Please help...I am regularly losing my cool with my 2 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am having a very hard time staying calm with my 28 month old, and lately I have been snapping at him and yelling uncontrollably.

For example, I just put him down for his nap a while ago.  Our usual routine is to read a book, have kisses, then sit in the rocking chair and sing "rock a bye baby", then lay down together while I sing and cuddle with him.  Lately, after we leave the rocking chair and lay down, he starts to whine.  So then I end up sitting back in the rocking chair and singing some more to him.  But lately even when I repeat this a few times, he still cries and whines when we lay down.

I feel so angry because, I feel that I've been so gentle and attentive to his nightime and sleep needs... and the part of me that gets triggered thinks "I do everything to help you sleep but it's not good enough".  Then I feel resentful that he is demanding more of me, and I'm not getting a response that all the things I do for him matter.

So then I got so mad, I could not stop myself and I yelled at him "what do you want?" over and over again.  I feel like no matter what I do I just can't please him.  I got so mad and I told him that I was going to leave him to cry like other mothers do, and I walked out the room.  Then he realy got upset and this sent me crashing back to earth and I picked him up and we sat in the rocking chair and sang and cuddled.

It scares me so much how out of control of my emotions I am, and I fear for his well being.  Sometimes in these situations, I even feel like I want to hit him, and it scares me that he has a mother like this who cannot stay calm.

As some background, i grew up with parents who physically and emotionally abused me.  I have always understood that this puts me at risk of continuing the cycle of abuse.  I'm so scared of turning into my parents. 

 

I feel so ashamed of my behaviour, and I'm too ashamed to speak to my husband.

 

I would truly like to change my behaviour and be able to navigate my emotions better.  But I am so overwhelmed and don't know where to start.

On the one hand, please don't judge me, on the other hand, please don't rationalise my behaviour - I realise that the way I am treating my son is unacceptable and that if I don't do something to change myself, it will continue and get worse.  I don't want my son to go through what I did.  I want him to feel safe and happy with his mama.

 

Please help.

 


40 y/o married Mama, 3 y/o DS, Angel Baby lost in Sep 2013, Angel Baby lost March 2014.
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#2 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 10:14 AM
 
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i don't judge you mama.

mothering is hard and rewarding. i am a ftm too and sahm. my son is 24 months friday. i have to say this is the biggest journey i have had/having and there are so many aspects to this job.

the other day,last week my son kept demanding everything from me..... and i do everything and drop every thing for him all the time. i think maybe he was not feeling sick and was extra needy. and i lost it. i ran into our bedroom(we co-sleep) and i gave myself a time-out for 5 minutes. i really felt frustrated,resentful that i am giving ao much..i dunno. i want to give don't get me wrong but i too felt like i wish he could sometimes say"hey mom,thanks for getting my juice for me every time i throw it behind the couch " i dunno. im blabbing.

i think of myself as patient and gentle and most say they think i am a good mother. i know that i am a good mother. i feel it. lately i think my glass is overflowing...is your? it seems like when my son takes his nap for an hour i am trying to take a shower,prep meals, and everything else in an hour and i do not feel like it is enough time to deflate.

i don't think you should feel ashamed of your behavior. don't. do what you are doing by reflecting and seeking advice.

do you need extra support? are you in any parenting groups? are you getting more sleep?

i know for me i am an hour away from town and ..it's lonely too. well, i sure hope someone else can offer advice....for my sake too and thank you for taking the courage to post what is going on in your life!!!!!

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#3 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 10:25 AM
 
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Big, BIG hugs to you mama! You are overwhelmed and not at peace. I went through a similar episode for a few weeks but I'm not a yelled, I'm a crier. I was out of whack, out of control. For instance, my DD's diaper leaked and I broke down and sobbed! So unnecessary, so counterproductive. This time around my pregnancy has a lot to do with it but it also happened back in 2010. I urge you to reach out for some counseling. I did and it made a huge difference. I had irrational guilt and shame over parenting that was crippling me and causing further shame and guilt. It sounds like you have a similar dynamic with frustration and anger. I talked to my dr and he put me in touch with a local women's wellness clinic that specialized in pregnancy/ppd/mood issues involving moms of young children. The counseling helped me interrupt my negative self talk and nip these feelings in the bid before they crippled me. I think finding similar help will guide you to coping strategies that let you stay in the moment and engage instead of shut down or lash out. If you don't click with the first counselor, ask to try someone else. They are people too and sometimes personalities simply don't mesh. You are a very caring and thoughtful mother since you see the problem and want to do better for your child. You need outside help to find a new way to deal with the stress and frustration.

