Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pouring My Heart Out...Words Hurt

"Stop your crying.  Seriously, it's getting on my nerves.  Why do you cry so easily?!" I screeched at Cole, my extremely sensitive 7-year old son.

The minute the words left my mouth, I immediately regretted them.  The look on his face was one of shock, frustration and disappointment.

Disappointment in his mother...someone who is supposed to support and love him, no matter what.  Even if he was crying over something that seemed downright trivial to me.

It had been a particularly tiring day, draining me of every ounce of energy I had left...and it was only 3:00 in the afternoon.

The last hour had been spent battling with Cole and Bella to finish their homework while the little twins, Garrett and Landon, yelled at one another over who was to be the yellow Pikachu in their 5th round of Super Smash Brothers on the Wii.

And the level of noise in the house was quickly wearing me down.  It used to never bother me...the noise, that is.  However, after having children, I seem to be hyper-sensitive to the endless chaos and commotion that happens within our home, 16 hours a day.

My head ached and pulsated, begging for relief.  My blood began to boil, forcefully lurching me to a place I didn't want to go.

I knew this was the point where the situation called for me to retreat.  Simply walk away, Helene...I told myself.  Take a breather.  Go outside and jump on the trampoline.  Lock yourself in the bathroom and take a few deep breaths.

"Do not allow yourself to say anything you'll regret.  Words hurt," my inner voice reminded me.

And yet, despite my conscience warning me against verbal damage, I did it anyway.

When I told Cole to give me a minute to turn off the Wii before WWIII broke out, he burst into angry tears.  Just like that.  No quivering of the lip, no teary eyes, nothing.

The waterworks turned on with very little effort and I completely lost my ability to stay in control...and that's when the poisonous words spilled out of my mouth.

I'll be the first one to tell you that I don't spank my kids.  I can hold myself back from swatting them over the most serious of situations.  I prefer to have conversations with them...ones they'll learn from and use in future situations when they face yet another challenge.

Yet, I forget that words, too, can hurt...just as much as a spanking can.  Words can't be taken back.  Once they've been spoken (or screamed), they linger in the a foul stench that won't go away.

Sure, I can apologize, which I often do...but the damage has been done.  I've crushed their little spirits...perhaps even tainted their view of me as a mother who is supposed to be loving and accepting of their good AND not-so-good qualities.

So what if Cole cries easily?  That's just who he is.  I should know that if he wants a red apple and all I have are green apples that his first response may be to cry.  It's his form of expressing immediate frustration and I can't hold that against him, no matter how exhausted and defeated I feel.

Because I grew up hearing nothing but negative, hurtful words from my parents, I'm even harder on myself than I should be.  Without proper role models, I'm constantly floundering in this stage of my life called parenthood...forever worrying that I'm permanently fucking up my children's one shot at a happy childhood.

At the same time, I realize I'm only human and, as much as I want to control every one of my actions, I will fail time and again.

What's a mother to do?

I'm not exactly sure.  It's a never-ending learning process, I suppose.

But I do know that every day is a fresh start...a new opportunity to shine as the mother I strive to be.  One who opens her mouth and speaks kind, loving and patient words.  One who accepts her children's quirks and downfalls for what they are and doesn't worry that others may find it annoying or embarrassing.

In the end, my hope is that my children will understand that I'm doing the best I can.  I struggle, I face challenges and I smile through the tears (75% of the time).

Most of all, I want them to be absolutely who God created them to be and feel loved for who they are.

My wish for myself is that I can be stronger when that inner voice is warning me to walk away.

Words hurt.  It's something I must always remember. Registered & Protected


Samantha said...

I struggle with these same things. I've said things to Bree that hurt me so bad once they came out, I couldn't believe I said them. I get so angry sometimes, I have a hard time controlling myself...but I've got to get a better grip on myself. Especially when she asks me frequently, "Why are you mean?" a.k.a "Why are you biting my head off, screaming at me, and making me feel bad?" Makes me sad.

Julia Hunter said...

Aww i can see where your coming from, sometimes it's hard not to vent your frustration at your kids.You are right there is always a fresh start the next day.

Just Jennifer said...

