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#61 of 79 Old 08-06-2007, 07:21 PM
 
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I get so angry sometimes. I really think it stems from self-loathing. I hate how I look, I hate how I feel most days, and I feel like that little hamster in the wheel just with my regular expected daily activities. I also feel like almost everything is out of control. I can't count on the next time I'll sleep or when I'll have a couple of minutes to clear my head. I don't want to be mad at my precious kids.

DH and DS#1 are on the autism spectrum, so of course anything they do to anyone is MY problem and I have to "Fix" it. DH won't work more, he tells me to try to get more hours instead. I have constant $$ issues, so I can't just hire a babysitter and go away, how to afford that? I would love to join a health club or go on a long bike ride myself, but how to do that? So instead I feel the anger welling up and then the whole self-loathing cycle starts again...
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#62 of 79 Old 08-06-2007, 07:58 PM
 
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Hugs KarenEMT - just read the first two entries and am subbing so I can read the rest. There is another great thread in Personal Growth called Parenting and Rage. I'm an active participant on that one.
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#63 of 79 Old 08-06-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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Subbing to read.
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#64 of 79 Old 08-07-2007, 01:31 AM
 
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I'm really lucky that my kids are far apart in age (eight years) and I have the benefit of parenting my older dd and there are literally no siblings conflicts to manage in our household. I find it so much easier to be calm in a calm environment! I also feel lucky that I'm an older mama (42) and had a chance to work out most of my *stuff* in therapy long before my kids came along.

What I've seen a lot with American parents is that attachment causes suffering. Whether it's attachment to a certain ideal child behavior, attachment to the day flowing a certain way, attachment to a certain kind of loving relationship with a child, these things all interfere with peace and serenity because we can't accept people/situations/things on their own terms. I find my biggest struggle is to stay internally referenced, that is, to not reference myself to outside "experts", consumer-focused commercials, advice or examples from friends, etc....These comparisons only cause me stress.

What's helped me deal with my attachment and external reference challenges has been yoga. Since it's impossible to attain perfection in yoga, the focus must remain on the process of striving toward the ideal, while at the same time accepting you will never reach it. Reach and release. Try and let go.

I think the same can be said about GD. My personal philosophy is to be loving, but firm. The calmer I remain, the more my kids listen to me when I DO need to raise my voice (in a dangerous situation, for example).

Oh, one other things that's REALLY helped me is having realistic expectations of my kids based both on child development and on their own individual personalities.

Some random thoughts. Thanks for starting this great thread.

Me : living with and loving papa and the kids: Dd1 8/97 , dd2 8/04 and my sweet baby ds 5/09 : :
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#65 of 79 Old 08-07-2007, 02:52 AM
 
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"I wish I lived in neighborhood with kids. I get lonely and wish for a friend to pop over with her kids and have coffee with me while the kids play.
As it is I live in an apartment complex with mostly old people and the young couples move out to raise families."

Just so you know, I'm in the same situation. It's a shame as we have a huge courtyard with tons of room to play.
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#66 of 79 Old 08-07-2007, 09:07 AM
 
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It is amazing to me to see how many mama's feel this from all over the world. I firmly believe that the lack of a support system is a big part of how we deal with our stressors. For a while I lived in a neighborhood where there were other SAHM's so our kids were always hanging together. We would sometimes sit on each others lawn and just vent to each other about whatever was going on in our lives. I felt like I had been to therapy after. It was such a healing event for all of us. If I knew S was having a tough day I'd get her kids to come hang at my house so she could get stuff done, take a nap, whatever she needed and vice versa. Now, I am in a new location and there are no SAHM's around. My family is 8 hours away and it is a more "clicky" area. It's hard. I told my DH the other day I feel trapped here. I feel stuck in the house, stuck in "my chores", stuck...stuck! After I screamed and cried it out, I did feel a little better. It was like yeah, I admitted how I feel.

As far as reacting goes, I read something that helped. "Anger has three components: 1-We perceive an object that we find unpleasant (ie: My child being loud in a store.) 2-We exaggerate the perceived harm (ie: Everyone will think my child is out of control, talk about me and stare at me) 3- We develop a wish to harm (ie: I wished I could shout at him and make him fear/obey me) Anger leads to a harming mind." If I read this enough that I can absorb it, I can see the spiral when I start to feel that irritation building. I am not saying it is easy to step back and there are days I hear this playing in my head after the fact that I have blown up. But I am feeling encouraged that it is playing at all. Maybe I am taking baby steps!!!!

