I caught myself in a “Scary Mommy” moment today. I’m not proud of it, that’s definitely not who I want to be for my children…but it happens, and I decided to write about it. I’m talking a pull out your hair, throw your hand up, want to scream at the top of your lungs…all around frustrating moment!?!? I’ve had to work pretty hard to consciously change the behaviors, reactions and overall stay in better control of my emotions, to “break the cycle” of the examples I was given growing up. It’s not a quick fix and it’s always a work in progress. However, I feel very strongly about wanting to better myself and am cautious about what I may inadvertently pass on to my offspring, since they are our mirrors and will reflect what we give them.
So yeah, I’ve been dealing with endless whining, crying, needy toddlers nonstop for months and it seems like it’s extra intense these days… It’s frustrating because when they are with Daddy, their emotional displays are at a minimum…they are much more playful and not even half as whiny as when I am around. My other half of course attributes this to the way he interacts with them, versus my more flexible, compassionate, tolerant parenting style. Now by no means do I let them get away with bad behavior, but yes, I tend to try the “you can’t spoil them with love” approach, and I get down on their level and try to talk to them to explain how instead of whining, if they’d simply calm down and express what it is they need or want, I will be more likely to help them. I have tried to let them have their meltdown moment and ignore the undesirable behavior and praise the preferred actions, or stepped in with diversions rather than telling them “no” over and over. It’s hard and despite all my repetition…something is being lost in translation. I always try to keep in mind how excited they are to be learning constantly and discovering the world around them, that at their young ages…there’s only so much I can expect them to comprehend. But seriously, today I had to go “Scary Mommy.”
When I say “Scary Mommy” I mean, I had to harden my demeanor. I used less “flexibility” in my tone and more tough “love.” Instead of completely losing my mind, I had to channel the scary/mean and give it to my 2 “defiant” toddlers who are still learning that Mommy is the REAL boss! I had to stand my ground and endure the extra whines and cries that my stern (loud) voice and facial expressions backed up. I mean, I kinda scared myself! One of the toughest things to do is to look into their innocent eyes and tell them they have to do something they really don’t want to – like cleaning up, going to bed, brushing teeth, etc… It would be so easy to just keep explaining and making the request over and over, or even doing it for them or allowing some bending of the rules, but only so much is up for discussion, and that day I didn’t have much to give, so I went into “Scary Mommy” mode. It’s a constant struggle to maintain patience and positivity when dealing with the little ones, especially mine who are just too full of personality! My older son is 2 and I don’t think it’s so much “terrible two’s” as it is that I have one who is clearly “extra” among his peers. I want nothing more than to nurture his uber outgoing and curious personality… and subsequently give his 53 weeks younger brother the same attention and praise, but it is exhausting!
I don’t have the answers, or “tips” on how to stop yourself from being scary mommy or how to get your toddlers to cut out the whines and cries…my blog is more to vent and share my experiences, in hopes that someone who reads this can relate and know they’re not alone. At the end of the day, I will stick to my preferred parenting methods of giving my kids options, so they can feel like they have some control and make decisions, I will parent with love and offer as many hugs and kisses are needed, I will do my best never to raise my voice and scream when they are defiant…BUT if they get too out of control…scary mommy can and will make a cameo. I honestly don’t want to be “Scary Mommy,” but I’m keeping that hat handy in case she decides to show up again.