About napping, he may be flirting with dropping his nap. My DD is just about 24 months old and some days simply can't nap. I still nurse her down for nap and bedtime but there are days where she will nurse for 45 minutes to an hour and simply can't sleep. On days like that I try to snuggle and lay with her a bit longer but once she gets up, I go with it. 45 minutes of calmly laying down helps her recharge a bit and although not as good as a nap, it helps her make it to an early bedtime. I have shifted my expectations from "I'm putting her down for a nap" to "we will go and lie down for a while. If she sleeps, all the better." it has made a big difference because I no longer see success vs failure but meeting expectations vs exceeding expectations so on no nap days my self esteem isn't eroded.

I realize I've droned on and much of this is a bit disjointed but I've got my sick toddler sleeping on me so I'm not at my best wink1.gif. Please do look into talking to someone and in the meantime try to catch yourself before you erupt. It's better to abruptly walk away for a few minutes than to scare your child. I know it isn't easy, and that's why I think you will find counseling helpful, much like I did. Please update on how you're doing and feel free to message me. Hugs.
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#4 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 10:34 AM
 
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And hugs to you too, Tracyamber. Toddlers can be so needy. This is a silly little thing but I'm coaching DD to say please and thank you and that way fetching the sippy for the 50th time doesn't feel quite as futile... At least I get a thank you, even if it's prompted smile.gif
Another thing I want to say is that naptime needs to be sacred mommy time. A shower is fine since its self care and refreshing but I don't do anything food or house related while she sleeps. DH gets a lunch hour to relax and recharge, naptime is my time off. Everything else can wait that hour.
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#5 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 12:54 PM
 
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I won't judge you. I admire that you are asking for help, this takes courage. Parenting and spending time with young children is very very hard, compounded when you have the pressure of a generational cycle weighing on you. Anger can be like an infection that never really goes away. You and your child are both are suffering and you have to find a better way. In my experience, it gets worse and rage becomes more habitual unless you learn how to stop it. I'll tell you what worked for me and I hope that it helps you too.

 

I was in a similar place, acting in a similar way with no idea how to stop the damage I was doing. I grew up in an angry household and as a parent I found myself angry more often than not by the time DS1 was about 30 mos old. My kids are relatively "easy" and my life is comfortable but everything pushed my buttons and I often responded cruelly and irrationally. By the time DS1 was 3, I was dangerously close to abandoning my family to spare them the misery I was inflicting. I was so ashamed that I couldn't even post here but did finally write to an acquaintance to ask for help and thank goodness I did. She recommended that I read "Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves" by Naomi Aldort. I am not usually a self-help reader but I was desperate so I ordered it. I am not exaggerating when I say that this book completely changed our lives. After just the first chapter, I felt hope and potential for the first time in two years. Now my copy is dog-eared and full of highlighter, I turn to it and read any page at random when I start to feel myself slip into my old habits. Thanks to this book, I absolutely love being a mother now and I think my boys are really happy. We have fun every day with very few battles and I feel confident that I can do a good job guiding them in this world. Best of all, it feels easy now. My marriage is also back on track, with my husband no longer checking in several times a day to make sure I haven't done myself in.

 

Another book that was very helpful but not as immediately powerful, is "Radical Parenting" by Brad Blanton - this one really focuses on working through damage done by your parents and being a different parent yourself. 

 

A few more tidbits of advice - last year when I was at my worst, I also started researching anti-depressents so that I could ask my doctor for something. I ended up trying a supplement called 5-HTP which I'd never heard of before. It very quickly (within days) evened out my moods and got rid of my temper. It didn't fix the problems I had, but helped me to get calm enough to help myself. I never ended up getting prescription anti-depressents and still take 5-HTP occasionally when I feel I'm having a bad week and am at risk of lashing out at my kids. 

 

I would also strongly advise you to tell your husband what is going on. I was terrified that my DH would want me to go back to work so the kids could be away from me in daycare or that he would never want to have more children if he knew the truth about what kind of a mother I was. However, being honest with him lifted the shame I was feeling and forced me to be accountable to someone. He is impressed and proud of me for turning things around and I don't feel like I'm carrying around a dark secret.

 

As for naps - your son may be starting to not need to nap anymore. The loss of alone time can be really scary but you may find you like the new routine. I was relieved when I finally stopped fighting to get my boys to nap. We can now do more interesting things during the day because we're not rushing home for the sacred nap. Bedtimes at night have gotten a bit earlier and much, much easier. We need quiet time in the middle of the day reading books or just lying around on the floor and sometimes the days seem really, really long but mostly it's ok. You might find the same.

 

I also agree with everyone who suggests finding parents' support groups and talking to friends, however if you are feeling ashamed now you may not have the strength to share much yet. It can be so hard at first. Once you are feeling a bit more in control and optimistic, do start to talk about it with real life friends. You will be amazed at how many mothers have found themselves feeling the same way as you. 

