Thursday, February 11, 2010

Channeling Joan Crawford

On most days, I make passing references to my sons' future therapy bills, and laugh.

Most of the time, it's my weak attempt at humor.

But then, there are days like this.

I've been living a full 24 hours every sixty minutes, and during each "day" I feed Joel, clean up his booster seat, load the dishwasher, drink a sip of coffee, read aloud the book about the bulldozer again, search for the missing sippy cup, tell Owen to turn the TV off, tell Joel to stop eating toilet paper rolls, tell Owen to stop riding his brother like a mechanical bull, look frantically out the window to see if the snow has melted, and then I go into the kitchen, where Joel is madly gesticulating at the refrigerator, simply famished.

It's been getting old, and I'm getting testy.

I decided  to go the bathroom with my smart phone to read blogs, hoping for a moment's peace. After all, "Mommy needs privacy." While I was in there, Owen opened the refridgerator and gave half a bag of shredded cheese to Joel and kept the other half for himself.

By the time I came out of the bathroom, my entire kitchen looked like a nacho bar.

The yelling and finger pointed that followed wasn't pretty. As I was doing it, I felt like Joan Crawford, and yet I couldn't stop myself.  I even said, "No shredded cheese EVAH-ER!"

I need thearpy.

We're fine now. I apoligized to Owen for not controlling my temper. He forgave me, because he always forgives me.

But this is the fear that keeps me up at three AM:

When will he stop forgiving me?

What am I teaching him about anger?

And, since everybody says that I look like Cynthia Nixon, will she play me in film based on Owen's tell-all memoir?
"I told you no shredded cheese! Now I'll have to cut you." 

These are serious questions, and I ask, in the spirit of the sisterhood---How do you control your temper? Not just with kids, but with anybody?

After all, I really don't want to be portrayed by Miranda. 

(Besides, I think I look like Beyonce). 



Mel said...

I was Joan for a while, postpartum furor after the second one, and even sunk to pretending Prozac worked for a while. Turns out, I'm not a patient person. I yell when I'm provoked, and boy-oh-boy kids can provoke you. I'm just wrapping up my yelling years, about 12 years later, and although menopause might have made me meaner, tired trumps all. It takes energy to come that unhinged, so now, wrangling teens in my elderyears, I'm trying to laugh as much as I can. But back in the day, a spilled milk, for the umpteenth time, would have me shreiking. At little kids. Yeah, I suck, and I have guilt, still. But the good thing is they don't remember that mom very much, if at all. They remember this old one, and I have to remind them how awesome I was too, and how very much we laughed when they were little silly messy things!
Thanks for the memories and the laugh! Wish I had answers for you, not just empathy.

Erin said...

I don't control my temper. I'm sure my children will require countless hours of therapy later in life.

I love Cynthia Nixeon & can't wait to see your movie on Lifetime!

Melani said...

When I get mad at whatever they are doing (Brandon making a mess, again!) I try to be calm, and talk in a stern voice, rather then yell, because that just makes them more upset...but yeah if I came out to cheese all over the kitchen I would be pissed, too, and probably yell. The kids need to know the rules and follow them, accordingly and then we can act accordingly.
Lately, I have been praying in the morning, to be the best mom, wife, sister, daughter and care giver, and to ask God to help me thru the day. We have the power to pray and ask God for help whenever we need to. Maybe take a deep breath and count to ten and then tackle the problem, that seems to help me too!

blueviolet said...

If Miranda portrays you in the movie, please tell her to wear a bra. She's looking a bit droopy these days.

Robin said...

In that situation..ya happens..if you have time to think...deep breathing is are resilient and its what happens after, that counts more..Ive yelled for sure , but thats not what is remembered...its not the best way but it does happen, make plans for next time..try and see a situation before it starts, assess early on and have a plan..there is no perfection in this job, and if there were it wouldnt count as much as connectedness and relationship...thats what they will take with them.

clearness said...

The more frustrated I get the more I start singing to the kids "I told you to buckle yourself in. You are a big girl now. If you don't buckle yourself in.......We Just Won't Go Today

(To the tune of.....Round and round the cobblers bench the monkey...)

For some reason the kids start listening better when I sing....and me using more energy to sing, helps me diffuse my frustration.....

On bad days, I'll sing every single word.....

mama-face said...

Yummy. Nachos.

I would head straight back to that bathroom. I'm not exactly the stellar example of parenting tho.

Good luck.

Corrie Howe said...

I'm glad BlueViolet said it, I didn't want to make the comment in my head about the sagging.

I don't know if this helps, but I wouldn't worry about Owen stop forgiving you. Look at all the abused women and children who keep returning and the Stockholm Syndrome. And you aren't anything like these.

Paying for therapy...well that's another story.

Coby said...

I have days like this, and I'm NOT trapped by snow.

Honestly, what really makes all the difference in the world for me is spending time in prayer and reading my Bible - definitely in the morning, before the boys wake up, and even here and there throughout the day. I find it hard(er) to yell at my kids when my Bible is sitting right there! Two Proverbs that always get me right in the heart are Proverbs 15:1 and Proverbs 16:32. I want my children to follow this example - so I have to do it to!

