So. During the course of Sunday afternoon, I:

• Screamed at the tantruming 2-year-old to SHUT UP

• Hauled thrashing toddler to his feet by the neck of his shirt and roughly shoved him towards the hallway, yelling GO TO YOUR ROOM, slammed his door shut behind him at top volume

• Stormed back to his room in order to pound on closed door as loudly as possible, still yelling

• Told the 4-year-old he was being a crybaby for howling when his brother pulled on his shirt

• Fought with husband over something stupid

• Yelled GET OVER IT at toddler for crying about his new shoes

• Yelled at 4-year-old to GROW THE HELL UP after the millionth brotherly wrestlefest ended with him crying

I was ugly, furious, out of control. I imagine my face, transformed by anger, and what it must look like to my children. The unattractive parentheses on either side of my cheeks deepened, brows creased, mouth open. A terrible witch.

At one point, Dylan acted out after being told to stop misbehaving. He threw his cup on the floor with a loud clatter, staring at me, and I started to walk towards him to—I don’t even know. Bark at him not to do that, probably. And Riley saw me coming and clapped his hands over his ears.

I had yelled so much during that day my boy was covering his ears.

At the end of the evening, I made cookies and ate a large amount of the dough. I took three beta blockers. I talked with Riley about how if he needs an adult to intervene when he and Dylan are playing, he should ask for help instead of crying. (Which he immediately put into effect during their next tussle: “Mom! Help! HELLLP!”) I sat Dylan on my lap and indulged his bottomless desire to surf Flickr for pictures of animals. I took slow, deep breaths.

Too late, though. The day had happened, every shameful, shitty, regrettable moment. The moments I hope they forget. Oh please. No need to keep those memories, babies. It’s my job to hold them and learn from them, not yours.

Comments

156 Responses to “Shadow”

  1. lurker on January 30th, 2010 3:14 pm

    seriously, you have anger issues that need to be dealt with or else you are unfit to be a parent.

  2. Kim on January 31st, 2010 8:16 pm

    And THIS is why you are awesome. Every mom has bad days, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you let us know that you do too.

  3. Liz on February 2nd, 2010 7:25 pm

    thank you SOOOO SOOOO SOOOO much for this post, it really helps moms (like me) who have no idea what they’re doing, and are often told that they’re messing up their kids’ lives when it probably wont be a memory for anyone but me.
    You have two healthy, extremely happy and wonderful little boys, regardless of a bad day here and there, cherish that :)

  4. M.Bailey on February 4th, 2010 8:42 pm

    I have two boys as well. I can relate. So can a lot of people – evidently. It’s great to read this – to know that I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing.

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