Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mommy mantra

There are several people lucky enough to have an in-person relationship with my daughter.
Family, friends, and teachers. These people all love to tell me how sweet she is, how pleasant. She is always a fantastic listener at school. Always a good friend to her classmates. Always "so easy!".

While I do not deny that my girl has a real knack for caring and an amazing sweet streak, I also know that she can be very far from it.

At home, the dark side can really come out. We've had some heated arguments lately. She can be violent too - my hair is tired of getting pulled. A few days ago, she even chased me around the house trying to bite my leg.

It breaks my heart to see her with so much rage. To hear her exclaim, "Mommy, I can't stop crying!" when she has gotten over the initial anger.
She is a spirited and strong-willed child. She is extremely smart and knows just what buttons to push to drive me up the wall. And while I have let myself get angry with her, I know I need to get these situations under control. And soon.

On bad days, I feel like a hostage in my own home. I walk on eggshells, waiting for the next little thing to set her off. And that doesn't feel good.

I've reflected a lot about my own behaviors lately. I've searched for parenting advice that breaks out of the "timeout" mold - this may work for other kids, but it certainly does not work with mine. I never believe I have the right answers, but I'm ready to work hard within myself and see what sticks.

My new mommy mantra:
  • What will not hurt her does not need a "no".
  • Messes, within reason, are not a big deal.
  • If she insists she does't need potty, she wants trust. Let it go, even if an accident is imminent.
  • When the sweetness comes out (or the monster stays in), praise praise praise.
  • The angrier I feel, the less emotion I should show.
  • "Inside voice" applies to Mommy too.
  • When it matters, Mommy is always the boss. I will not get overthrown.

Wish me luck. I need to regain control of this sinking ship.

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