Another thought "When we feel irritated or angry we need to admit we have chose to perceive the disturbance and judge it as "bad". ..is the situation REALLY worth such an emotional investment?" I guess it is that almighty pick you battle. There are days when I battle over everything with my children. That is when I see the control issues I have rear there ugly heads.

We are all on a journey and I believe that as long as we continue to talk to one another and support one another without judging (I can't believe she did that!!!!!) we will grow into the mothers we desire to be. Will we mess up, sure, but the beauty is that there is always another day and a fresh start. We have to look forward, not back and strive to do it better the next time. We are our own worst critics.

Peace-
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#67 of 79 Old 08-07-2007, 09:34 AM
 
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Let me first say I haven't taken the time to read respondses so sorry if I repeat...

I am a mom who gets angry and so far ds is pretty unaware when I nearly explode.

I think it reflects how I was raised, that I am not supported in my community in GD (and therefore over stretched) and the clincher for me is exhaustion. If I am over tired I can't cope.

For my situation I find it helpful to in the moment forgive myself for getting angry... given all the reasons above it makes sense that I will have bad days and moments.

Anger is a pretty genuine human emotion - it happens and the best anyone can do is model to your child the appropriate ways to express anger - by talking about it and by forgiving yourself.

GD and trying to be gentle doesn't make anyone a saint. AND I think feeling shame over your anger or failing to model all the spectrum of human emotion would be neglecting your childs need to feel normal themselves when they experience these emotions.

I don't want my child growing up resenting me because I ran around feeling superior because I never got angry... see what I mean.

Tea drinking Momma::: Grady 8/06 and : Coralynn 8/09
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#68 of 79 Old 08-07-2007, 03:47 PM
 
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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.

Did I?

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.
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#69 of 79 Old 08-08-2007, 08:58 AM
 
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Great thread!
I think the problem is not that we feel anger and frustration, but rather that we experience our children as the source of these feelings.
I guess I try to always remember that I am the source of my own anger. My DC are not 'making me angry'. They are doing their thing, and I am making myself angry.
I try to focus on the physical experience of the anger. Feel my blood rushing, the pressure in my head, my heart beating and remember that I am causing this feeling. I am angry because the reality of the moment is at odds with what I think SHOULD be.
It is basically a control issue. So I try to relax about things.
The hard thing, I think, is that taking care of our children is our job. Our job is to help them be warm, safe, fed, confident, happy. And our children are in many ways the objects of our job. The material that we work with, many of us 24/7.
Our jobs are, in our society, tied up with our identity. How well we do our job is important to our experience of our worth as people. We want to do well to feel good about ourselves.
But here is the problem: Our children are also people. They are people with whom we have realtionships. People are complicated. Relationships are complicated. I think many times children resent the way our identities are tied up in our parenting of them. I think the power struggles mainly come from this part of the relationship. The mom wants the kid to be clean, because it figures into her idea of what the child of a good mother looks like, the child could give a fig about this and wants to get dirty -- friction insues.
I think we often overparent, which leaves our kids feeling objectified and leaves us frustrated and also with this odd feeling that we are missing the point, iykwim. It is when we can relax and just be while letting our kids do the same that parenting is most rewarding.
I think our society is so obsessed with success and so goal oriented that we end up applying that to our relationship with our kids, where it has no place.
I often see this kind of thing happening on this board too. Competition for who is the most GD, who is the best mom, who is the most tireless, the most self-sacrificing. And it creates a sutle pressure all the time.
In short, I think the anger comes when our children threaten our view of ourselves as great mothers.
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#70 of 79 Old 08-08-2007, 09:48 AM
 
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I laugh a lot, and that helps. There's very little that "puts me over the edge" but it does happen. Just yesterday I was not proud of the struggle I got into with DD, 2, during a tantrum. The external stressors for me were that it was about 100% humidity and I had cramps, and I had woken up in a funk. I just couldn't deal as well as I normally do.

I totally agree that the lack of community/family support is a huge thing. A previous poster mentioned that daycare is really the new community, and I agree with that too. I have DD in daycare three half days a week, and I think that break really helps me, even though I love being with her and doing everything for her--I go to work for the three six hour days and and get 18 hours a week where someone else is in charge of the childcare and I can focus on work and whatever else.

