Monday, March 22, 2010

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

It's one of those days. You know the kind? Where everything you do is the wrong thing? Today I did the wrong thing. I lost my temper at Ben and I screamed at him and grabbed his hand. Not hard. In fact, he laughed when I did it. But I felt like the worst mother in the world. Like a monster. Even writing this, I am ashamed of myself and somewhat glad that I have no followers to read this. In my previous life, I was a therapist. I have an education in cognitive behavioral therapy for Pete's sake. So I know darn well that physical punishment is an ineffective means of discipline and teaches children nothing more than to hit. Not to mention that reacting out of anger to anything a child does is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. And, given the fact that he is only a year old, it is completely pointless to get frustrated at his behavior and expect to be able to modify it. Right after "the incident" (as I will heretofore be thinking of it) the voice in my head was very condescending in it's criticism. It went something like this "You moron. He's only 12 months old! He doesn't know not to throw his food all over the kitchen! He's not trying to piss you off. He just likes the sound of the splat on the floor and to see how far he can fling it. He is also probably enjoying the cause and effect of your reaction. Get yourself together and stop being such a monster and a bully!" Or something like that. Well, those were some of the thoughts I had. Aside from the "I suck. I suck. I suck." and "Poor Ben. I hope I didn't hurt/scare/mentally scar him."

I feel like one of the worst things about working from home is it feels like this "work" is a job I will never quite get the hang of. I have always had a lot of performance anxiety when starting a new position. I have always agonized for the first several weeks after starting a new job that I don't know what I am doing, I will never be good at this, I will never get the hang of it, and they are going to fire me. Typically within the first several weeks, I get the hang of it, I learn the new stuff that I need to learn and they don't fire me. In fact, sometimes, I get promoted. But being a mom is a job that is always changing so it feels like it's impossible to learn. I definitely went through a huge phase of "I can't do this. I can't do this. I can't do this" when Ben was first born. But, I started to figure stuff out and get better at knowing when to nurse, how to burp him, how to rock him, etc. And, I started to feel more confident. Of course, right about when that happened - he changed. And the challenge wasn't how long to nurse, but how to get him to nap. Or how to teach him to take a bottle from his dad. Or how to soothe him to sleep at night. Or how to get him to eat cereal. Or how to get him to eat finger foods. And on and on and on.

Sometimes I think about one of those old school scrolling screen video games, like Mario Brothers, where you have to jump from one moving ledge to the next and the screen is moving to the right the whole time so that if you don't keep jumping, it will eventually push you off of the ledge you are on and you will get squished. I try to keep adapting and I want to be this awesome mom who is always on top of things and never loses her temper or her patience. I want to always be full of hugs and kind words and never stomp my feet or raise my voice. If I could just be perfect, then I think I would be really great at this parent thing.

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