This past Saturday was a rough one with my son. We are putting new flooring down in the living and dining room, and it is such a small area that most of the first floor is a wreck. It’s a small enough space that we are trying to get it done really quickly, but it’s detailed work so it’s time consuming. My kid has no patience for anything—not that any four year old does—and we struggled with his tantrums all day. They weren’t his normal type of tantrums, they were the rare explosive, full on losing his mind type of tantrum that he saves for special occasions. My husband nor I were equipped to deal with this today since we are trying to get a major project done and we were put in our place.
My kid didn’t care what we were doing or why. He just knew he wanted more attention and he wanted to go outside and he wanted nothing to do with the work we had to get done. He’s four, it makes total sense—he didn’t really do anything out of the ordinary except for the level of sass he let out. Since the loss of my pregnancy, I have been very cognizant of my son’s needs and I have been really good about my temper. I lost my mind and didn’t know how to get back. I love my son, I am grateful for my son, but I couldn’t even distinguish him in my rage.
Losing my temper with him made me question whether I’m a fit mother and I felt like a terrible person. We are so fortunate, I know I shouldn’t let the little crap bother me—but it does in a really big way. And I don’t want to be like that anymore. I want to be that person who goes with it but I still find myself highly irritable and agitated when things aren’t the norm for me. I know that was part of my I was so short tempered with my boy. My brain couldn’t handle the overwhelm of a major project and a toddler’s constant wheedling. That doesn’t make me a bad mom or a bad person—it makes me human.
Yes, I regret yelling at him. I don’t want to destroy his love of exploration and his curiosity. I do NOT regret setting a boundary with him because he is coddled and spoiled as an only child. I think we all struggle finding the middle ground from time to time and Saturday was that day where the ground felt like it was falling out from beneath me. I’m trying to give myself lee way for the stress of the last few months on top of the overwhelm with work and life in general. I’m also trying to hold myself accountable for sticking with the person I want to be—not the habits I’ve adopted to deal with discomfort amidst change.
We are all learning every day. Whether it is a house project or something at work or in any of our relationships, we all have things to learn. We are also complicated humans so we reserve the right to change who we are at any time. That is ok. There is space for an identity that doesn’t fit in a single box. We are allowed to be this AND that. We are allowed to make our own boxes or to destroy them all together. When it comes to parenting, that game changes on a daily basis. I love my child and one bad day doesn’t make me a failure. It means I’m learning.