Obviously, daycare is not realistic or desired for many families--but when I was in high school I babysat all the time for my aunt and her three daughters. I went on vacations with them, and was over her house most afternoons after school. She was a SAHM but she had help (Me!) and it was good for me and for her and for the kids.
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#71 of 79 Old 08-08-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by my2suns View Post
For a while I lived in a neighborhood where there were other SAHM's so our kids were always hanging together. We would sometimes sit on each others lawn and just vent to each other about whatever was going on in our lives. I felt like I had been to therapy after. It was such a healing event for all of us. If I knew S was having a tough day I'd get her kids to come hang at my house so she could get stuff done, take a nap, whatever she needed and vice versa.
That sounds like heaven.
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#72 of 79 Old 08-08-2007, 02:05 PM
 
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What an amazing thread.
I KNOW that I get angry wayyy to much. Though, I am far better now then I was 10 years ago (when my oldest was born). I find that my anger almost always comes out on my DH and kids, more so the DH. I find for me my anger is almost never REALLY about what the kids or DH are doing. I am alnmost always angry at someone or something else and they get the spill over. When I am angry at the kids (though as I am typing that it sounds so horriable) is always because their not doing what I want them to do. I want the house clean and their messing it up type thing. Its mostly always a matter of a power struggle.For me I think my need for the "upper hand" came right out of my childhood. I learnt early on in my childhood that the weaker gets whacked. My parents were divorced and both sets of parents were quite abusive in all different ways, plus being molested by my grandfather, well oyu get the picture , it didnt set me up for a good model as far as that parent role. It didnt set me up ot REALLY know HOW to deal with REAL emotions. I learnt early on that being weaked SUCKED. So when I get angry is usually me trying to get back that power that I feel like I am losing. I have learnt though that I HAVE to take a step back. Count myself down and react from a place of loving my kids. Not from a place of , holy cow their trying to 'get me" becuase I really dont beleive that AND I am NOTHING like my parents. I know that sometimes my anger comes from resentment. But I have learnt that when I am feeling that way , its usually becuase I have not taken time for myself in awhile so I go for a walk and realign myself.
I feel like I have really not had a model of parent in my life which I actully think has helped me. I dont really have traits in me that I remeber from my childhood becuase I am completely opposite of anything my parents were and I have created my own parenting model and live by it. *shrugs* I am babbling.
cheers
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#73 of 79 Old 08-08-2007, 06:23 PM
 
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Its simple, we are human.
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#74 of 79 Old 08-08-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cpop View Post
Great thread!
I think the problem is not that we feel anger and frustration, but rather that we experience our children as the source of these feelings.
I guess I try to always remember that I am the source of my own anger. My DC are not 'making me angry'. They are doing their thing, and I am making myself angry.

.................................................. .................................
Our jobs are, in our society, tied up with our identity. How well we do our job is important to our experience of our worth as people. We want to do well to feel good about ourselves.
But here is the problem: Our children are also people. They are people with whom we have realtionships. People are complicated. Relationships are complicated.
.................................................. .......................................
In short, I think the anger comes when our children threaten our view of ourselves as great mothers.


I haven't had a chance to read through all the responses yet, but I wanted to add a comment to this brilliant, and thought-provoking post.

I would argue that in fact, based on what you have so rightly pointed out in the second paragraph, that my children are, at times, the source of my anger and frustration. And, that's ok.

All intimate relationships produce intense feelings at times. I get angry at my husband, my mother, father, sister, and my friends, so why would my relationship(s) with my children be immune to anger?

The way I cope with anger and frustration produced by my children is to simply accept it. The anger doesn't last long, if I take the time to reflect on it. The world doesn't end, and I don't stop loving my kiddos.

I am also very intrigued by the last bolded sentence, and think it is very insightful.

I have to think on this a bit more, but I want to thank you for bringing up some really interesting points; you've given me a lot to think about.

Great thread, Ladies.
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#75 of 79 Old 08-09-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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I am angry because the reality of the moment is at odds with what I think SHOULD be.
It is basically a control issue.
Coming in a bit late to this thread, but cpop has absolutely nailed the source of my most common anger with the above statement. (The rest of her post was pretty on-target for me as well.) This is such an interesting thread.

