Parenting is hard. There are so many daily decisions, both practical and emotional that you have to make when it comes to take care of the physical and emotional needs of your children.
For me, I think I’ve always been sensitive and so I struggle to both have my own needs met while also feeling the need and desire to take care of and manage the needs and wants of my family.
I recently had some advice given to me that I took a little too much to heart and after applying it, realized that it wasn’t something I wanted to really apply in my own life, although I think the advice was given with good intentions and to some degree I can learn from it, I realized later that it just isn’t the way I want to do things.
The advice: “Your kids are old enough and sometimes when you need a break and they are whiney and complaining, you just need to tell them to F*ck off and leave you alone.”
Now, mind you, I don’t really talk to my kids this way, and I don’t think this person talked to their kid this way either but it got the point across. And as much as inherently I knew this wasn’t going to be how I’d like to deal with things, I also know that I’ve been feeling very lost lately at how I run my house, the boundaries I’m NOT setting, the way I feel like my kids are running the show too much of the time (even though everyone else who meets them says they are some of the most well mannered and sweet kids), and overall like I’m floundering and barely surviving.
So, I think I took to heart some of what this person told me and recognized the part of it that resonated with me – I need to be okay letting the kids find their own entertainment, telling them I’m unavailable and making them leave me alone.
The problem is that I give off this energy all the time, anyway. Either I’m on my phone, or I say I’m working or that I’m tired or just that I plain don’t want to do whatever they’re doing and have a hard time being interested in what THEY are into. That might sound harsh, but I hope I’m not the only one that finds herself in this place mentally at a certain point in life…I’m sure I’m not. and I know it comes from being unclear with setting boundaries for myself and not doing what I need to do to take care of my needs.
Anyway, this advice reared its head when I woke up a couple days ago and my two youngest were playing in the hallway. It was nice, although they tend to bicker on and off. And then I heard my oldest who was yelling from the room over for everyone to be quiet because she was trying to sleep. And I was both annoyed at her for yelling and at them for not being quieter and ignoring her. I knew she was also cranky because she had a late night with her friends and so of course was tired. I also realized afterwards that I was upset that my husband was removed from the situation because he was outside reading and doing his morning routine, whereas I, who lately hasn’t had any routine and was just keeping busy with god knows what, was being interrupted and had to ‘deal’ with it.
From my room, I also kept yelling at my youngest two to be quieter, take their play downstairs, etc, and since no one was listening and my oldest came out and was stomping around and yelling at everyone, I eventualy got up and yelled at my younger two to go downstairs arleady and literally told them to go the f*ck downstairs…
I definitely curse the most in our family, but for the most part, keep it to myself and never direct it to my kids, especially….but I just lost it.
I was not proud. I was not calm. I was not necessarily even right and it honestly didn’t even help. I yelled at my oldest for good measure too since it felt like she was being a brat and making everyone else suffer for her late night and grumpy mood – and throughout it all I kept thinking that my anger was at them for doing things that I am usually guilty of myself like staying up too late and spraying my grumpiness all over other people around me.
My son was very sweet and came up to give me a hug and say sorry and generally check on me, but that made me feel even worse because I never like it when my kids have to comfort me for being an a$$ hole. Like, really…it’s not their job.
But eventually I apologized and just explained that I felt like sometimes no one listens to me or does what I ask them to do and left it at that.
Later on, though, I recognized the correlation between the advice I’d been given and my outburst and how even though I knew I needed to set better boundaries, be okay with having the kids leave me alone and not feel as guilty for not being able or even willing to play with them, THAT was not how i wanted to deal with it. Even if I don’t know exactly how I’ll get better at these things, emotion vomiting on those around me doesn’t help, doesn’t feel good to me, and doesn’t feel good to those around me.
So here I am pondering and rethinking the whole thing. I know it’s not necessarily how I want to deal with things but I’m also trying to give myself some grace and room to make mistakes and recognize that when I’m stretched to my limits, I may not always be that proud of how I interact with my kids.