Something we try not to say is "What is WRONG with you??" My husband grew up with question asked of him a lot and all it did was make him feel like there was something really wrong with him. Instead, I try to say "what's going on with you?" It's so hard to know which things we say to our kids will be the words that stick with them. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Sounds to me like you're very aware and even if you slip sometimes, the love you show them will outweigh everything else.

Shell said...

Oh girl- we've all said something we wish we could take back. For me,this is on a daily basis. I'm trying to learn to walk away. That that is better than me yelling at them. But, OMG, they make it hard.

Lisa said...

We've all done this. It breaks my heart when I yell at PJ and he runs away, so sad, crying, when he won't let me hug him. That hurts so much it's helped me to refrain from doing it again. Don't beat yourself up.

Emmy said...

Ok I could have wriiten this post. And now feeling really crapy about how I have been behaving lately. Thank you for sharing this- I needed this today

Mandee said...

Awww...I think this has happened to the best of us. Sometimes things get crazy around here (how could they not with 5 boys!?) and I might lose my temper and say something. I think it is important for parents to apologize to their children. We expect it out of our children, yet a lot of adults won't do it. I'm not afraid to tell my children that I was wrong and that I am sorry, it really makes me feel better. Hang in there, I'm sure you are a great mother! :)

Nezzy said...

Yeah, give me a spankin' any day of the week over harsh words. Believe my Dad know how to cut my little heart to the core in the blink of an eye.

Sweetie, please don't beat yourself up too hard. The best of mothers under the best of circumstances are gonna blow it now and then. It's human and there's not a one of us perfect. (Try as we may...Heeehehehe)

You kiddos are blessed and they know that Mommy isn't always havin' a good day (or minute). Isn't it grand that they'll love us though all our bloopers. :o)

God bless you sweet Mama and have a 'peaceful' day!!!

'Nothin' wrong with dreamin'...right?

Eva Gallant said...

That's one we've all struggled with. No of us is perfect. We just do the best we can!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

We all fail sometimes. And all we can do is try our very best to model the behavior we want our children to, and fast-forwarding 30 years to when they're parents themselves.

While I wish I could say I've never been disappointed in the way I've handled a situation, that's not true. I'm not sure it's possible, at least not for me. But I do think it's important that we have these conversations with ourselves...not to beat ourselves up, but to try to draw strength to learn and do "better" the next time.

Deep breaths...and maybe some chocolate is in order! :)

Jackie said...

It is so hard, to bite our tongue, to keep our cool, to remember how much those words can sting. I guess all we can do is learn from our own mistakes, just as we insist our children do.

My Mercurial Nature said...

Well written! This is something I really struggle with and I work, every single day, to send myself to mommy time out before I utter one hurtful word that cannot be taken back. And I do hope that my children at least learn that their mom has to say sorry to THEM, just as often as they may have to say sorry to her (if that makes sense).

Karen Peterson said...

I think the fact that you recognize you're doing it and are trying to do better is going to set an equally good example for your kids. You haven't just given up and let yourself be "who you are." You're trying everyday, and that says a lot.

Jenny said...

Wonderful post. Sometimes I just can't find the patience and yell instead. Of course, that only makes me feel worse and ends with Abby crying even more.

January Dawn said...

Helene, we've all done that, been there. And I think about this too...wondering if those regretful words or tone of voice that jumped out of my mouth in a moment of impatience, will stick with them forever. We all have those moments that occurred when we were younger that have stuck with us but as adults and especially as parents we can see the bigger picture now. We're all human. So are our parents. And we all make mistakes. So did our parents. It's in the knowing and wanting to be better, that makes us better people and better parents. :) YOU are a wonderful Mother.

Singedwingangel said...

As a mom of 3 boys I totally understand how you feel. I cannot count the number of times things have come out of me that I absolutely cringe over once they become audible words in the universe. All we can do is admit we lost it and were wrong to say that..which shows our kids that everyone has moments.

MiMi said...

I believe that inner voice IS God.
And I know that I ignore it too much.
I deal with my 8 year old and his anxiety issues almost daily. And I know what I'm supposed to say and what not to say, but dang it, some days I just can't take it anymore and I burst out with some crap that I shouldn't say.
"For out of the mouth comes the feelings of the heart." Or something like that, it's in the Bible. LOL
I think that the kids know you love them, and know that it's unconditional. I knew that about my mom even though she could be a hardass. Like. All the time.
They will UNDERSTAND when they are adults.
Hugs for you, momma. I know exactly how you feel.

