This Saturday, Huff the Babe will be a month old. A MONTH! Already! I honestly cannot believe it. The past 3 weeks have flown by in a sleep-deprived swirl of poopy diapers, cracked nipples, and lukewarm coffee.
I’ve felt emotional the past few weeks, of course; when you give birth, all the hormones you’ve been producing leave your body when the baby does. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, and I’ve felt so happy and proud that my little family is growing.
However, there’s one emotion that I’m not proud of.
I know a lot of my annoyance and anger has been because I’m exhausted. I’ve been getting around 4 hours of sleep every night, my body is still healing, and I can’t do everything (though I tell myself I can). And, sadly, the ones who bear the brunt of my temper are Huff the Hubs and Huff the Tot. But mostly, its Huff the Tot.
I’ll start the day with the best of intentions. I want it to be a good day where I’m “Happy-Fun-Mommy”, not “Scary-Dragon-Mommy”. I tell myself, “You can do this. Just be patient and show Hermione grace.” And then, she throws herself on the floor because she doesn’t want to eat breakfast even though she’s hungry. Or she completely refuses to listen when I ask her to take her chocolate milk back to the kitchen (for the thirtieth time). Then, I flip out. I yell. Or I sigh and think, “Why is my child being such a brat?”
Neither of these are helpful.
And neither of these help me be the mom I want to be.
More often than not, I have found myself lying in bed after the kids are in bed, crying silent tears because of the way I acted earlier in the day.
Why did I react that way?
Why did I say that?
Why didn’t I do A, B, C?
What if I never get control of my anger and I’m like this forever?
I can blame it on the sleep deprivation or the fact that we’re still adjusting to this new life as a family of four (which, I believe are valid reasons to be under more stress). However, I’m reminded of the saying: “Who you really are is reflected by how you react under fire.”
And let me tell ya, having a newborn and a toddler is like trying to put out a fire with a can of kerosene.
I told myself as I lay in bed last night that tomorrow, I’d start anew. I wasn’t going to use the same old reactions and techniques (or lack thereof) because, obviously, they weren’t working for me. I don’t want to be the mom that flips out over a spilled cup of juice that could five minutes to clean up; because it will take years to build back the broken spirit of my little ones.
So I go ogled “How to be a less angry mom”. There were a lot of helpful tips, but the thing that stuck out the most to me was a blog post from a mom that said: “For some irrational reason, I tend to feel that disobedience is a personal insult. I say do this, they do that, and I want to get offended at their audacity. Then I remind myself they are children. They intuitively want to please their parents but they don’t intuitively know how. Unless you want to be nuts all day and night, you cannot take their behavior and choices personally… I can expect a good attitude, but not if I’m a sourpuss all day.”
That hit me deep. I shouldn’t take Huff the Tot’s disobedience as a personal insult. She’s TWO. And if I’m frustrated and huffy and puffy all day, what example is that setting for her? I don’t want my children to be angry and rude. I want them to be full of joy and optimistic. They can’t become those people if they’ve never seen one in action.
Now, after reading, thinking, and praying over my new knowledge and mindset, I feel hopeful for the future. I’m sure there will be days when I still chide myself as I try to fall asleep because I raised my voice or over reacted to a small mistake. We live in a fallen world and no one is without sin, after all. But, for the first time in weeks, I feel like those days will be fewer and farther between.
Have you ever felt this way? How have you coped/changed your behavior?