Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tempering My Temper

I remember being a kid and having screaming matches with my dad. On the one hand, I was a redhead (It's gotten darker over the years. Not sure I can even call it auburn anymore!), so I sort of wrote it off as being expected. On the other, I always wondered if it was because my dad was impatient, short-tempered and a yeller that it was a learned trait. Don't get me wrong - he's an AMAZING father. But his biggest regrets now are those times he fought with us. He apologizes all the time, so I've been trying really hard not to make the same mistakes. Especially since I thought I could just avoid teaching my kids those habits. Until I had S. I've mentioned it before, but she had her first tantrum at 4 months. So now knowing a lot more of it is innate and that I had managed to outgrow the outbursts (except for rare occasions) has helped me reconcile that part of me that I'm not too fond of.

At least, I thought I'd outgrown them.

I've found over the last few months that I am absolutely awful to S at times. I get so angry that I am shaking and have to walk away from her. I've even told her I have to put myself in time-out. I know part of it is that the last six months, she was 2.5-3 so she was pushing my buttons more, and Baby R was born so I was sleeping less. Certainly a dangerous combination. But lately I feel like Pandora's box has been opened, and I can't put the anger away. I'm set off by the tiniest things, and I overreact to her so often. It kills me to see that I've crushed her little soul. I know that words are more hurtful than anything because you never forget them. I try to bite my tongue and use "I" phrases - "I am very angry right now!" instead of "You are making me crazy!" Sometimes I'm successful. Sometimes I'm not. She's the most amazing child, and I know that her tenacity and fiery personality will be assets to her. I want to foster the positives and show her how to manipulate that temper into something wonderful. But I feel that I'm failing at doing that.

I know I need to do some things to help my mood - exercise, eat better, get more rest, do meditation/yoga. I need to do those things for more than just my temper, but this may be the biggest motivation I've found so far. Because I want my baby girl to know how much I love her; not think I'm constantly frustrated with her.


Theta Mom said...

It's such a give and take - isn't it? You'll find your balance soon!

And welcome to TMC! Glad you joined us!!

Robin said...

So here's what I remind myself. If she sees you fail, she learns that we're all fallible. If she sees you apologize for failing, she sees that you are humble and trying to act with grace. We all do the best we can and sometimes we fall short but they learn character from us, not just behavior - and you teach a lot about character even in the less-than-perfect moments. She knows you love her. It's okay for her to know that you have a temper, too - as long as you use those moments to teach her constructively how to handle having a temper.

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks for the positive feedback! And, I'm glad I joined TMC, too!

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

Visiting from our Stumble group. I too would find myself yelling, and while my children are older now, and I have enough sleep it still happens every once in awhile. I think it's OK for kids to see that even adults lose their temper sometimes, as long as it is discussed later, in terms of an apology and why it happened. They need to know we are all trying to do better no matter what our age.
PS I'm a redhead too : )

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

PS I can't find a Stumble button anywhere for your post?

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks, Dana! I completely think the sleep issue makes a difference. I was having trouble finding the stumble button on some people's posts, too. I'm not sure if it's the toolbar on my end of a setting on the blog site? Thanks for letting me know - I'll see if I can figure it out!

Maureen @Tatter Scoops said...

Robin's comment is spot on and I feel like I can apply that to my own life. My father used to be that way and I too am an emotional person. That mommy time out is important and I have to take them a lot dealing with a toddler. I apologize a lot to my son. This is really a post that's very close to my heart. Thanks for sharing.

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks, Maureen!

HonestConvoGal said...

Jennifer, I found this looking for some comfort with our Terrible Twos. J is having a tough time and so am I. W is 9 months, I have had a bout of migraines, and the combo is just too much sometimes. I don't really even have much of a tempter...usually. I'm wondering, do your kids ever hit? I have two boys, but we've been dealing with that one some lately and it's SO frustrating. BTW, I'm officially following your blog.

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