I've been thinking about this thread (and idea) a lot the past 2 days. I realized another component of "mommy anger", which I think is actually part of guilt that feeds into anger...
I think that I (maybe some of you?) have unrealistic expectations of our children NEVER suffering or feeling pain or discomfort. I think we all look up sometime in the first three months or so of being a mother, gaze at our bundle of human perfection, a tear comes to our eye and we swear we will stand in front of a train before anyone harms this child. The mama bear has awoken. However, sheilding our children from all unpleasantness is impossible. We scramble that first year to satisfy every call, and usually with a working breast and some comforting words, we can solve all problems. Baby is never far- mine never was more than 20 feet from me until he was a year and a half (
). Then, they want
. They want to climb at the playground. They want to play with other kids. They want things
. The relationship becomes complex- can you give them what they want? Should you? And how about that big bad world out there? Toddlers yanking toys, pushing others. Big kids and mean words. Dangerous people. Cars. Accidents. I feel like since my heart and my soul ARE this child, every decision is hard: Let him play when I know he will get hurt? Not so simple. It leads to stress...
THEN the real kicker- am I
hurting my child? Am I my own enemy? I've sworn to protect him, and here I am doing something I'm not sure is right (or I know could be better). What kind of terrible mother hurts
her child? So, every snappy, impatient answer, every time something happens to ds, every time he misbehaves, I think- If I had only.... run faster, thought better, fought harder, learned more, was stronger.... Did I somehow hurt him? Am I to blame? Are my own failures harming him? Then, I get angry with myself, feeling that I somehow contributed to "hurting" my son.
Of course, the answer is: Once in a while (and not on purpose), but overwhelmingly not. Pain, wanting, and the likes are part of the human experience. If I was the best, the absolute best mother in the world, my child could still fall off the jungle gym. He could still have a scary experience and memory. He could still get sick. He could still misbehave. Other childen (and adults) could still say mean things. He will ineveitably have his heart broken someday. He will one day wake up from a terrifying nightmare. He will suffer failures. All this can (and most likely will) happen because it is the nature of life itself. Protecting from these things really means avoiding fundamental growth and learning experiences. We miss the boat.
So, I get angry sometimes. When I see the big kids ignore his desire to play with them. When someone makes a snotty remark. When he falls on the front step when I should have thought to hold his hand. And then, I try to remember... this is life. HIS life. I didn't cause that pain, and since I can't always prevent it, my most important job is comforting him and helping him learn from the experience.