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Monday, December 06, 2010

Today, I Cried...

Some days it just gets too hard.

I'm tired. Along with everyone else I know, I'm running from this social event to the next, dealing with kids who are so very tired from the whole school year (me too), and just trying to keep my head above water.

I don't cry often. I really don't. Yes - I've had days where things get hard and I've shed a tear or two. I've had days when I feel down, flat, tired as all hell and over it - but I still manage to keep it together.

You see, parenting is, for the most part, an incredibly rewarding, fun and fulfilling thing to do. It really is. I thank God every day for my children. I'm blessed. But oh my goodness - sometimes they are such hard work.

The 3yr old especially. I keep waiting for him to reach the same maturity his brothers did at the same age (he'll be 4 in a matter of weeks). It's there - I catch glimpses of it - but we're still experiencing some incredibly challenging behaviour. The tantrums are diabolical. Time outs mostly work, but some days they come so think and fast and he does everything he really shouldn't, and I find myself filled with so much frustration, I think I might explode.

This morning, I did.

It started over a pair of shorts. I asked him to get dressed, and these days he's so particular about what he wears, and he so badly wants to emulate his brothers. Last week, the 8yr old went on a surf skills course for school, so he had to wear his boardies (swimming shorts) under his school sports shorts. So, the 3yr old decided this morning - getting ready for his swimming lesson - that he wanted to wear his boardies under his shorts. The problem being? His shorts are not the same material as his brother's sports shorts - in fact, they were boardies as well, so imagine trying to get one on top of the other?

And so I said, "No." That didn't go down well.

He immediately started throwing a tantrum - screaming at the top of his lungs whilst I tried to hurry the 6yr old and 8yr old out the front door for school. My 3yr old has quite the scream on him. Really. I'm not exaggerating - it's a small miracle all our crystal glasses are still intact.

Feeling tired already - as well as time pressured - I put him in time out in his bedroom. I even grasped desperately at straws threatened to leave him there whilst I walked his brothers to school if he didn't calm down (for the record, I would never do that. This was one of those knee-jerk parenting moves you later regret because you can't follow through).

And still he screamed.

I did too. I was terribly frustrated. Eventually, I got him out the front door and he screamed all the way down to school, and whinged all the way back. I just kept walking.

We got home, and he immediately started the tantrum back up about the shorts and that's when it happened.

I cried.

I couldn't take it a second longer. The frustration, the exhaustion - the fact that we haven't slept properly all week - came to a head and I couldn't control myself a second longer.

I cried. And it felt so good.

I bawled my eyes out in fact. The 3yr old - shocked - ran out of the room and quietly sat on his bed, leaving me to it. I sat on the couch and I cried until I felt a little better. There was not a sound from the 3yr old's bedroom.

Eventually, my tears finished, but too exhausted to even move, I stayed seated on the couch, and then the 3yr old quietly crept in to our family room and sat down next to me. He spoke softly, asking me questions about this and that. Then he asked, "I heard you crying, Mummy. Did you hurt something?"

I replied, "My heart hurt. You hurt it when you didn't listen to Mummy." He thought about this for a second and then said, "Are you ok now?"

"Yes. I am," I replied. "But please listen to Mummy from now on."


I don't know if telling the 3yr old that he was the cause of my tears was a good idea, or not. I really don't. But do I think it hurt him? I don't think so. It's time he realised that he is responsible for his own actions, and sometimes those actions have consequences. I'm not expecting a big turnaround in the 3yr old's behaviour because of today, but at least for now, we've struck a peace deal.

Today, I cried. I needed to. As Marilla tells Anne in the book Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is a new day. With no mistakes in it."

Thank goodness for that.

Do you have days like this? Days where you can't take it a second longer and you just need to shed a tear or two?



macsnorky said...

All I can say is I've been there too. xx

Phil & Bern said...

Yep. Had a weekend like that actually. All we can do is breathe. And try and be the one not chucking the tantrum which is easier said than done. You are doing a top job Jodie. xx

Ami said...

*HUGS* :)
Great post Jodie. Unfortunately I'm a bit of a crier. Worse when I was pregnant and not so surprisingly it hasn't got any better since I had Sophie!

When I was going through all the breastfeeding issues I cried every day for about 3 weeks. Then as things started to improve, I cried happy tears out of pure relief. It really does make you feel better to have a good cry.

I hope you are feeling ok now, and the rest of the year doesn't get any more stressful. I think it was good you told the 3yr old why you were crying. Fingers crossed he remembers it next time he goes to chuck a tantrum!


Jane said...

Sometimes, all you need is a big fat cry. I'm glad it made you feel better. And I'm glad the 3 year old was so sweet to you afterwards.

Just think, less than 3 weeks until Christmas, and then all the stressful school stuff and social stuff will be over for another year.

Great post xxx

Aussie-waffler said...

((hugs)) Yes I do, as a matter of fact, the last few months have been filled with teary outbursts. Mostly I can sneak off and cry quietly in the bedroom, but some evenings, I've just let the tears fall into the sudsy dish water. I think this has been a really difficult year for a lot of folks, hopefully next year will be better :) xx

Corinne – Daze of My Life said...

Oh I hope you're feeling better. It's such hard work, isn't it??
Some times all you can do is cry.

We've been going through some similar issues and it's exhausting. Trying to get the girls to do something the other day and they just kept ignoring me, my back was out and I was in a lot of pain and it was tantrum after tantrum. I broke down and cried my eyes out. It certainly helped me to feel better.

