Sunday, May 22, 2005

Anger Management

Overall, I'd say I was a fairly slow-to-boil kind of person. Outside of the current events arena (witnessing my sputtering response to the abomination du jour of the current administration, Sean will ask, with obvious concern, "What's the matter, Mommy?"), I don't anger easily.

Why is it, then, that my children bring out my inner wild-eyed, sharp-tongued harpy? Lately, it seems that I can go from 0 to freak out in less than 10 seconds. I'm really dismayed at how impatient I can be. And then there's the voice that sometimes accompanies these impatient reactions. WHERE did that come from? I'm generally mealy-mouthed and overly polite -- I never would have thought my vocal cords could orchestrate such tones.

Reactions like this don't happen all the time, I hasten to add. But when they do, I can't help but feel that I am failing my children miserably.

Somehow, the Benign Dictatorship model of parenting that I unofficially championed has not quite worked out as planned. I had thought that if I were kind and sweet and benevolent, always phrasing my requests politely (and firmly as needed), my children would follow my directions. But when confronted, for example, with a 3-year-old who laughs in my face when I am reprimanding him for shoving his sister, I find myself thisclose to exploding.

Now that I'm home with them, the near occasions for losing my patience are obviously greater. Since I don't want my kids to think of me as Tripwire Mommy, I'm working on a roster of coping mechanisms. I do find that counting to 10 before I speak helps the impatience dissipate a bit; sometimes, I even walk away for a minute before reacting.

I'm curious -- how do you handle those moments when your kid(s) push you to the edge? It happens to you, too, right? Right?