Some days I do better than others. I was Joan Crawford for about a month after Peanut was born, and now every time I ovulate she comes back.

Don't forget about grace!

AudreyO said...

Yelling is frustration. So you explain why you've yelled and you seriously work on it. I speak from YEARS of experience when I say that. These days as soon as I start to yell, I catch myself and walk away. They love you. They'll forgive you.

noisycolorfullively said...

I look like Selma Hayek. Or perhaps Jennifer Lopez.

I yell. I yell and scream and throw laundry and foam blocks, but of course, you know that. I can't tell you what to do to stop the screaming, but I can tell you that you are not alone. And I believe that if we use the in between times to drown them in hugs and love and smooches and stories and games and cookies and snuggles, then they'll forgive us our screaming.

On the upside, you have the advantage of seeing your boys get their own crazy parenting when they grow up and have kids of their own.

lisleman said...

I guess you need to ask my now grown kids if I ever learned how to control it. I discovered I did have a control/shutoff valve issue. My oldest daughter suffered the worst of it but she had her issues too. I don't have any answers but I do wish I could have seen it coming before they became teens. That's is the toughest testing period. I did get better once I identified my issue.

Well at least your boys shared.
Oh I added your button to my new button collection.

michelle said...

I yelled a lot until I realized I really wasn't angry with the kids, I was angry at someone else.

And I'm with Mel. Yelling just sucks all the energy out of me and gives me a headache and makes me regretful.

I think you look like Beyonce too

Bethany said...

you are SO more Beyonce.
What's up with CD's boobs?
No shredded cheese ever is funny, isn't it?
I think you're doing pretty fantastically. Showing kids that you're human and can get overwhelmed and then recover and apologize is all good.
I'd be going mad, would've broken into JC many 60min/24 hours ago.
You know what I mean.

Bethany said...

CN, not CD. I never get celebrities names write and was too lazy to scroll up.

Cat said...

I think we're all due a Lifetime movie at some point.

I think it's OK to get angry if there's a reason. Kids need to learn that actions have consequences, and when those actions affect you, one of those consequences is going to be that you have an emotional reaction.

I figure it's better for my son to learn to deal with emotions when he's young. You know, so he doesn't cry like a sissy when his football coach yells at him to do push ups.

Traci said...

Oh, have I ever been there!!!! Shredded cheese is ugly stuff on anything other than an enchilada so don't be too hard on yourself. While none of us want to yell at our kiddos, last time I looked mothers are human (even Mary was human!). You took the time to apologize to your child -- just like he should when he makes a mistake. And he forgave you just like you would forgive him. When you chose that, you chose to make it a teaching moment wherein he sees that we all have emotions that can get the best of us, but we can also work to make it better. I know you love being a mom but some days are hard (right now, I don't even get private time in the bathroom!), so be kind to yourself. Personally, I can see Julia Roberts's big smile on the DVD cover of Owen's memoir. Just saying.

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

HUGS, Nancy. I never really learned to control my temper. I'm just mellowing out with age. :-D Good to know there are some benefits that come along with the hormone changes and saggy boobs.

Unknown Mami said...

Well Beyonce can sing, but Cynthia Nixon is a better actor.

You are only human, Beautiful. We all have our issues. You may lose it at times, but you acknowledge it and apologize, which is more than many parents do. Perhaps you could have acknowledged that you were upset, turned around and got right back into the bathroom until the anger was more manageable. You are not a Stepford mother, you have emotions and sometimes they will get the better of you.

Now on to a more serious issue. Next time you have a nacho bar disaster on hand, bust out the chips and invite the neighbors over.

Mama Zen said...

If I ever figure out how to control my temper, I promise that I'll share!

Tracie said...

I'm sure he will be fine. And if he isn't Cynthia Nixon will be too old to play you when the movie comes out.

Minivan Lover said...

I'm with blueviolet and clearness- Cindy's boobs are in need of an over the shoulder boulder holder.

I sing too- a lot.

I think it's distracting or a twisted form of torture- do what I say or I'll just keep singing...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

You've already gotten so many thoughtful (and funny) comments, but I just wanted to add that considering the loving and deeply thoughtful person you are, I'm sure that even if you lose your temper once in a while, it's probably not as bad as you think. Besides, nobody's perfect and as Unknown Mami said, so long as you are apologizing and acknowledging your imperfections, your kids are learning what they are supposed to. We are only human. And one of life's most important lessons is to learn how to deal with good as well as the bad. And I'm with Unknown Mami on the nacho cheese fiesta on your kitchen floor. Definitely call me up. My kiddos love eating anything directly off a kitchen floor.

When did I become my Mom said...

I have just resigned myself to being a work in progress. I yell, but I'm consistent. I don't yell at everything, but I do make sure that the important rules get kept.

Manners and safety are important.

Other than that I am learning not to take myself too seriously, and allow them to see me as the flawed human being I am, and hope they take more of the good than the bad.

Judging from what I read of you... you're doing just fine sweetie... :-)