Any tips on how to deescalate a tantrum that likely started because you were providing divided attention? I’m asking for a friend.
We all have bad days. As parents, these are the days which invented the phrase “I literally can’t even” and in which you use said phrase as a perfectly legitimate excuse for a few extra episodes of Daniel Tiger. These are the days in which you greet the welcome sight of bedtime with a generous glass of wine or a good, old-fashioned Netflix binge (even more likely, both).
Now, while I appreciate these vices, these especially bad days tend to leave me prostrate and sobbing on the living room floor (I tend to err on the side of dramatic.).
Jake has found me in this place on more than one occasion, and bless him for not laughing at me audibly. I just can’t deal with the feeling that I didn’t give the day my best. Mom guilt sets in full force, and in every scenario-turned-sour, I can see where I went wrong; I can recognize the things I could have executed far better. I can see into the futures of my children to the ways all my failures will certainly cause them ruin (I know, I know. But I did warn you about this tendency already.).
These nights are usually followed by mornings of angry-face emoji text messages sent to no less than three fellow moms. And in the moments of crucial solidarity which come in fast reply, I typically hear something I needed to be reminded of: “You’re doing a great job.”
And that’s all well and good on the days that I do, but lately I can’t stop thinking about the days that I don’t.
Because, if I’m being completely honest with myself, there are days when i just don’t give my best. They are the days in which the morning news or my Facebook newsfeed distract me from interactions with my kids. The days in which I have trouble resolving a fight because I wasn’t paying close enough attention to how it began in the first place. The days in which I choose to put myself first.
I’m learning more and more that self-discipline is the hard work of the middle. It’s work that requires a death to self, a sacrifice, and a pointed determination.
Well-intentioned people might try to tell me that it’s okay to have an off day every once in awhile, and maybe there’s truth to that because bad days are certainly unavoidable when you’re trying to teach tiny people appropriate responses to a vast scheme of emotions. However, I have resolved to believe that as general human beings, we have to fight against the sentiment that we deserve these days. That it’s okay to check out mentally. I mean, is there ever a justifiable reason to choose Instagram over reading that book you hate for the eighth time in 30 minutes? Again, asking for a friend here.
In twenty years, I want my kids to tell you that I loved them well, and I know that starts now in the moments they won’t even remember. I’d like Jake to say the same as well as my family and friends and any other general person I come in contact with. I want to hear the phrase, “You’re doing a good job” and accept it because it’s true. Because each day I died to myself, sacrificed, and determined myself to be better.
I want to eliminate the tantrums caused by lack of attention. You know, set a good example for my friend and all.