Natalie said...

This is such a great and honest post. I think it's so difficult to not let our emotions get to us when we are drained and tired. We're always learning as we go. You're doing a great job!

Mamarazzi said...

what a beautiful is filled with lessons and reminders, good for you for being the kind of mama who sees them and self evaluates to grow and change. you kids will also learn the value of forgiveness through your beautiful example of a humble apology.

irishtwinsmommababybook said...

So true. Wow. I had that day today. All day. I felt like no one was listening... And the only way to get through to them was to yell. It's hard to take that time out sometimes.

You are doing the best job and I know you are a great mama.

Kimberly said...

I get this.
I so get this.
I've had a lot of those moments lately. I come from a home where we were verbally abused and I try so hard to break that cycle. I grew up learning that yelling and name calling was acceptable. I know that is not true...and I certainly do not want my son growing in that same environment I had.
But it's hard.
It's hard to keep your temper in check when things are going haywire. The fact that you feel remorseful is a good sign.
i find myself apologizing to my son after an outburst.
Sending you hugs and thank you for writing about this so honestly

Evonne said...

I think we all say things we regret and we all worry about fucking up our kids' childhoods. It doesn't make it any easier, but it's not just you.

My kids have been in a tattling for every single little thing phase. The other night my son said to his sister, "I don't wanna hear it". That's what I say when they tattle, but hearing it from my child's mouth made me realize how uncaring it sounds.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I bet there isn't a mother out there that doesn't struggle with this one!

Kmama said...

You are not alone in this. There are times (and now I'm totally tearing up as I type this) that I find words escaping my lips, being said to my children, that I would NEVER EVER say to anyone else.

Why I think it's okay to say those things to my own children is beyond me. It's a terrible thing, and I hate myself when it happens. Thankfully, it doesn't happen often.

Heather said...

Being a Mommy is one of the hardest and most trying things I've ever done. You're bound to make mistakes, just like all of us are. But, you are also bound to do tons of awesome things! It's more difficult with a sensitive child. Noly is like that, and I find that she gets really hurt when I lose it with her. She is also very quick to accept my apology, and all I can do is try to do better next time.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

It's true, words do hurt. BUT don't beat yourself up. The fact that you make a conscious effort not to say things like that so much of the time shows what a good parent you are. We all slip up in frustration. The kids will forgive us (after many years of therapy). KIDDING!!! =D

blueviolet said...

There's not a mother out there who hasn't snapped too quickly from time to time, but the fact that you're aware of it is the beginning of change, and like you said, it doesn't happen all the time. There are just some extra tough days when it's extra tough to fight it. He knows you adore him!!!!

Shelly - Tropical Mum said...

Thank you for writing this. I knew it wasn't just me, but it is good to read in your post and in the comments that we all struggle with the same thing. said...

--Thanks for you honesty.

Yes. We all need this reminder.

Words HURT. They have So Much Power.


Missy said...

What a heartfelt post. And I understand it so well because I've done the same thing. Waited until I'm so close to needing to step away that when that final thing happens as I try to do it, I lose my temper. I was completely unprepared for the doubt and guilt that would accompany parenthood. Know that you're not alone in this, Helene!

Zeemaid said...

I totally agree with you that words hurt and that we as parents need to watch what we say but at least you do apologize and when you do you show them a) you are human and b) that when you make a mistake you own it and apologize for it.

I don't know about yours but my parents certainly never apologized to me no matter how wrong they were. We were just expected to know it and get over it.

So while it's a never ending learning process, i think by being sensitive, we've already learned something more.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

It's so hard to make mistakes...especially when we're supposed to be the ones that know it all.

I love the previous poster's comment about does make a difference. I apologize when I screw up and it may not erase what has taken place, but it does show that I recognize my mistake and want to make up for it...

Ang and Mike said...

A friend once told me, Can you imagine how hard it would be to be the kid of a perfect parent?

Cascia Talbert said...

That is very touching and so true. I always have to remind myself to think before I speak. My kids are pretty sensitive too. And I live with a teenager who has a lot of trouble with her emotions. If I say the wrong thing it can set her off.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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