 

I hope all this helps even just a tiny bit. I feel weird sharing so much but if spilling my guts helps other mothers stop the cycle of anger and protects children from potential abuse, then it's worth it. 

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#6 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 03:02 PM
 
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skycheattraffic!!!!!you are so supportive!!!

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#7 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 03:18 PM
 
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Like the previous poster, I tried 5-http. Unfortunately, I did not see results. I've just come off a 2 month stint on a low dose of Wellbutrin, and it helped immensely. However, I should add that I also did one month of hot yoga 3x per week. Since the yoga month ended, I have been more prone to irritability, but not like before. I was definitely where you are right now at various times in the past. I find that growth spurts in the child can really create big challenges and changes in sleep, behavior, diet, and emotional well being. It almost always passes within a few weeks and regulates into life with a more mature little person... Until the next spurt. If I can stay on top of my awareness of this, while remembering to care for myself, everything seems much more manageable. Hugs to you mama. Try everything natural you can, but don't be ashamed to talk to a doc or try a prescription if it will help get you back into a more centered and healthy mentality. I don't want to live on antidepressants long term, but that last 2 month trial was a life saver for me. I feel more able to access all the tools I was overlooking in my parenting toolbox. I hope you find your peace soon!
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#8 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 07:25 PM
 
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Your post really touched me, too.  It sounds very familiar, and it's taken practice over the past year or so for me to get to a point where I feel like I'm starting to have better tools to deal with it.  Dropping naps was a HUGE help.   The nap....I NEEDED it.  And when she didn't take it, it was like she was stealing from me, and I felt like I had no control over my own needs.  I think that's still the trigger for me - it's when I feel like there's no way for me to get something that I absolutely need, be it quiet, or a break, or sleep, or a clean house....  I'm learning that I have to anticipate the anger long before it occurs.  The moment I feel the first inkling of annoyance, I have to find some way to get a break.  If the nap means "rest" for you, and you're scared of losing that, try to do something with your son before naptime that gets you some rest time.  A long drive might work, or a bath, or even (if you're not opposed), a TV show.  If you get time for yourself before the nap, you might be less invested in getting your son to sleep. 

 

It's a long road, and I wish you the best.  I know I'll be checking out many of the resources here, too.

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#9 of 32 Old 03-23-2013, 10:05 PM
 
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redmom~ how are you feeling?

 

jessiebird~great book suggestions. i will be checking these out at my local library.

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#10 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thankyou everyone for your thoughtful and supportive replies.

 

Just as some more background, the main thing triggering my moods is sleep deprivation. My gorgeous son has always been a crappy sleeper - waking ever 1-2 hours until he was 13 months, and now at 28 months still wakes a few times a night. He has always needed lots of help to fall asleep and get back to sleep. So bedtime has always been a very draining and stressful time.  For about 6 months now he also wakes for the day at 5 or 5.30. Naptimes have usually been problem free, so lately that they involve him getting angry, then that puts me on edge even more.  It's like....c'mon...we have had such a hard time with sleep, I just can't take things getting even rougher. It's the feeling of not being able to switch off, even at nighttime. My patience and tolerance for typical toddler behaviour is very low at the moment.

 

The other night, he woke several times and screamed each time.  As usual he was up for the day at 5.30.  On Saturdays I sit up with him and hubs has a sleep in.  So I was sitting up with him and I just had no patience for him.  So we both had a meltdown, hubs woke up....that's when I opened up to hubs and told him how I was feeling, the anger and rage that I felt, how I have been yelling at my son, the fear I have that I might act on my rage, my fear that my son is at risk of being abused by me.

I cried alot, which is something I haven't done much (aside from a few days/weeks postpartum) since becoming a mother.  So it was actually good to get through the anger to my underlying feelings.  Hubs was good at listening to me and my fears.  Of course he said, "well you can't hit our son", and I said, "it's not enough to tell me that because I'm finding it hard to control my emotions and I'm scared that I will act on them".

I told my hubs that I think I needed to get help, that I didn't know how to do it alone.  He said he would support me getting help. Fortunately I do have a therapist that I have seen previously to help with other issues. She has a good understanding of my family background and I've found it helpful to work with her in the past.

 

It was hard telling my husband.  I told him that, it's tough because on our first date he probably thought I was perfect, and now, the longer we know each other, he is getting to see some sides to me that are really not so wonderful.  I told him that even though I felt incredibly ashamed and guilty and scared, that I was prepared to deal with these feelings, rather than put my son at risk.  I told him that I didn't want my son to be an abused child, in the way that I was.

Anyway I'm kind of babbling on now.  I just wanted to acknowledge some of the great insights that you mamas offered.....

 

Tracyamber - that is a great idea to give myself a time out, that way I can break the flow of having negative thoughts, and removing myself from the situation will help me to stop and breathe, and maybe even give my son that message that mama is not happy.