Take care. xxx

Jacki said...

Sometimes you just need to let it out. I don't think it's bad for children to see when they're parents have had enough, it helps them realise that we're fallible! I hope the rest of your week gets easier and calmer!

Fiona said...

Thank you for your honesty *hug*

Michelle said...

oh yes! I have had some of those days... and I thank God that tomorrow is new.
A friend has done a lot of research into tears .. they are good. xx

Anonymous said...

'No one ever felt worse after a good cry!'
My personal mantra.
Hope that the day has got better for you! xx

Joni Llanora said...

I had my fair share of those days too when Anya was about that age too. I say it's better to just let the emotions out that way instead of some ways else that we'd regret later.

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Thanks all for the lovely, supportive comments. I think it's important for people to know that not every day is a Hallmark moment. Unfortunately. ;) xxx

JoJo said...

We all have those days. It's good to have a good cry every now and then.

Brenda said...

I've been and it sucks. Lots. Hugs.xxx

april said...

Good grief yes - I think it would be amazing to be a parent and NOT have that happen. And I think you did the right thing explaining it to your son that way. *hugs*

Annieb25 said...

I still have days like that & mine are 16 & 18!!! A very wise (professional) person once told me that as a parent we are responsible for teaching our children to feel remorse and guilt when they hurt people they love as a result of their words or actions. This is an important part of them becoming a well rounded, caring adult. Looks like Mr 3 had a successful lesson. Hope tomorrow is a better day xx :)

Bronnie and family said...

I think it's reasonable for kids to realise that Mums cry too, and that their behaviour can hurt our hearts. You were not blaming him, you explained that the behavior was what had made you cry.
Glad you are feeling better. xo

River said...

Days like this? Yes! Thankfully I no longer have small children, even the youngest grandchild is six and a half already, but there are still stresses that build up and there's nothing better than a good cry.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you had such a tough day. I'm only new to this whole parenting thing, but based on my own experience, I think it's important for children to see their parents as human. I have never once seen my mother cry, I don't even know if she does, but sometimes I wish she would. Don't beat yourself up over it. I bet you'll have a great nights sleep (I always do after a good cry!), and tomorrow is a brand new day. :) xx

Marg said...

I've been on the edge emotionally for weeks. A good cry would probably do me the world of good, but letting it go isn't necessarily all that easy.

Hope you have a better day tomorrow, and don't beat yourself up over it. It happens to all of us.

Jemima- So Mummy said...

I have many days like this! and you know what i think its great that you let him know that you wre hurt by his tantrum, kids arnt the only ones who get upset

Anonymous said...

Jodie I know your day got better but I just wanted you to know you are not and never will be alone in feeling like this. Hugs xxx

Thea said...

I still remember the day I made my Mum cry, I was much older than 3!
Now...payback time.

It happens, no harm done. You need to release the frustration somehow.
That could be a handy little trick to keep up your sleeve...when he cries, you cry. Probably won't work again, though, huh?

Glad you got it all out and felt better for it. xx

Wombat Central said...

I still remember seeing my mom cry over a pre-teen tantrum my brother was having. I couldn't believe he would do something to make her cry!

It's nice to see someone else mention what hard work kids can be, even though we love them with our whole hearts. I have definitely been pushed to the point of tears. You're not alone!

x0xJ said...

I think you did good telling him that he had upset you. I agree he needs to know his actions have concquences and can sometimes hurt others.
Hopefully that has him on his best for a while longer (like until the new year would be nice, huh?)

Maxabella said...

"My heart hurts"... that made me want to cry myself! Nothing like a cleansing cry to make things feel better. Gets the FRUSTRATION out.

I think it's perfectly acceptable to let him know that he is the cause of your tears. It's good for children to see the consequences of their actions and this is such an immediate way to do that. Won't change a thing, of course, but we live in hope.

Feel better, lovely you. x

NappyDaze said...

There is nothing quite as therapeutic as a good cry to cleanse the cluttered soul. And there's no harm in scaring your son into submission - maybe he will go easy on you for a while. We are all human and yes, 2010 is definitely taking its toll on us all. May 2011 bring you a slice of serenity!

Jodi G said...

I love a good cry.Haven't done it for a while, been too busy and too tired. But oh boy, does it make you feel better ;) Being a Mum is hard work, and can be so emotionally draining. I feel for you. And I think it was Okay for you to tell your son, not only will it show him that it is okay to express your feelings but that we need to care and look after one another when we do xx

Smudgeblurr said...

I am a teacher and my students have had me in tears! They go very quiet when it happens (has been twice now) and they are generally on their best behaviour until the bell goes and all hell breaks loose.
I think it is good thing for kids to see that parents cry and your explanation was magic!
Great job!

MomAgain@40 said...

Nothing that works as well as a good cry! And it even worked for the 3yr old :D

Megan Blandford said...

I'm so with you Jodie - sometimes it's just all too much and you just have to let it out. Hope all is well again. xxx

Being Me said...

Hey nothing wrong with tears. And certainly nothing wrong with the little ones seeing those tears. I'm like you, I cry rarely and actually wonder if *that* does more damage than good to my daughter, rather than the other way round. You did good :) xo

Poe said...

I'm not much of a cryer either. But a couple of weeks ago I had my heart broken by a close friend and I stood in the doorway and cried. I'm talking the full on sobbing, body shaking crying. I had'nt cried like that in years! I even tear up now thinking about it.
Hang in there, we all have those types of days, it's okay.
New follower, please follow back.

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Have a great day!