care of it right then and there.
That’s on them friends. You know how to love your kids. You know how to have those conversations and show them the way.
Hate is a strong word. Of course it makes me feel sad to hear my kids say words that hurt. It still happens and we’ll keep on teaching what’s true and good and right and they’ll keep on messing up and they’ll also keep on learning.
Thanks to Wendy Snyder from Fresh Start Families for being a guiding light for me in so many ways. She broke that exact situation down with my in this podcast episode on Why is Everyone Yelling? and helped me realize what’s important. It’s wasn’t necessarily the word. That word was triggering for me but he didn’t realize the magnitude of it. I’m not defined as a mother by the words my kids use. You aren’t either.
All my Love friends. Hugs on hugs on hugs to you.