 

Skycheattraffic -

 

"You need outside help to find a new way to deal with the stress and frustration." You are absolutely spot on.  I can't do this myself, I need help.  I really think it's a huge sign of strength and courage to recognize when one needs help and to then seek it out.

 

I've also been modelling to my son how we say "please" and "thankyou" - it's so sweet to hear him say "thankyou mama" sometimes unprompted. He really is such a sweet little boy and I want him to have a safe and happy childhood.

 

JesseBird - 

 

"In my experience, it gets worse and rage becomes more habitual unless you learn how to stop it."

 

Thankyou for telling me this - this is exactly what I needed to hear.  Your words have stayed in my head and I understand what you are saying.  

 

"I was dangerously close to abandoning my family to spare them the misery I was inflicting."

 

Honestly, the other night when there was 2 am screaming fits, I had this thought of getting in the car and leaving.  

 

Thanks for the book suggestions - what specific behaviours did you change as a result of reading them?

 

"I feel weird sharing so much but if spilling my guts helps other mothers stop the cycle of anger and protects children from potential abuse, then it's worth it. "

 

Yes this is exactly how I feel - that no matter how much shame I have speaking with hubs and my therapist (isn't that weird, that I feel anxious about revealing this part of myself to her) - that I have to swallow my pride in order to ultimately protect my son and break the cycle of abuse.  I love him so much that any shame or guilt that I feel is nothing. I truly believe that hiding those feelings will lead to the cycle continuing.  I think to myself, if only my parents had the courage and willingness to confront their own demons, I would have been spared a childhood of physical and emotional abuse that is taking me many years to undo.

 

I told my husband that even if he wanted to divorce me and stop me from seeing my son, I would rather that, than let my little boy be subjected to physical harm by me.

 

Mama Amie - It's definitely helpful to hear other parents had problem sleepers.  I oscillate between thinking there is some underlying issue for my son, and thinking well it's normal toddler behaviour even if mainstream parenting advice doesn't support that.

 

New mama lizzy - that's a really good point about finding some way to address my needs prior to the nap.  The other morning it was 9.30 and I was fast losing my patience with my son and I was thinking "this is going to be a long day".  Then I decided what I needed was a cup of coffee and to watch some of those peppy morning shows.  I don't like to have the tv on with my son around but I decided, you know what, if this will help my sanity and help me calm down, then I need to give myself a break from feeling like a bad mama b/c I am putting the tv on.  And it did help.  I explained to my son that mama needed a cup of coffee and to sit and catch my breath.  And he actually calmed down too.  

 

Thanks once again, I will be seeing my therapist in May when we return from vacation.  I'd like to update on my progress, as I think it will help keep me accountable, and I think the act of writing it down will help me express my feelings.

 

I love my son so much and I want him to have the experience of a safe and loving family life.  I know I have the commitment and willingness to address my issues and break the cycle of abuse.


40 y/o married Mama, 3 y/o DS, Angel Baby lost in Sep 2013, Angel Baby lost March 2014.
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#11 of 32 Old 03-24-2013, 07:01 PM
 
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hug.gif you're a very courageous woman and a selfless mother opening up and becoming vulnerable to give your son a happy childhood. You've taken a huge first step reaching out here, to your DH and to your therapist and committing to change. You will not regret the decision and will feel so much better. Big hugs and keep us posted.
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#12 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 04:54 AM
 
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Offering a big hug for now and will be back when I can read all the advice you've gotten and your update. No judgement here, mama!  IMO, there are a two ways to go when we're feeling stressed and not feeling our best - we can spend energy trying to justify our behavior, or we can spend energy trying to get to a better place. We've all been there in some way or another. Big hugs to you, mama!

 

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#13 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 05:03 AM
 
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Mama, 

 

My first thought on reading your update is whether or not you can get more breaks than what you're getting. I know relationships are unique and working and etc. sometimes gets in the way of a parent getting the extra sleep and space that she/he needs but can you find a way to carve out some more time for YOU?  

 

Can you have a day where you get to sleep in? Where you  get a few hours to yourself? 

 

We have a family agreement with our second child that DH does the "getting ready for bed" so I at least get a half-hour before putting the baby to sleep. Actually, we've just gotten to the point where DH does more of this but just getting her ready for bed was a big first step!  Another part of our agreement is that DH gets several hours on Friday AM to himself and I get like 3 hours or so on Saturday. Of course, there is often more free time for both of us but that agreed upon time is really helpful.  I find a predictable part of the week where I know I have the time and space to recharge is invaluable.  

 

I'm reading your posts and you seem like a mama who is TIRED and needs a break. I wonder if a lot of your feelings can be solved by meeting your own needs (as others have suggested). I love the "oxygen mask" analogy for parenting. I also like, "If mama aint happy, nobody's happy."  

