i did what i swore i would never domy mom hit all five of her children frequently and with vigor. i vowed when my dd (now almost 3 and my only child) was born that i would never spank or strike her, but i broke my promise last night.
for about the past year, dd has grown increasingly impatient with me. i have posted before about her preference for her papa and was reassured that it was normal since i am her primary caregiver. but it's gotten beyond mere preference at this point. at nearly every step of the way i am met with resistance to my requests. i have used every approach across the spectrum to get her to cooperate with me--i try to make them fun or a surprise, or i act nonchalant, or i become stern. still i get the knee-jerk "no" response and subsequent struggle. if i say i'm going to leave without her, she'll say she wants to come and will cooperate for a second, but then run away or refuse to let me put her shoes on or something. just getting out of the house to go to the market or even mail a letter has become a chore and i sometimes just give up altogether because i cannot handle the lack of cooperation. she doesn't do this with dh.
then there's the fact that dd feels free to haul off and belt me or throw things at me when she's frustrated. the other day she threw a wooden box at my hand and cut my finger. again, i have tried every trick in the book to teach her that this is beyond not okay. i have gently taken her hands and had her pat me while saying, "we are gentle with mama," and "we don't hit." i have also broken down in tears to show her that it hurts me and my feelings when she does this. dh also intervenes and reinforces my approach and the message that it is not okay to hurt mama. sometimes she'll show remorse and say she's sorry, and although the frequency of these incidents has subsided slightly, she still attempts to give me a whack nearly every day. my mother, of course, keeps telling me i need to hit her back and she'll stop.
last night i reached the end of my rope. my husband was working late and i was trying to get dd ready for a tub. i somehow managed to get her clothes off, but she kept running away from me. so, i knelt down to her eye level to try to talk with her and she walked right up to me and gave me an open-hand slap right in the face. i was absolutely blinded with anger and frustration and turned her around and gave her one quick smack on her bare bum. she looked so shocked and began to cry really, really hard. i drew her close and hugged her tight while i explained how much i love her and how sorry i was that i had done that, but that she has to understand that she can no longer hit mama. i told her i didn't want to ever do that to her again, and that she could help me by listening to me and not hitting me anymore. i held her for a long time until she stopped crying and told her repeatedly how much i love her. (incidentally, this has seemingly had no immediate effect on her since she hit me again this morning.)
so now i feel just terrible. i love this little person more than i could ever explain, and i work so hard to make sure her childhood reality is nothing like my own dysfunctional experience. but sometimes i feel so angry and frustrated that she outright rejects me on so many levels. i have tried not to take it personally since i know that her age predisposes her to being challenging, but it is so hard. and now i let my rage overtake me and i spanked her--giving her the confusing message that it's not okay for her to hit me, but i can hit her.
will she ever forgive me? or will i ever forgive myself?