I did it. Sunk to the level of a two-year-old. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? And all because I was trying to get out of the house. I’d planned to have Robbie at daycare by 8:30 and head up to school (on my last day of summer, nonetheless). I could work for a few hours and then head to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. But, since I woke up at 8:09, that wasn’t going to happen. In fact, I didn’t drop Robbie off until 9:45. Mostly because he made it impossible to get out of the house.
Robbie threw his breakfast on the floor. He wanted to be downstairs when I needed to be upstairs. He threw my clothes across the room and my pillows on the floor. He jumped on the bed. He needed to use my deodorant on his belly. And he screamed. A lot.
So, eventually, I did what any rational mother who had been alone with her child for nearly five days would do. I yelled back. We went back and forth for a few minutes, both of us getting louder and louder. And then, just like that, I won.
Robbie’s face wrinkled up and the first tears fell from his eyes. We just stared at each other. Him standing. Me crouched down to make sure he really heard what I was yelling. And then my heart sank as Robbie started to sob. I opened my arms and he came running, wrapping his arms around my neck and holding on for dear life. Just like that, it was over.
I hate those moments. I’m the one who’s made Robbie cry, but I’m also the only one who can comfort him. That makes me feel even worse. Like I should know better. After all, I’m the adult. The one who knows that screaming matches never (well, rarely) solve anything. But this morning, I didn’t. I’m just glad that Robbie doesn’t know enough – yet – to hate me longer than 15 seconds when I have my moments of terrible parenting.
After 28 years of parenting, I’m also very glad that children’s memories are short and their forgiveness is full. The positive side of your screaming match is that you won. Kids desperately need to know who is in charge and that the authority is loving, solid and consistent. They push back against everything you say because they want to know where the boundaries are — because when we know our boundaries, we find greater joy within them. With a two-year-old, that is a demanding task, but critical to establish. You did the right thing to exert your authority… now all you have to do is work on establishing it in more areas of his/your life so it won’t spiral down to shouting matches each time…A great book I read years ago still remains a classic and great advice: “Dare to Discipline” — then, everyone wins…. At the beginning of each school year, you have to establish order so you can have a stable platform to teach from and then you enjoy the students more. Same thing with Robbie. A ton of hard work now will make the years ahead more joyous.
Hope that helps a little… from a mom who is still learning… (now with my grandson…) 🙂