 

You've got your first child entering a challenging phase, he's flirting with giving up a nap....getting your kid to sleep is HARD when you're at your end!!!, he doesn't sleep well at night, and you're concerned with your partner getting sleep. This is A LOT to take on. So, in addition to talking to your DH, getting some therapy if that is something you feel you need, and finding some parenting groups, I really think a little space for you to put yourself first will go a LONG way, mama!  

 

And, keep in mind that you should carve out a break that works for you're particular energy. I know a lot of mamas who like to grocery shop by themselves, or sleep in, or have a clean house, or read a book, go on a hike, do yoga, have dinner with a friend, go to a movie, spend time with their partner...whatever. I, personally, like to go to a smoky bar and dance.2whistle.gif Find that recharging activity that does it for you. 


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#14 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 05:24 AM
 
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Another thing I want to say is that naptime needs to be sacred mommy time. A shower is fine since its self care and refreshing but I don't do anything food or house related while she sleeps. DH gets a lunch hour to relax and recharge, naptime is my time off. Everything else can wait that hour.

I TOTALLY agree with this!  I tend to squander my nap time these days lazing around on the computer eyesroll.gif but, hey, it's nice to feel lazy from time to time. 

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#15 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 05:42 AM
 
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Also, as you move past the grief of feeling like you've let your child down (he is resilient, mama!), you can get to a space where you accept your strengths and weakness as a parent. Accepting yourself is a great gift and one that you can easily translate from self-acceptance to unconditional acceptance of your child. I kind of question whether we can accept our children if we do not accept ourselves - that if we feel the need to be "perfect mothers" we will feel the need to have "perfect children".  

 

So...

 

Be the mama who hates nap time and the one with the temper she has to work hard to manage. I'm the mama who doesn't like to do pretend play or read picture books and I don't parent older children after 8pm.  I have other short comings too...and they are all part of the package that makes me the mom I am. I like a book called, "Becoming the Parent Y0u Want to Be" for this. You will find, I think, that embracing your struggles openly will allow you to work on them in a way that fits with your strengths. Also, you will find other parents open up about their struggles (as someone else mentioned).  There is so much beauty in this. To me this is the depth that makes the increased challenges of life wort the effort - and then some. 


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#16 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 06:06 AM
 
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I TOTALLY agree with this!  I tend to squander my nap time these days lazing around on the computer eyesroll.gif
 but, hey, it's nice to feel lazy from time to time. 
Hey lazing about is a legitimate off the clock mama activity. I confess my first choice: a snack, Netflix and reruns of Star Trek TNG. yeah I'm a big geek joy.gif
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#17 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mama, 

 

My first thought on reading your update is whether or not you can get more breaks than what you're getting. 

 

Thanks so much for these great suggestions.

 

I actually do have a very supportive DH who more than pulls his weight to give me some rest - I sleep in on weekdays when he is up getting ready for work while DS is up also, when DH comes home he hangs out with DS and gives him dinner while I exercise or read etc, and on weekends we take turns...one day one of us sleeps in, the other day the other one....and DH is completely supportive when I have a night out or take an afternoon by myself to go shopping etc.

For some reason last week was very challenigng, mostly because DS was screaming at nap and bedtime....it's the screaming that gets to me.

 

Thanks for taking the time to write.


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#18 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas

 

I thought I would check in today....I find it helpful to write.....

 

This morning I became aware of another trigger that sets me off....when I go to the bathroom, my DS is ALL OVER ME...he wants to nurse, he pulls at my top, he tries to shut the toilet lid while I'm sitting on it so it ends up banging against my back, he is trying to flush while I'm sitting on it, he has to be right next to me.  And it annoys me because I just want some space and to be able to go to the toilet without fending off a 2 year old.  

 

It happened this morning and one of the thoughts running through my head was "Ahhhh I just need my space, when YOU are doing a poop you tell me 'no no no' and don't want me to come near you, so Mama gives you some space and says 'ok you are doing a poop so Mama will be all the way over here if you need me'....so why can't you extend ME the same courtesy". 

 

So I'm thinking the next time I use the bathroom, I can bring some toys or items that I know he will be interested in (you know how kids gets fascinated by completely random objects, like an empty spice jar or a screwdriver), and hopefully this will distract him.

 

Another trigger was that I wanted to change and dress him....but he would not come into the bedroom, he just kept playing in another room.  It annoys me because it seems that every task like this involves a power struggle and this makes a simple task require so much more effort.  I was thinking, hmmmm when DOES he come to me easily....of course....when I'm trying to get something done and wish he would play on his own for a few moments.  So instead I grabbed my book, went into his room and sat on his bed and started reading...and of course sure enough, he came to me within seconds.

 

And I just put him down for his nap, and he was calm and there was no screaming today....so hopefully this sleep regression has passed.