So often when I am angry, I *know* it's my own doing. For example, maybe I waited too long to start getting ready to go, so there is NO time for the kids to dawdle even a little and thus we are running late. I take some of my frustration out on the kids, "I don't KNOW where your shoes are! Why aren't they where they're supposed to be??" This makes me more angry, because I know my snapping at them is unjust. I'm angry at myself, really, but an angry mom is an angry mom, and some of it is bound to spill over onto whomever is in her path -- usually her kids.

That said, I do think isolation -- not only of mothers, but of nuclear families in general, including the children -- either has something to do with the anger itself or with our ability to manage anger from other sources. (Maybe both.) I just spent the past weekend camping with other families from our Quaker meeting. The fact that I had other adults to talk to, *and* that the kids spent some of their time at the other campsites meant that I stayed relaxed enough to "go with the flow" more easily than usual. There were times when all of the kids were at my campsite, of course. Those were the most "stressful" moments, but not in a bad way. I was simply aware of the responsibility and I had to spend some energy helping the children, getting them snacks, etc. After a while, they were off to somewhere else and the small burden of responsibility melted away until I needed to call my own children back to me for whatever reason. It was an ebb and flow that I don't generally experience in modern life, but I really enjoyed it!

I think mothers used to experience this ebb and flow more frequently when one's "community" was the same as one's geographical location -- the village, the neighborhood, etc. Now our supportive communities are often spread across distance. They are based at work, church, school, etc. They do provide important support, but not on a daily, practical level as can happen when you all live within walking distance of one another.

Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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#76 of 79 Old 08-09-2007, 01:09 AM
 
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I agree that it can be a control issue, and that when I snap I usually later see some way that I could have avoided it. However, no human mom can avoid this anger all (or even most) of the time. I think that line of thinking just feeds the anger. Sometimes I am gonna get upset and not handle it the best way. Sometimes I think it is normal to be upset at a loss of control if your kids are driving you nuts. I just don't want to yell at them about it or act over the top.

I think we see all these anger management threads b/c we do expect so much out of ourselves and we are isolated and it's hard work. I mean I think it's a good thing to look at our anger, but I feel like my AP leanings make me want to NEVER be angry, which is really not OK either.
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#77 of 79 Old 08-09-2007, 01:27 AM
 
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I think we see all these anger management threads b/c we do expect so much out of ourselves and we are isolated and it's hard work. I mean I think it's a good thing to look at our anger, but I feel like my AP leanings make me want to NEVER be angry, which is really not OK either.
Well, yeah, and the other thing is that it's really hard to do AP in our society.

I mean, the whole premise is that we evolved to be happiest when we were the most attached to our mama, right? So that means nursing whenever we want so our reptilian brain learns that we'll always be in a time of feast and not famine. Being carried all the time so our reptilian brain learns that we're safe from the predators. Sleeping close for the same reason, etc, etc.

But in our society, we go to bed not when the sun goes down, but whenever we get done doing stuff. So then being woken up four or five times in the six hours we have allocated for sleep makes us so sleep-deprived we can't see straight. And, at least for me, I get so touched out from nursing on demand and carrying my kids around all the time that I want to scream. But there's no adolescent cousin, grandma, auntie, or sister around to hold the kids for awhile, just me and dh, trying not to kill each other.

It's just hard to find a balance! And I'm not even a hardcore APer!

Mommy to kids

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#78 of 79 Old 08-09-2007, 05:12 AM
 
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Don't Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment and other Destructive Emotions, by Pema Chodron

I'm listening to these CD's of Pema Chodron right now and couldn't help but think of this thread. I highly highly recommend them, since they affirm so much of what's been said here and offer tools for working with the anger when it arises.
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#79 of 79 Old 08-09-2007, 01:22 PM
 
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Well, yeah, and the other thing is that it's really hard to do AP in our society.

I mean, the whole premise is that we evolved to be happiest when we were the most attached to our mama, right? So that means nursing whenever we want so our reptilian brain learns that we'll always be in a time of feast and not famine. Being carried all the time so our reptilian brain learns that we're safe from the predators. Sleeping close for the same reason, etc, etc.
All of the mamas who have replied to this thread have written such thoughtful replies. The second paragraph of the message I quoted is especially insightful. It's so easy to get caught up in the modern aspects of life, even while subscribing to AP ideas. My poor baby girl and her still-forming brain definitely need her mama to remember that her wanting me (and lately only me) to hold her isn't intended to drive me bonkers.

Lovin' my four-pack: M, S, a different M, and sleepytime.gif me.

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