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.

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Tammy
Tammy
12 years ago

Oh, aren’t those days fun? Ugh. I hate those days where nothing goes right and you end up yelling at everyone around you. It happens to almost everyone, Linda, no matter how much you love your kids. Chin up…tomorrow will be a better day.

pam
pam
12 years ago

You are human. We’ve all been there. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

Shannon
Shannon
12 years ago

Luckily for us all-to-human parents, our kids tend to remember the good, and forgive us quickly for our transgressions….

I know I’ve looked ‘scary’ to my kids at times as well, and while my stomach was twisting and turning in guilt, I found that all is usually forgiven in the next moment…or when they get up from their naps with a sunny smile for you. (Often that happy greeting just twists the knife a little deeper, though, doesn’t it?)

We all lose our cool…every parent every where. All we can do is try to reign it in, take a deep breath and try to do better next time….

Maggie
Maggie
12 years ago

I feel your pain. We had a day like this too over the weekend. It just makes you feel awful. The guilt is overwhelming. The next day was a better day and all we can hope is to learn from these experiences and handle it better next time.

Katherine
Katherine
12 years ago

Okay, not to offer an unwanted comment, but where was JB all this time? Sounds like you needed a break. Or was it one of those both-parents-operating-on-overdrive kind of weekends? Must have been something in the alignement of the planets too. I had a difficult dog-mom weekend.

Titanium
12 years ago

Today will be better; kids are mightily resilient, they tend to remember the good and not the bad (fortunately for us).

Time.For.A.Longgggggg Run.

Quick, before the kids realize you’re leaving…

Karen Lee
Karen Lee
12 years ago

That day happens to all of us..mine was usually driven by Fear. Fear of failure, fear of boredom, fear of poverty, fear of death (mine, hers), fear of just about anything.

I would sometime stop, breath and try and identify where the fear was coming from…..it usually helped.

Brigid
12 years ago

I so know where you are coming with this one. Sometimes I catch sight of myself when I’m yelling and I scare myself, so no wonder the children are frightened. And I wonder if the apologies begin to sound hollow when I continue to issue them, though thankfully usually about a month passes before total armageddon takes place again.

Liz Brooks
12 years ago

It happens to all of us.

jennifer
jennifer
12 years ago

Ah yes, the rough days. And it never fails that they reflect our assholish behaviors and we become even bigger assholes because WHY ARE THEY DOING THAT and it distracts us from realizing that they are reflecting us and it all gets progressively and exponentially worse until we all are behaving like those feral people on tv.

My older girl is a bit younger than Riley, and it’s starting to occur to me that she will be able to remember some of this “daily life” stuff one day. Crap. I’d better bust out some glitter soon. Memory overwrite.

At least they are learning that we are all complex creatures who have good days and bad and love them all the same, just as they love us. I’m counting on that. Or bribery.

Erin W
12 years ago

I had one particularly awful day a few weeks ago. I screamed at him, I screamed at nothing, I screamed at traffic. I cried hysterically and was convinced that someone should come take my child away because I was obviously an unfit mother.

But, at bedtime that night, he still crawled into my lap (my “yap’ as he calls it) and we snuggled and read stories together and he said he loved me.

Thank you for sharing your not-so-stellar parenting moments with us. I don’t know if every mom had those days, but this mom definitely does, and truly, until I read these words, I thought I was the only one. Its nice to know I’m not the only mom who completely loses her shit every once in a while.

Amanda
Amanda
12 years ago

You are human. I think during bad days that we adults tend to remember a lot more than the kids. They forgive us, but the hardest thing is forgiving ourselves.

I find it refreshing to hear about the real parenting moments. So many times you read blogs of others and wonder if they live in some fantasy land. Everything seems to be full of sunshine & unicorns. Thanks for keeping it real. I’d almost guarantee there are many other moms like myself who are reading and say “Been there, done that” I appreciate your honesty.

Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

It happens to all of us.

MelV
MelV
12 years ago

Oh my god it must have been in the air this weekend. And not that im glad you had a crappy weekend but im SO glad its not just me!! I acutally smacked my boy in the head on Sunday. Smacked him, across his head. I have never ever done that but 15 minutes into the 3rd massive screaming pinching scratching meltdown of the weekend, i just wanted to snap him out of it and apparently that seemed like a good idea. I will probably never forgive myself for that.

There is no hand book for this, and that sucks.