 

Thanks Mamas, I appreciate being able to write this down.


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#19 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 01:07 PM
 
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aww redmom i am so glad you are processing your stuff and making positive changes!!!!!! yay. it ain't easy. you have gottan such good advice and even i am trying to figure out my triggers because i now feel that it is not that i need so much time but i get triggered and need to find ways ahead of time to prevent/or anticipate a trigger and how to move from that space if it happens......time?

and i like what identitycrissmama said...positive/negative,good/bad. embrace your positive self too..like i realize i am a really patient mama and gentle at the same time im so done playing mega blocks and building with the cardboard bricks;(

i appreciate so many of you mamas..this is a great thread and i know it is helping all of us!!!!!!!!!! and those who are not even posting....just reading.

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#20 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 04:43 PM
 
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I have a friend with 4 kids and she was having the same problems, just loosing her cool and hating it. She has joined a group on FB called the Orange Rhino and it has been helping her a lot. Here is the website as well. http://theorangerhino.com/ Hope that helps :)

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#21 of 32 Old 03-25-2013, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a friend with 4 kids and she was having the same problems, just loosing her cool and hating it. She has joined a group on FB called the Orange Rhino and it has been helping her a lot. Here is the website as well. http://theorangerhino.com/ Hope that helps :)

wow...thanks for the info about group/website...I love the ideas about alternatives to yelling.....thankyou so much......

 

Wow...posting this thread is a great reminder to me that, when I'm brave enough to be honest with myself and face my demons, it ALWAYS, ALWAYS leads me on a journey that results in solving the problem and teaches me a whole lot of new things I was never aware of.


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#22 of 32 Old 03-26-2013, 02:07 PM
 
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You're so on the right track as you learn about your triggers. That's one of the most helpful things when dealing with anyone's behaviour. There can be any multitude of reasons, like for you, being worn out and tired and dealing with a cranky two year old or for him, maybe he's teething, getting sick or going through a developmental stage that he's having a hard time dealing with. Understanding WHY things happen is so important because then you can find a real solution, instead of something temporary or half way done. 

 

My dd is only 20 months, yet she is a real firecracker. I get much of what you're saying about the things that set you off. Personally, I give her the safest environment I can and then let her basically do what she wants. It helps me when she gets cranky or needy, because then I feel like I haven't had to always be patrolling and watching every single second. I don't push many things on her, and I don't make her do things she doesn't want to do. I guess in some ways I've got it pretty easy because she is a fun kid and pretty easy going. She seems to have a take it or leave it personality most of the time too, so we make a good pair. :) 

 

For toddlers (and adults) one of the absolute best ways to get what you want (or stop someone shrieking for whatever reason) is distraction. Redirecting attention somewhere else usually has a magical effect on toddlers. Also, I've learned how to not be affected by a persons emotions as much. It is definitely a skill that is hard to learn, but it can be done and it keeps me sane more days than not. 

 

I hope this was any kind of helpful. I'm not really sure where I was going with all that, but I did have a point. At the end of it all, you sound like a completely normal mommy who is just worn out, tired and at the end of her ropes. I guess you could worry about abuse, but you could also do what you're doing and learn from it and grow. You could be scared and hide away, but you didn't and that will make you stronger. You acknowledged your fears and shared them with the person who is your partner in all this. I think you made great choices and if you keep on growing and getting stronger, then your son has a magnificent mommy to look up to and learn from. Stand tall and be proud of yourself. 

 

I guess the only other thing I might suggest is thinking positive. Instead of thinking "I won't abuse my son", think "I will give my son a healthy, happy home". If you think about not abusing someone, you're still thinking of abuse. Focus on what you want, rather than what you don't want. 

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#23 of 32 Old 03-27-2013, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess the only other thing I might suggest is thinking positive. Instead of thinking "I won't abuse my son", think "I will give my son a healthy, happy home". If you think about not abusing someone, you're still thinking of abuse. Focus on what you want, rather than what you don't want. 

 

Thanks for your suggestions.  You are absolutely correct that focusing on what I want, rather than on what I don't want is the way to go.  This morning I said outloud to my son "Mama is giving E a safe and loving home"...over and over again.

Yesterday I became aware of another trigger, but I'm not really sure what to do with this awareness nor how to employ a practical solution. My son sometimes hits and kicks me.  He kicks me when I changed him or put him in his carseat - he gets excited and starts kicking his little legs.  I try to gently hold his legs down in this situation or not say anything that will get him excited all of a sudden.  He hits me, I think just because he realises he can, and when I tell him firmly "No hitting, Mama gets an ouchie" he just laughs....so I think he understands it's wrong, but he's testing out his powers.  A couple of times I have walked away.  I like to think that in time he will be able to control his impulses better.

