Evie and I have been like oil and water for the past couple of weeks. What she wants to do and what I want her to do could not be more different. So, there’s been a lot of temper tantrum having around here, and Evie’s even thrown a few herself.
I hate yelling at my kid. I hate the unique combination of bubbling anger and subsequent guilt that comes with it. I hate the moment when the wall of patience you’ve built between the two of you finally comes crashing down. When you’ve had enough. When you choose raising your voice over reasoning and working through it.
And I hate the reaction you have to witness. The big eyes. The downturned mouth. The little head going down in defeat. And, sometimes, the tears. It kills me just to write about it, y’all.
Evie and I are alone together for large chunks of the day. There’s no one here to mediate. To buffer. To diffuse. To provide perspective. Sometimes just having an extra person in the room can encourage everyone else to behave themselves. On really bad days, Evie and I are at the mercy of whatever sets the other off. It doesn’t help that both of us really, really enjoy having our own way.
I gave up the possibility of being a perfect mother a long time ago. And, yes, I did think that was possible at one time. So did you. Don’t lie. But occasionally I fear I act like a bad mother. That I don’t make the best choices. That I should know better. I worry that I disregard too often that Evie is a little person, and I am a big person, and I neglect the responsibility and sensibility that goes along with that.
Don’t get me wrong, I know kids need discipline. I know they need to be told “no” on a regular basis, and sometimes they need to be verbally reminded of who’s boss. And if they won’t listen the first 15 times you let them know, the decibel level needs to go up. Sometimes it needs to go way up. That’s not what bothers me. What bothers me are the times after I crank up the volume only to realize afterward a way I could have resolved the situation without doing so. When I could have turned a disagreement into a calmly taught lesson. Or just let the whole thing go entirely because it was small and didn’t warrant any sweat.
I often think about how Evie feels about me when I come with the yelling. When I get in her face all hissy and pissy. When I’m Mean Mommy.
This is how children get ponies, y’all.