When people ask me what I do, I usually reply with a self depreciating “Oh, I’m just a mum”.
Umm, please wait right there while I inner monologue, “EXCUSE ME?! ‘JUST’ A MUM?! What am I saying? No, I might not be working secularly at the moment, but I’m not “just” an anything. Why do we insist on putting ourselves down?”.
Parents of both sexes are so much more than “just” anything. In any single week (or day) most will wear all of the following hats, and maybe hold down a career as well.
Many parents job descriptions include Home and Lifestyle Manager, Nurse, Doctor, Personal Chef, Cheerleader, Housekeeper, Personal Chauffeur, Investigator, Judge, and Jury! Then we of course have the roles of Hairdresser, Wardrobe Stylist, Life Coach, Family Therapist, Childhood Psychologist, Teacher, and Repair Person. The list goes on with Finance Manager, Art Director, First Responder, Lifeguard, Family Day Carer, Personal Assistant, Personal Shopper, Nutritionist, and Event Coordinator. Add in Sleep Specialist, Speech Pathologist, Singer, Travel Guide, Seamstress, and Professional Listener, and the list is probably fairly complete but there is always room for things that I’ve forgotten!
We wear these hats willingly, and do so often with no prior experience, and no instruction manual. We do it while battling our own trials, many of us are living with depression, anxiety, and other chronic health issues. We face a large variety of both internal and external stress each day and try to not let it affect the small humans we are blessed to be raising.
Is it any surprise when sometimes all this becomes overwhelming and we snap?
Oh yes, the dreaded parental meltdown, the one where we resort to our 2 year old selves and throw a temper tantrum all of our own. I’d consider it a challenge for any parent to truthfully say that they have never lost their cool and raised their voice a little too much, and a bit too forcefully when confronted with a child who can move as slow as molasses and a rapidly approaching deadline to leave the house!
You are HUMAN. You have emotions and frustration is just one of them! Give yourself a break, do not beat yourself up too much over this. No, I’m not saying it is right to yell at your kids, not at all, but these things happen and berating yourself is not going to help. Anger, Frustration, Anxiety, Depression, and even just simple stresses of life sometimes overwhelm us.
I use these times to teach the boys. I apologise, I make it clear that I am not apologising for correcting them, but I am apologising for the way I did it. I explain that my reaction was an unacceptable way for me, or anyone, to act. That even as a grown up, I make mistakes too, and I’m sorry if they were upset or their feelings were hurt by the way I acted. I apologize again and tell them that I am very ashamed for the way I reacted.
Then I ask if they will forgive me, and tell them that I love them very much. Kids are very forgiving. They need to see their parents are human and make mistakes too, and can own them and apologise. If a child sees that their mum or dad is not afraid of saying sorry for mistakes it helps them to know that they are safe to own their own mistakes.
I can never remember my parents apologizing to me if they lost their temper. It just was not the done thing. I learned that children were to be seen and not heard and that a child’s rights were secondary to adults.
I’m not a parent who believes that my children should always get their own way first, or that they are free to interrupt adults. Not at all, in fact I’d say I’m probably a fairly strict mum and that we have very strong moral guidelines and teach deep respect in our household, but I do believe that children deserve the same respect when they have been treated poorly.
If I would apologize to an adult for a certain behaviour, then I would apologize to my child.
We all lose our cool from time to time. We are not perfect, our children are not perfect, we are all just doing our best with the tools we have available to us.
Remember your children love you! You love them. That is what this all boils down to at the end.