 

I realise the reason the hitting and kicking really bothers me, is because I was hit by my own parents often.  And so there's this feeling that, I've been hit enough in my life and I don't want to be hit anyway.  And after being hit as a child by my parents, now my own son is hitting me.  I just don't want to be hit anymore by anyone.  Although I realise my son is not doing it to hurt me, it is something that really triggers a strong reaction in me.


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#24 of 32 Old 03-27-2013, 09:59 AM
 
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About the hitting, what helped us is to phrase it positively. "no thank you. Gentle touches only" and I gently stroke her hand to show what gentle feels like. Sure, she still gets excited but giving her something to do instead of hitting really helped. I do the same thing when she grabs something at the store. Instead of saying no and taking it away (cue epic meltdown), I say "K, can you help mommy please and put the bunny back on the shelf?". I follow up with "thank you for such good listening". I apologize if this is all old hat to you but I thought it can't hurt to mention it. I am also starting to introduce the word accident for times when she doesn't mean to hurt but does or when I bump into her. For instance "uh oh that was an accident. Mommy is sorry she bumped into you but she didn't see you. Are you all right?"
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#25 of 32 Old 03-27-2013, 01:35 PM
 
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Redmom -  I love how you are finding creative ways that parent your child genlty, like getting him to come to you in the bedroom.  

Each child is unique and while there are some universal tools that can be learned tailoring to the child is a key one.  You are listening to your child not just in a how can I serve you way but in a how can I best parent you where you are way.

 

I had a similar negative history as a child and have had to learn new ways of parenting or risk relying on the ones that I grew up with that are not tolerable by me.  You are very corageous for posting so honestly on a tough subject.  Therapy, to work through that anger and be aware of what triggers it, has been a life-saver for me.  I started back to therapy when ESP was about 1 year old.  Where I was emotionally without kids was fine and I probably would not have gone back to therapy. After, ESP was born, I quickly realized I was still leaking toxicity from how I was raised and this was not something that was acceptable to dump on my child.  

 

I did start taking anti-depressants and some other drugs for the constant anxiety that I finally realized I was always under.  I was in a constant state of terror as a child and did not realize that I still react in the world as if still in that horror show.  I also found out that I have poor sleep efficacy (sleep study) that means that I don't stay in deep, restorative sleep long enough.  That is part of Post Truamatic Stress Disorder from a pervasive atmosphere of fear from childhood.  It made ESP not sleeping and keeping me up that much worse.  I did end up taking a prescription sleep aid as well.  Sometimes the damages of childhood do require medicine and talk therapy and that might be the case with you to.  There is no shame in taking care of yourself and your family in that way. 

 

My son is also a very poor sleeper.  He is now 6 and has special needs so is a lot like a 2 year old developmentally.  He wakes almost every night and while he sometimes just plays for hours at other times he is upset.  Either way, I can't sleep when he is up.  The transition to giving up naps or taking them, goes back and forth with kids.  Even at 6, many of ESP's typical peers still need the occasional re-balancing nap.    My own issues coupled with his, now that being pregnant I cannot take the medication that helped me sleep are a constant struggle.  But now I have built up the tools to help me deal.  

 

I can better separate what is an issue from my past from what is a currently happening issue.  I take the breaks I need to get my head in the present moment and be aware of what is really happening with me.   I am also working  on self-compassion and forgiving myself for all my baggage and what it does to my family, because I know I am truly doing the best I can to make myself a better parent and person.  

 

Keep posting, you are inspiring!

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#26 of 32 Old 03-28-2013, 10:04 AM
 
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About the hitting, what helped us is to phrase it positively. "no thank you. Gentle touches only" and I gently stroke her hand to show what gentle feels like. Sure, she still gets excited but giving her something to do instead of hitting really helped. I do the same thing when she grabs something at the store. Instead of saying no and taking it away (cue epic meltdown), I say "K, can you help mommy please and put the bunny back on the shelf?". I follow up with "thank you for such good listening". I apologize if this is all old hat to you but I thought it can't hurt to mention it. I am also starting to introduce the word accident for times when she doesn't mean to hurt but does or when I bump into her. For instance "uh oh that was an accident. Mommy is sorry she bumped into you but she didn't see you. Are you all right?"

I do this too. If DD is getting rough because she's excited, then we tell her to be gentle or nice instead of focusing on the hit or rough touch. I'll often demonstrate a gentle touch right after with her so she understands more. I will always praise her for gentle touch, and she is slowly getting it. I always say thank you to her when she does something I like or want. Paying far more attention to the behaviour you want will get you more behaviour that you want. 

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#27 of 32 Old 03-28-2013, 11:28 AM
 
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I'm an old mama -- all 12 of my kids are grown and I actually have adult grandchildren now, (I have 41 grandchildren ages 1-21), so I have a lot of experience with kids and tempers, theirs and mine.

