Friday, February 27, 2015

The post where all the judgmental people can go shove it.

Every now and then I read something that makes an icy chill of fear creep through my heart. You know the posts, the ones that pop up on parenting sites. The ones that say "why losing your temper with your children and smacking them or yelling at them or crying at them is the worst thing you can do as a parent and you are a child abuser and the worst parent in the world and studies prove that your children are going to end up horribly scarred and hate themselves and hate you and you should go die."

Well, maybe they don't quite say that. But you know what? Every time I read anything like that, that is what I see. I lose my temper with my kids. I do. Sometimes I just seem to reach critical mass point, and I wish I could smile and grit my teeth and keep it together. Sometimes I do. But sometime I don't. Sometimes I just see red, and instead of patience all I have is anger and rage and selfishness. Afterwards there is guilt and tears and apologies and repentance. But don't you worry, I know that no amount of apologies can erase the horrible damage I am doing.

Don't you think that we know? Do you honestly believe that those articles and stories and studies help us at all? Do you think that a parents who regularly loses their temper with their kids just magically reads some of those words and immediately goes, "gee I better stop losing my temper and being an angry parent" ?

Do you know how many times I've read the words "it's been proven that getting angry doesn't work, but sometimes, don't you wish it would?" No. No I don't. I know it doesn't work. I don't wish it would work. I wish that I wouldn't get angry, or that I could learn to control my anger. I don't get angry to make my children behave. I get angry because I am not coping. I get angry because the stress and frustration and irritation and fear and hurt of being a parent overwhelms me, and I need to find a better way of getting rid of that built up tension.

We know. I promise you. And we are terrified, fricking terrified every day about the damage we do. We are overwhelmed with guilt and stress already, believe me, you don't need to pile it on any thicker. Really the only purpose they serve is to make the parents who don't lose their shit at their kids feel superior, and to make the rest of us feel guilty and scared.

Just once, I wish I that instead of reading one of those 'helpful' articles, or comments from someone  who would never lose their temper at their child, I could read something real. Something from a person who has been there, who battles with their temper. Maybe even read something to help me learn some strategies and skills and tips on how to deal with parental stress and anger. I wish I could learn how to change my heart, and my crappy selfish attitude, and I wish I could learn how to give my troubles over to God, instead of letting them pour out in an angry outburst, or a loss of temper. I wish I could speak openly about my not coping, and what happens, instead of skirting around the issue because I'm scared of judgment.

I am constantly battling my selfish nature, and I am trying so hard to overcome my fight or flight instinct, or to retrain it. I am aware that I will chose fight, every time. But I am trying not to. I am trying so, so damn hard. I love my kids, so much. And I am hounded by fear and shame every day. Every night I sit by their beds while they are asleep and I pray that God will restore what damage I have done. I don't need any more well-meaning judgmental crap, or anything that just makes more anxious. I am just doing my damn best, and praying like mad that God's grace is sufficient for my parenting.

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