Colleen
Colleen
12 years ago

I’ve had similar days – where I feel like crap for the way I’ve yelled or grabbed at my 3 1/2 year old, angrily pushed him into the time-out chair, and think, I really hope he doesn’t remember this, because I love him so very much, and don’t want him to have memories of a screaming, angry mother. But some days his behaviour (misbehaviour) strikes me the wrong way and I react. And then I try to learn from it, hopefully to react more effectively the next time. Because there will be a next time – another tantrum, or defiance in public as I’m trying to run errands…

Don’t beat yourself up. From all that I read on this blog, you are a fantastic mom. The boys will remember and appreciate that, and the times you are pushed to the breaking point by their behaviour will decrease over time.

Molly
Molly
12 years ago

There does not pass a day when my almost-4 yr old, who is a mighty drama queen who has been yelled at more than I care to admit, says, ‘Mami, remember when…’ and proceeds to dig up some obscure happy moment like when we took pumpkin muffins to her class or we saw baby ducks on a walk. I know from all your posts that you are creating plenty of those happy moments with those boys – so forgive yourself a Sunday like that where bedtime can’t come soon enough and everyone needs a timeout from each other!

Jen @ lifelove'n'wine
12 years ago

This may or may not make you feel better…but here it goes. I do remember my mom doing similar things…yelling similar things…probably not from when I was that young but when I was a little older definitely. But when I look back on it, I just think about what a wonderful mom she is (she really is) and how I feel kind of bad for pushing her to her limit so often. Everyone has a breaking point…and I know from all of the other things my mom has said and done to/for me that she loves me more than anything. Everyone has a breaking point, and I am the type who also will yell stupidly once I’ve reached mine. You are a great mom, like my mom. If/when your kids remember these incidents they will just think “Man, I’m really lucky that mom loved me enough to put up with THAT”.

C @ Kid Things
12 years ago

We all have those days. We do. Tomorrow is always better. Well, ok, maybe not ALWAYS, but USUALLY. Eventually, though, it does get better.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

I hate it when I have days like those. Kids just take so much patience and I don’t think the majority of us are lucky enough to be BORN with the kind of MECHANISM that keeps us from EVER freaking out at our kids. Some days it just happens. They forgive easily though, don’t they? : )

Christina
12 years ago

Been there, done that. Felt the same way at the end of it all. In fact, something in the air? Because this is how I was/felt on Saturday by the end of the days and I promised myself to change, be different, stronger in the morning. But I woke up feeling the same way Sunday. I took a run and it changed the whole world.

Anyway the point is you are not alone. I will not say all parents feel this way but many do. We have our moments, lose our grip and freak out. The fact is you are not like this all the time and it is okay for your kids to know that you are human and not a fucking stepford wife! Hang in there.

Jen O.
12 years ago

Thank you for writing this, and so honestly. I know it’s something we all go through sometimes, but it often feels like we’re the only ones. I actually told my 3 1/2 year old that I didn’t like her this weekend. I said “I’ll always love you, but right now I don’t like you.” I felt like shit for hours afterwards. It’s not a concept a toddler should hear. I, too, hope it’s moments like these that their little brains chose not to remember and ones that we can learn from.

Jill
12 years ago

I love this. I don’t love that it happened to you, but I love that you were willing to share it because it makes the rest of us not feel like we are isolated heathen monsters when it happens to us. And I, too breathe. Some days are one breath at a time. Thank you for such a raw, honest post.

susical
12 years ago

Thank you for honestly sharing this sort of thing. It happens to everyone, and while those sorts of days are obviously not preferable, pretending we’re above them does everyone a disservice.

Kris
Kris
12 years ago

You’re definitely in good company. I clotheslined my kid this weekend. You know, like they do on those stupid wrestling shows. He wanted to chase the dogs outside & came running at the door like a freaking bull, and I grabbed his collar and yanked him back.

They’ll forget. And the rawness will wear off for us, too.

melissa
12 years ago

I think we all have those days. Thank you for being brave enough to share yours. You made me feel like it’s okay and reminded me that I’m only human.

kakaty
12 years ago

This was exactly where I was this weekend with our 3 YO. She’s just, so…so obstinate lately and not listening at all and getting into all kinds of trouble. I feel like I’m yelling, and repeating and nagging ALL THE TIME and I just don’t know what else to do. She pulled the “I hate you” route for the 1st time and I was both enraged and dumbstruck with saddness at the same time.

