I NEVER KNEW I HAD A TEMPER
I never knew I had a temper until I had kids. Growing up, my Mum was very strict…she would flip out and rage at us quite often. I totally love her and respect her, but I’ll admit, at times it was tough. She ran a tight ship.
Things for me were fine after I had my first. Well, after the initial pain and crying and sleep deprivation and not knowing what that f**k I was doing. With one little one I seemed to be on top of it. When my youngest came along, things were a bit different. Suddenly I didn’t seem to have as much help. I could feed and look after the baby and do all of that quite easily, It was coping with the fact that I now had two children who were by my side, in my hair, all over me, demanding me and needing me 24/7. Neither was in nursery and I didn’t have babysitters or regular help from family. It was as though a rumbling volcano was inside me, just waiting to erupt. I still feel so ashamed and sad, thinking back, that I let my feelings become physical manifestations.
The boys overwhelmed my whole self. It was like a dark cloud covering me and stifling me and cramping my style - and everywhere I walked it stayed overhead. The smallest thing would irritate me. I got snappy and frustrated. I would push my son a bit if he was in my way, or say horrible things; “leave me a alone… ”, “I can’t be around you…” etc. If the baby was crying it would magnify the whole thing and I felt like I was going to go insane.
I couldn’t push the feelings or anger down, it was like they just had to come out. I’ll never forget… one time I was trying to change the baby on the bed and my eldest was jumping around and messing about on the bed too. He wasn’t even being that naughty, just a normal 2 year old. I saw red, though. In that moment I couldn’t control my emotions and I picked him up by one arm and one leg and hurled him off the bed across the room and onto the floor. He lay there in a foetal position, crying. I remember almost ‘coming to’ as though I had been asleep, and staring at him on the floor in absolute horror. I had broken his bones, I thought. I’ve really hurt him now. I rushed to him, so upset, so sorry. It was such a hideous feeling, knowing I had done this to him. In a flash moment, I had potentially harmed my son. I had become someone I never wanted to be. I cried a lot after that. I wondered how and why this had happened. I thought back to all the times I had been physical with him and felt so sick to my stomach.
I wasn’t this person. That’s not me! I’m loving, kind, nurturing - I’m a mother! I didn’t understand what the hell was going on. I started to research it online a bit and talked to my husband. We were both under a lot of stress with things and I knew we needed some help.
I found a parent coach - an American Podcaster, and I began listening to her podcasts about how to respect toddlers and how to understand them. I knew I needed to train myself to control the rage. I made a decision that I would never, ever be physical to my sons. It just didn’t feel right. At all. I learned how to put myself in the shoes of little ones and how to rationalise their behaviour.
The biggest learning curve has been to understand their emotions. If they are angry, accept it. If they’re having a tantrum, accept it. If they are sad, accept it. I have learned that ALL emotions are good- children have to feel them ALL, and it’s up to us as adults to help them with it. I think that I wasn’t accepting MY emotions - instead of taking a step back and accepting my anger or frustration I felt hatred for it. Life was (and still is) tough with two little ones, there’s no denying it can be really challenging at times, but I can honestly say I am a better Mum because I made the commitment to change, and to be different.
Written by Camilla Ferrell
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