Most of you ladies know that I am a mother of 2 beautiful children…a boy and a girl…and a bonus mother (I really dislike the negative connotation of step-mother) to 3 incredible boys. My firefighter and I certainly have our parenting challenges with children ranging in age from 3 to 13. Taking that challenge up another notch is that two of our boys have been diagnosed with some type of autism and our one little girl is exceptionally bright/gifted. Sure, having an exceptionally bright/gifted child can be awesome…but sometimes, she is so much smarter than me. So, yes, we have our hands full…and as much as I try to be the perfect mom, I fail…often. Here’s a quick little story of one of my lowest parenting moments…granted it was about 7 years ago, but it was eye opening and I’ve tried every day to make myself a better person.
I’ll never forget my lowest moment, my daughter was around 18 months old and she was crying and screaming as I was trying to rock her to sleep for her nap. She was fighting something fierce, twisting and turning trying to get away. This went on for about 15 minutes and at one point, I snapped. I could feel my body getting hot and my anger growing. So I put her down in her crib and walked away…shutting her bedroom door behind me. I slumped against the wall, sliding down into a seated position with my head in my hands and began to sob. I knew that I had reached my breaking point…I knew that if I didn’t walk away, my switch would be flipped and I could hurt her.
I was embarrassed, I was ashamed and I felt like the worst mother ever. I knew that I had let her inconsolable crying get to me. And the harder she screamed and the more she cried, the tighter I held her. Looking back, I wonder if she was crying and screaming because I was hurting her. The thought of that just makes me sick to my stomach. It took me about 15 minutes to pull myself together…I had to stop crying and splash my face with water to finally calm down. I likely would’ve taken a shot of tequila if I’d had it. Anyway, I remember going back into her room and she was peacefully sleeping in her crib…looking like an angel…my angel.
I often reflect back on that day and wonder what I could have done differently. I could have let her skip a nap, but she was my first and that isn’t what the parenting books said I should do. I could have given her Benadryl, but that likely would have had me arrested like Casey Anthony. I could have continued rocking her and letting her scream…but Lord knows what I would have done. Or, I could have calmed down and realized that my very reaction to her frustration could make a difference on how the rest of the day would go. I love my children to the ends of this earth and would do almost anything for each and every one of them. That is precisely why I am so excited to start ScreamFree Parenting…to learn how my actions/reactions impact them and help them learn how to be responsible for their own actions. Even at 3 years old, he gets it and although he may not like some of his “responsibilities,” he takes pride in doing them…most of the time.
ScreamFree Parenting is one of the programs we offer through our Fire Wife Sisterhood where we can have more intimate and frank discussion on these challenging topics. We also have a ScreamFree facilitator to guide us through.
ScreamFree Marriage started this week and ScreamFree Parenting kicks off on Sept. 25th.
Click here for all the details on purchasing your book and joining the sisterhood for participation.
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