I was talking on the phone last night with a girlfriend as we both drove home; a commute is a great time to catch up and as a working mom, really the best option. We enjoyed bantering about how our lives had twisted and turned over the holiday months. The conversation landed on a Doodle update. She is nearly five years old; she is super thrilled about her birthday at Disneyland this summer. She has invited every family member and maybe every friend from school too. And she is going through quite the phase right now. As I was explaining her emotional ebbs and flows a light bulb went on and I realized her current state of being is all my fault.
Doodle is the sweetest little soul I know. She loves her family. She loves her school. She loves her toys, her bike, running free and getting lost in drawing. She organizes everything she sees that seems out of place. She is learning to eat foods other than Mac & Cheese (hallelujah). And she is really struggling with tantrums. When Doodle doesn’t get her way there is chaos. It is the kind of chaos that triggers me to my core. She whines, she complains, she cries and screams and sometimes she kicks, hits and becomes destructive. It has been driving me bananas for months. I have cried many tears. I have turned to my Mr’s asking what am I supposed to do. What next. I don’t understand her emotions. I don’t understand why she behaves the way she does. I don’t get it.
It felt like head-banging-against-the-wall, raging emotions and failure. I have been feeling like a failure as a mom. I have wondered what I was doing wrong. How could I be failing so miserably? Why does my sweet girl behave so poorly when she doesn’t get what she wants? And why does my sweet girl so often behave poorly with just me?
As my friend and I were talking last night the reason just spilled into our conversation and I felt like a big bright wall of “Duh” slammed into my head and heart. Funny how profound it feels when I arrive at something all on my own. I am certain my Mr has known this epiphany I came to last night all along, but was letting me get there myself. It’s really all about arriving at a conclusion for oneself that makes the greatest impact, so I thank him as I know he must have seen the forest through the trees much sooner than I was able to. Back to the conversation, as I was discussing this “phase” with my friend I made a link between the chaos that I create in my life, how I respond to it and why my Doodle behaves the way she does.
It is all my fault.
When I am stressed, running behind, worried, annoyed, frightened or frustrated I act chaotic. I tend to yell in the morning to get out the door. I seem to start with patience, but just a couple minutes in I am frantic, yelling and throwing what could be considered a grown up tantrum because the morning routine isn’t going my way. It’s not so much a crying freak out, but rather the tone in my words is certainly harsh, abrupt and in some cases may be hurtful. Definitely not the picture of the loving mom I long to be.
It is all my fault.
Now that I have let that sink in… Now that I have realized I am not in control of my own emotions. Now that I have realized I cannot expect the one human that is mimicking me in all she does to be in control of her emotions. Now that I am aware that it is all my fault, I can do something about the head-banging confusion that has been my toddlers tantrums.
It all starts with me and it should all be threaded with love. I need to wake up earlier in order to prevent chaotic frustration. I should slow down more often in order to allow for more time to be in each moment. I should speak to my family the way I would expect an outsider to speak to them. I should stop and hear myself and my tone more often. I should forgive myself and move forward and watch my words and the tone within them.
The lightbulb turned on, now it is time to turn off the negative talk and the chaotic frustration. I am a work in progress, not every day will be perfect, but everyday can be better. I mean really, who would ever intentionally dim that beautiful light pictured above? It’s time I ensure I am not.