Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crying over spilled macaroni

The awful ragweed season we're having has been wreaking havoc on my energy level and my quality of sleep. Sunday night I was finally sleeping well...until Chickie woke me up at 4, having had a rare bed-wetting accident. It took The Engineer and I awhile to clean it up.

Sure enough, that missed sleep messed up everything. I got up on Monday, and it wasn't long before I was feeling genuinely sick. Congestion and exhaustion combined to make me a tired, frustrated mess.

I spent quite a bit of the morning getting the house straightened up and cleaning the tile, wanting a decently clean house so I could relax for the rest of the day. At lunchtime, I made macaroni and cheese. After we'd sat there eating for several minutes, I started hearing it.

Sllllap. Sllllop. Slllip.

I looked at Zoodle next to me and realized he was purposefully dropping cheesy macaroni on the floor.

And I decided to let leash my frustration instead of having self-control. "NO!" I yelled. "WE DO NOT DROP FOOD ON THE FLOOR!!"

Immediately I felt terrible for yelling at him. My voice came down to a normal level, and I said, "Zoodle, I'm sorry I yelled." I began to cry. "It's just that Mommy doesn't feel good, and I cleaned these floors today, and I didn't want to have to clean them again!" I continued tearfully explaining my frustration to the kids, who thankfully showed concern (Chickie) and remorse (Zoodle) even if they did feel a little confused about why Mommy was crying about a messy floor.

I got a good nap that day during Zoodle's naptime, and that night I slept very well. Yesterday I woke up feeling much better...and able to evaluate what my reaction had been to Zoodle's naughtiness.

I wish I hadn't yelled. That's not what I want to teach my kids. On the other hand, I don't regret crying in front of them when I was sick and frustrated. I want my kids to see me experiencing and expressing genuine emotions. That's how they learn to pay attention to the feelings of others. If I let them see that their actions upset me (minus the yelling), they learn that their actions affect others. And there's nothing wrong with them seeing that mommies are human too, that we don't have unlimited energy and patience and health.

But now that they've had the chance to see Mommy at such a rough's nice to be back in a state of mind that doesn't leave me crying over spilled macaroni.


Melinda said...

I am glad you are feeling better. It is so hard in those moments of pure frustration to keep your cool, and we all are overtaken a little by it now and then.

I always feel terrible when Ian sees me cry. That look of worry in his eyes makes me feel bad that I am the one making him scared. However, you are right in that it is ok for kids to see adults cry. It is something we all do from time to time and we really shouldn't be ashamed.

Sasha said...

BTDT. Millions of times. Hugs!

Just Margaret said...

I think it's very important for our kids to see all emotions. Holding it in is good for no one...but learning how to manage real emotions is actually a gift...I think we live fuller lives when we accept the bad with the good. You're showing your kids that...and that? That is huge.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I had a moment like that not too terribly long ago. I had just reached my breaking point. I had a bit of a histrionic meltdown. The good news is that because it's so rare for me to act that way, it really got their attention and changed how things were going! And it also teaches me a bit about how my kids are feeling sometimes when they have meltdowns!

Mellodee said...

I do not believe that any mother can manage to go through parenting (especially of a little kid) WITHOUT yelling at least once or twice! Kids have a way of getting themselves into the exact things that can make moms go BOOM! A MOM CAN ONLY BE PUSHED SO FAR....

Amanda said...

I've never felt like I've gotten through to my kids, about something that upset me, more than when I cried about how their actions hurt me. I think it does help see beyond themselves.

Big Hugs!

forever folding laundry said...

Don't feel badly. It definitely happens, and it's a good lesson for kids to see that sometimes people get mad, but they also can apologize for losing their temper.

And I had something similar happen this morning with chocolate milk. *sigh* Will the cleaning ever end?!?!