This morning, after a struggle to get her to do anything, including put on the clothes she picked out last night she started to fiddle with the plugs in an outlet and I barked/screamed/yelled like nothing I’ve done before. She turned, looked at me with an angry face then crumpled into tears and crawled to hide behind her bed, saying she was scared of me. No amount of cuddles and explaining the danger made me feel any better.

sooboo
sooboo
12 years ago

Thanks for sharing this. The husband and I had a similar weekend with each other. One thing I’m trying to practice is to not look back except to learn. Guilt is a useless emotion.

mindy
12 years ago

I have about one of those days PER month. They are not pretty. They are, however, normal. You can only move forward.

I hope that today and all of your tomorrows are much better.

Valerie
Valerie
12 years ago

I wouldn’t beat yourself up over this. I actually do remember my father’s rage when we were growing up (WAY worse than what you described)…but it is far outweighed by how much I know he loved me and is here for me and has always been here for me and loved me.

Sande
Sande
12 years ago

I don’t have kids, but the dogs sure heard it from me yesterday. I spent three hours cleaning the house only to have one of them step in dog shit and bring it in the house. I had to get out the carpet cleaner and everyting. I was pissed! I yelled, screamed, swore, and yelled some more almost to the point of tears. I yelled at the husband to lock the effing dogs up in the kennel and they were never to be let out AGAIN! When I went down to the basement later to clean the dog shit up on their kennel, they both stayed where they were, looked at me with their sad pathetic eyes as I cleaned up the dog shit. I felt terrible but was still contemplating putting them both up for adoption. This morning their pea sized brains forgot all about the night before, but I didn’t. The husband wanted to know if I would do this to kids, if we ever had any someday and I told him this is why we don’t have kids! I feel for you. I think there was something in the air yesterday.

renee
renee
12 years ago

my 17 year old will now yell at his 12 y/o sister to “get in the bathtub before I whip your butt” and then look at me and crack up laughing……I feel like crap but then realize they aren’t scarred for life from it either!

Ashley
Ashley
12 years ago

I’m not a mom, so please excuse my ignorance but how are you not losing your shit daily with the rough housing and temper tantrums. You deserve a god damn medal. Where’s JB?

Andrea
Andrea
12 years ago

I’m so glad to read this today b/c I yanked my kid out of indoor play at the Y today (after 2 warnings we’d leave if he pushed other kids) and I did it rather forcefully and screamed at him in the lobby. Not my finest moment.
Maybe it is something in the air or it’s the time of year – seems like everyone’s kids are being extra shitty lately…

MommyMagic
MommyMagic
12 years ago

I too had a night like this not so long ago. I called for a do over but I know that can’t happen. One of my issues is chronic pain in my back and when it gets bad, the kids can’t do anything right. Normally I try to remove myself from the situation but at bedtime with two kids and i’m flying solo there is no escape.

The last time I was in for a treatment on my back, the hospital tv station flashed a short blurb about chronic pain being related to child abuse. I can see it, but i will NOT live it.

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

Oh yes. Yes.

But I hate to hold onto them, those memories. And I have a hard time learning from them. I find myself in the same places, time and again.

Shanna
12 years ago

My heart goes out to you. I’ve had those days. So. much. guilt. :( I hope today is better.

beach
beach
12 years ago

The reason I love your blog is because you write about the unpretty stuff. Parenting is not all cookies and sunshine. My 19 year old just recently moved out(in a 19 year old tantrum way). It was not pretty. We have been in contact, but he is in the “you sucked as parents”stage.The funny thing is I remember being in that stage, it just sucks to be on the parenting end of it. Cut yourself some slack. Tomorrow is another day.

beach
beach
12 years ago

The reason I love your blog is because you write about the un pretty stuff. Parenting is not all cookies and sunshine. My 19 year old just recently moved out(in a 19 year old tantrum way). It was not pretty. We have been in contact, but he is in the “you sucked as parents”stage.The funny thing is I remember being in that stage, it just sucks to be on the parenting end of it. Cut yourself some slack. Tomorrow is another day.

