12.31.2010

putting the day behind me

Ever have a day when you hate yourself, your life, and you just want to drink yourself to bed? Luckily, those don't come often for me, but today I was gifted with this sort of day. And to my credit, I only had one glass of wine, though to tell the truth, that's all that was left in the bottle.

photo credit
What could be so terrible? Well, I perpetually overspend on my grocery budget, I cannot for the life of me get/keep this house clean, and today my kid pooped on the floor and refused to nap. I was so mean to him, and I saw it happening. I tried the nice-mom thing, I really did. I laid in his single bed next to him and closed my eyes, showing him how a person takes a nap properly. But he didn't catch the drift. After some cuddling he began to clobber me with his stuffed cat, so I promptly left the room, slamming the door shut to show how frustrated I was. I heard him immediately jump out of his bed. I told myself to be calm and figure out a way to deal with his non-napping, and instead I stormed back into his room and told him to get in that bed and stay in that bed! For unknown reasons, this demand did not make him feel any more inclined to sleep.
It was my fault, I over-shot the opportune nap window and he was past tired and unable to sleep. I feel guilty and ashamed with myself for the tantrums I subjected him to this afternoon. And it was my fault he pooped in his room, because I shut him in there. Now wait, before you call child services on me, he was not asking to get out of his room, he was happily playing by himself until he yelled out "Big poop, mama!" at which point I opened the door to learn that he was right, there was indeed a big poop. Right there, on the floor.

I know how trivial it all is in light of the world's problems. I know that I live in privilege that I have not earned. But dammit, I had a hard day. So I gave myself some grace, and let the kid watch much more Go, Diego, Go! than would normally fly around here. I also let myself run late on making dinner so that I could take that over-tired toddler to a playground and go crazy.
I am reading a book titled "Self Esteem" (go ahead, make jokes, I do it every time I pick it up to read it) and I am learning that we all have an "inner critic". That's the voice that says "you are stupid! why did you do that? stop acting like an idiot" etc. I am learning to catch the critic in the act, and to be prepared to disarm that critic by saying more reasonable things in response. Basically the book is teaching me to talk to myself, making me perhaps more crazy than I already am, but I will say this - it's helping. Today when I was all out of patience and kindness and I was crying in my bed, hiding from my kids, my inner critic pounced on me with all sorts of labels and demeaning language. Instead of completely believing the critic, I fought back, and I started to feel better. By 5pm I was enjoying a glass of wine and making dinner, and putting the day behind me.

Are you able to have grace with yourself when you're having a hard day? What helps you cope?

3 comments:

Patsy said...

No, I've got a pretty good inner critic going, and she's got a lot to critique. Let me affirm that you are not alone in feeling guilty about being "mean" to your kids, but there's enough old school balancing out the West Coast weirdo in me to believe that children who grow up with perpetually sugary, calm responses to everything they do are being done a disservice. How does a child learn to see how his actions affect others, learn compassion, empathy, if everything he ever does is met with a teeth-gritting grin and gooey cajoling? Dialogue comes easier later when their language skills grow, but I for one don't think there's anything awful about kids seeing that you have feelings, get tired, cranky, and sick of negotiating with tiny tyrants sometimes, and that not everything they do is OK. Reacting/feeling/emotions are natural responses sometimes (within reason);I think it's how you handle it afterward that matters. I've apologized to my kids when I've lost my temper, explained what caused it (because they hadn't realized the 20 things they'd done prior that I'd calmly asked them to quit before exploding were part of the problem) and why I shouldn't have yelled but here's what we've got to do and why. Don't beat yourself up. We all have those days.

Jess said...

Patsy - Your perspective is balanced and great and I am so glad to hear another mom say that they have days like that too. Logically I know that everyone has bad, terrible, no good days, but when you're in the middle of one it can feel so personal. Thanks for your words.

natalie said...

you are SO GREAT & i love you to death.
damn, girl. i need some of that esteem you're talkin' about :)