Sunday, 3 October 2010

When mummies shout.

Most days, even the 5am start days, I am pretty calm. For a mum of a 2 and 3 year old. I do my fair share of semi-yelling "Come on! Come ON!" when i'm flapping out the house to playgroup. I do a lot of deep breathing. But usually, I use the "1,2,3" method, and it works. I say "That is the first time i'm warning you, that's 1". "Now, that's 2" and on "3" it's off to their thinking spot (usually their rooms) for 5 minutes or until they are ready to talk, usually quicker than that, sometimes longer. Most days, for most things, I don't have to go beyond "2" until the afternoon grumps arrive.

But something bad has been going down in our house. I feel poorly. Daughter has the night terrors, so I am up between 4 and 10 times a night. Son is sniffly and needs tissues all night. Daughter has reached the contrary "no!" stage, son has his first testosterone surges and / or behaviour picked up from playgroup. Suddenly, I have two boundary testers, 2 and 3 going on 13. And i'm tired. My mum is having a heart bypass, I'm hating my new medication, and I am this far from constantly vibrating with tension. So, I managed to get them out of the house, and son to playgroup with no major trauma. I managed to sit through toddler group with contrary daughter ("do you want to go on the rocker?" "No". "Do you want to try the slide?" "No." "Do you want to do some painting?" "No". You get the gist), without throttling anyone. We all got back home without being too damp and only one collywobble on the way. But lunch was the straw. The last one. Alright, I know I make food and the chickens eat most of it. I know kids are fussy. I know son in particular is antsy about "wet" food and wants it all "dry". But today, the sandwiches were wrong, oh so wrong, with a tiny smidgeon of mayonnaise on. Cue squalling and weeping worthy of Bernhardt at her best, and then copycat wailing from daughter "And my yoghurt has BITS in!". Did I do "1,2,3"? No. I YELLED. I WAILED. I actually threw the sandwiches away with a flourish, and screaming "DON'T EAT IT THEN!" waltzed upstairs and sat on the loo. I could hear them both, being silent. Then they cried. Then they remonstrated with each other. "Mummy is cross because you didn't eat your yoghurt!" "No, it was your sandwiches!" etc etc. Then they crept, actually crept upstairs and said sorry meekly. Unprompted (thud as I hit the carpet in amazement). They still didn't eat the sandwiches, mind. We all ate crisps instead and felt better.

Do I feel bad about it?Should I be weeping? Kids are little, we shouldn't yell. An adult yelling is probably pretty scary. But I think that once in a while, it does no harm to lose it in a mild way. They should see that adults can have bad days too, and be upset and angry. They should see that the constant carping can whittle away my sanity. And decide which damn sandwiches they want before getting me to make them. They should see, also, that adults can be cross and say sorry. I apologised for shouting, I explained I was tired and in a bad mood. I then used it as a way of pointing out to them why I don't like it when they yell at each other / me/ the world. And then they forgot it and started to argue about who had the Ducati model and who got the Cagiva, before settling it with violence. 1, 2...........


Fenland Textile Studio said...

We are all on antibiotics at the moment!! My youngest has an emotional age of 4 so we have always had to go over the top in turns of sharing our emotions. When I had a temper tantrum in Tesco once though I got funny looks, I was so cross/frustrated that I threw my self on the floor shouting, "I can't do it, I want to be on holiday" etc felt good but it took my a long time to go back into the store. Son stopped his tantrum very quickly. Although 10 he can have 10+ major tantrums a day which are basically toddle tantrums. the problem with him is that they can sometimes last in excess of an hour. A bit like your two he can eat and like ham sandwiches and then one day he will decide that he hates them. On thise days I just accept that he goes hungry.

Somethings I wonder how I kept my sanity!!

The List Writer said...

I once completely lost it in the car, after a long day at work, when my two were about 6 and 3. I had picked them up from the childminders and daughter was throwing a strop because son 'had looked at me funny' and son was throwing hissy fit about wanting to be home NOW and his seatbelt being uncomfortable. Their constant bickering in the back meant that I had nearly driven into the car in front.

I pulled the car over, and really SHOUTED at them both. Then drove home in angry silence (silence all round) before explaining, like you, that I was tired and that their constant bellyaching in the back of the car was actually quite dangerous. They were as good as gold after that!

I think if you only do it occasionally a really good yell can shock them into feeling sorry and clear the air wonderfully.

Mummy Zen said...

Oh, I shouted at my son just yesterday and felt awful afterwards. It's definitely not an ideal parental response and we should probably try to count to ten in those situations before responding! Yet, we wouldn't be human if we didn't lose it sometimes. Like you say, the odd time can do no harm but we should do our best to keep it to a minimum and always apologise and explain why we shouted afterwards (as you did).