 

Your child is 2 -- it's called the terrible twos for a reason. At this age, your baby is making a giant transition from baby to toddler. They are giving up their baby-ish ways, being potty trained, talking, becoming independent, have gone from the crib to the toddler bed... that's a lot going on for someone who has a very limited view of the world. For the past 18-24 months, the world has been mama and daddy, and maybe some older siblings, but now the baby is growing up and there is a lot going on in their bodies and their minds. They want to be independent of you, but not too independent, and mothers generally aren't ready for the baby to not be the baby they've had for the past two years.

 

Screaming and fit throwing is normal for your two year old. We dealt with it by telling the child it's okay to scream and yell but only in their room because no one else wants to hear it. When the screaming and fits began, we calmly led the child to their room, said, "When you can stop yelling, you can come out and join the family." Shut the door and left them to their fit. It doesn't take long before they are ready to come out. My children do this with their children too and it's worked very well.

 

The most difficult thing for a parent to do is be consistent with discipline. Once you begin putting your child in their room when they throw a fit, you must do it every single time no matter what. And that goes for any discipline for any child of any age. Consistency is the key.

 

Your 2-year-old is learning about the people and world around them and you are the one they learn from, so set the pattern and stick to it. And while your child is in their room throwing their fit, mommy can have a cup of tea, take a few deep breaths and calm down. The thing about childhood is they will grow out of it!

 

Another thing to consider is your age. If you are a mid-30's mom, remember that your estrogen levels are beginning to decrease, and this can also cause emotional distress. You might want to talk to your doctor and see if medication will help you. (Taking baby to Nana's house and hiding out with hubby for a whole night or weekend might be the ticket too!)

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#28 of 32 Old 06-01-2013, 08:46 AM
 
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Redmom, this is why I came to this website, to post exactly what you did. I have PTSD, anxiety, depression from my less than ideal childhood, and I do not want it to be passed on to my son. He's 28 months. Early on, I was so afraid. I'd tell myself, I have to change -now- before he remembers (like I do) the bad things. I don't want him to have memories like that. I came to the realization that I was lying to myself. They don't have to remember it for it to hurt them for the rest of their lives. I'm going to change. I've realized that I feel like a failure in so many ways as a spouse and SAHM, but the house is just going to have to be dirty until I can fix my parenting first. I found Orange Rhino a couple weeks ago. It's great. But I need another site, one for not hurting. I'm very committed to the philosophy of no spanking, hitting, etc., "We are a non-violent household" ...but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I haven't found what I'm looking for yet, a self-help site that says, "I hurt my child, and I don't want to anymore", so I'm putting this out there. I'm too rough. Sometimes, when I do manage to stop myself from yelling, THAT'S when it can get bad. Instead of yelling out loud, I yell with my actions instead. It's like the reverse of "Use your words!". When I don't use my words, I revert to using force. Today is June 1st. Change starts today, for real.   

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#29 of 32 Old 06-01-2013, 12:05 PM
 
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Redmom, this is why I came to this website, to post exactly what you did. I have PTSD, anxiety, depression from my less than ideal childhood, and I do not want it to be passed on to my son. He's 28 months. Early on, I was so afraid. I'd tell myself, I have to change -now- before he remembers (like I do) the bad things. I don't want him to have memories like that. I came to the realization that I was lying to myself. They don't have to remember it for it to hurt them for the rest of their lives. I'm going to change. I've realized that I feel like a failure in so many ways as a spouse and SAHM, but the house is just going to have to be dirty until I can fix my parenting first. I found Orange Rhino a couple weeks ago. It's great. But I need another site, one for not hurting. I'm very committed to the philosophy of no spanking, hitting, etc., "We are a non-violent household" ...but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I haven't found what I'm looking for yet, a self-help site that says, "I hurt my child, and I don't want to anymore", so I'm putting this out there. I'm too rough. Sometimes, when I do manage to stop myself from yelling, THAT'S when it can get bad. Instead of yelling out loud, I yell with my actions instead. It's like the reverse of "Use your words!". When I don't use my words, I revert to using force. Today is June 1st. Change starts today, for real.   

Hugs to you too mama for making changes that are hard to do. make regular posts and threads so that we can all support you too!

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#30 of 32 Old 06-01-2013, 12:31 PM
 
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 I don't like to have the tv on with my son around but I decided, you know what, if this will help my sanity and help me calm down, then I need to give myself a break from feeling like a bad mama b/c I am putting the tv on.  And it did help.

 

I've been trying to keep tv to Saturdays only, but I've realized that tv can't be more damaging than me losing my cool. So for the next little while, I'm going to be more relaxed about the tv. I know it makes it sound like I'm letting the tv babysit my child, which is terrible. But, I need help. At least temporarily.

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