Jan
Jan
12 years ago

This post brought tears to my eyes. Why? Because I am remembering my shitty weekend that is eerily similar to yours. The worst was when my 4 year old turned to Daddy and said “Boy, Mom sure is mean.” Yep. That right about sums it up.
Today we are all love and cuddles and it is a much nicer feeling.

g~
g~
12 years ago

And the funny thing is that in moments of NO clarity or perspective, I seriously wonder why they fight with each other, act angry or get so easily frustrated. Hello, dumbass, it’s because they’ve been watching me.
The good thing is that you are providing fodder for them to bond over as my siblings and I discuss/laugh/commiserate with how my Mom used to get right in our faces, hiss, “LEAVE.ME.ALONE” and run and lock herself in the bathroom.
And quite honestly, there’s a tiny bit of solace in the fact that I am not the only one who acts like an asshole and crosses lines of appropriateness in frustration sometimes.

sweetsalty kate
12 years ago

Please tell me a ‘beta blocker’ is an amnesiatic drug that allows you to continue to forget that you do not live in Cabo San Lucas with three pool boys.

Catriona
Catriona
12 years ago

Thanks for this, and hugs for you. I know exactly where you’re coming from.

Lola
12 years ago

I’m so, so, so glad you wrote this. I had a similar Sunday and I feel horrible about it now, but yesterday, yesterday I was wishing I would get a work assignment that allowed me to travel for at least 3 days. I have a 2 and 5 year old — that are physically exhausting and an 18 and 21 year old — that are mentally exhausting. :o(

Its good you document this, because later when they are adults, and they are feeling JUST LIKE THIS, they will know it is completely normal.

Andrea (@shutterbitch)
12 years ago

You are not alone. I wish I could say I don’t know what this feels like, but lo, I do. Please don’t give yourself a raft of guilt over it. You are learning just as they are, and so am I and so are we all.

Annie
Annie
12 years ago

I really like how I can come to your blog and know that not only you, but all of your readers as well, know what I am going through.
I fucking HATE when mom’s talk about their kids as if nothing like this ever happens. Kids are hard. Or at least mine are. Sometimes you dont know what else to do other than get mad. Its sucks but its the truth.
What do you think the settlers did? Do you think our great great great grandmas bent down to their 2 year olds and sweetly said “Sweetie, can you please stop hitting your brother? Thank you baby.” after working on the farm all day. Fuck no.
So, dont feel too bad. We are all in it and it does get better.

yaya
12 years ago

Been there, doing that.

No sage advice just a shout out that you are not alone, which is usually something that makes me feel better, when at least one friend or person says “omg, I DO that too” it makes me feel vulnerable & human…I am still blindly clawing at the air for that UNDO button (like the EASY button) but I always feel a wee bit better knowing I am not alone in my actions or thoughts, you are unique-just like everyone else :-)

Ris
Ris
12 years ago

They won’t remember, really, they won’t. They’ll remember looking at pictures of animals with you on Flick’r, or snuggling in the early morning, or any number of the other amazing things you do for them. You are the only one that will carry these scars and be gentle on yourself, you’re only human.

Wendy
12 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. Parenting is just so damn hard sometimes.

My least proud parenting moment: When my son was about 12-15 months old he went through this biting phase. He hardly bit anyone but me, but for awhile there he was biting me every day. We tried everything to deal with it. Time out, reading “Teeth are Not for Biting” one thousand times, etc, etc.

One day I was holding him and he leaned over and bit me hard on the shoulder. I yelled in pain, roughly set him on the ground and then flicked him on the mouth. He looked at me and burst into loud wailing tears.

I can’t tell you how guilty I felt (feel) at that moment. I hurt him. I scared him. I felt like a monster. Who the hell flicks a baby on the mouth? Who could yell at a baby? I started crying too and we both sat on the kitchen floor in tears.

Honestly, it is kind of scary telling this story but I think there is something powerful about people being honest about how difficult parenting can be. I know at that bad moment I felt like the worst mother and, in a way, it helps to know that we all fall short somedays.

Michelle
Michelle
12 years ago

The look on my toddler’s face when I yelled at him is something I will take to my grave.

Be kind to yourself; we all have those days.

Kacey
12 years ago

I spent so much of Saturday yelling at my (21 month old) son to “quit pulling the cat’s ears/stop pulling the books of the shelf/for the love of GOD if you must be ON the train table at least sit DOWN/do you need a time out?!?!?!” that I actually started to lose my voice. These days suck, but they happen and we aplogize for our failings and we hug them and kiss their sweet smelling heads and next time we do a little better. Thats all that can be expected of us and I, too, pray that it’s enough.

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