Thursday, October 18, 2012

Anger Managment - My Mom Fail Moment

***Submitted by Julie, who blogs at Sober Julie Doing Life.... Straight Up!

This summer seems to have been one of change for our 8-year-old, there has been a dynamic shift in her that somehow occurred so swiftly and silently I missed it. She has suddenly become unable to deal with any kind of frustration, she immediately flies into a rage such as I’ve never seen. This has been happening at every impasse for over a month now and until now I thought I had a hold on it….by controlling situations I thought I could avoid her being frustrated and help with her anger management.
Every morning I know I must have things in order; Sydney’s chosen clothing is laid out the night before, lunches are made, school bags are packed up with homework and permission forms are signed and ready to go. Heaven help us all if something creates a hitch in the morning routine, I cannot cope with the fallout of her rage first thing in the morning.
This morning I lazily raise my eyelids halfway to glance at the clock after a horrible night of broken sleep, hoping I have a few more snooze worthy minutes before the alarm would sound. As my gaze settles upon the blue neon digits awareness seeps through my body like a blood chilling anesthetic. Fear instantly overtakes me as my muscles tighten and my brain begins to race, fighting to understand what these numbers mean to me.
How is this possible, what the HELL????
As my rate of breathing increases, I raise my achy body from the bed as quickly as I can. My mind fights to ignore the chronic pain I wake with daily as I try to move as quickly as possible down the hall to the girls bedrooms.
Oh Lord please let this be an easy morning, please God just let her wake in a happy mood. I pray as I enter into the unknown which is my lovely, funny, amazingly over-sensitive daughters bedroom.
How could I allow this to happen, I’m a horrible Mother…..I dropped the ball again and slept through the alarm, Brad will be home from work soon and that’s going to set her off….
“Sydney, Syd lovey it’s time to get up” I say gently to her as I gently stroke her messy hair, careful not to rush this waking moment. Her eyelids flutter revealing her beautiful sleep fogged eyes which take a moment to come awake. In the next second I realize her mood as she growls at me and rolls over to face the wall mumbling something about me going away.
Moving along to the next bedroom I call out in my fake, happy Mom voice “Come along ladies, time to get up for school.”
Twenty minutes, I only have twenty minutes to get them ready….my anxiety is building, must get it down…oh I’m not built for this…other Mom’s do it with more than 2 kids, I SUCK! I begin to make myself yawn in an effort to calm myself…
Finding my second daughter already up out of her bed enjoying a HUGE morning stretch I begin to smile, she sees me and I’m greeted with her sunshine and lollipops attitude. Forcing myself to ignore the griping coming from #1′s bedroom, I slow down for a moment to receive a hug and to whisper to her that we’re running late, could she get herself in the bathroom and get moving quickly for mama?
Thankfully she’s in a fine mood and agrees but that still leaves the other one, my first born baby who saddens me with each horrible name she’s yelling at me from under her covers. I take a breath and enter her kingdom of animosity, preparing for the battle which will surely ensue hoping my armor can handle it all today.
“Ok Sydney here’s the deal, it’s after 8 now and we’ve got to get moving. You won’t have time to watch TV this morning. I’m going to make you some raisin toast. Please get up and get dressed.”
“WHATTTTTT oh you’re so MEAN, NO! NO! I’m not going to school then! I want a new family! It’s not FAIR!”
Her rage is instant and palpable, it feels like the walls are shaking. My hands are trembling as I take a huge deep breath and turn down the hall ignoring the urge to either hug her or discipline her. There’s not point trying to do anything now, I don’t have TIME for this!!!
Entering the kitchen I make them a quick breakfast on auto-pilot, paste on a smile for my younger daughter as I serve her while ignoring the racket from the far end of the house. Please let her be getting dressed….she’ll never have time to get her hair done, brush her hair and eat now.
My husband arrives home from a night at work and his loving greeting is interrupted by stomping feet heading into the bathroom. My hand whips into the air as I visibly stop him from saying a word “Let’s just get through this please.” I state in a firm, tense voice above the recriminations coming from the bathroom.
Placing Sydney’s toast on paper towel I give my youngest a kiss and a hug and guide her out the door instructing her and my husband to go ahead, I’ll have Sydney out in a few minutes. Ten minutes left until the bell rings, that gives me 5 minutes to get her into some sort of a good mood and out the door….
Weighing the odds I know I’m fighting an uphill battle but can’t face the defeat I already feel deep in my bones. As she stomps into the room with half brushed hair, wearing the shirt she had on the day before and pants which are going to be much too warm for the forecast my last vestige of patience slips further.
I bite my tongue and step gingerly towards her with that oh so bright smile on my face, hoping to catch a glimpse of the girl I KNOW is in there. The loving, generous child who strokes my hair when I’m sick, the one whose giggles make my soul sing…..hoping with my whole being that she’ll show her face.
She snatches her breakfast from my hand, grabs her backpack and slams the door on her way out, leaving me with parting shots which hit my heart like darts.
Staring at the door I’m breathing deeply, glad to have it finshed…when the internal dialogue begins. The self-deprecating internal chatter which wrecks my facade of capability. And of course I do what every good, caring Mom does at this point…..go get a coffee and google “coping with rage in children”.
This is an example of a not-so pretty moment in my life, unfortunately as you can see I’m still a selfish person…my inner dialogue is often more focused upon life’s demands and my own feelings rather than my child’s turmoil but it’s a work in progress and I realize I’m still learning.
Thank you to Ellie for the challenge, I hope many of my readers and friends will submit, too!
To learn more about the guidelines for Truthful Thursdays and submit a post of your own (you can do it anonymously if you wish, please FIRST read this post here and send submissions to 
Thank you!


  1. Oh Julie, my heart goes out to you and all the parents and care providers and loved ones of kids whose systems process so differently from what we had come to expect. I have not been a parent to one of these kids and so I don't really KNOW what you go thru so I take it from your words and I reach out in solidarity everywhere with a giant hug and soft whisper that it will, maybe, eventually, some day, work out ok.

  2. Mine went through a stage like that; I won't say how long it lasted, just that I wondered if it ever would, if I'd ever get my life back. :s But ... it did subside; she got a friend who wasn't afraid to tell her when she was being a jerk (I wasn't allowed, of course; I was her mom.)

    My "fail" moments were many and there were times I couldn't separate my failures from me feeling like a failure personally. Times when I managed to pull it together and screamed at her inside my head - and then at the end of the day, I cried myself into a stupor and fell asleep, exhausted. Times when I wished I could just leave and not provide a forwarding address, and then felt guilty for even considering it. Sometimes I still have those feelings; they just don't happen every day or sometimes not even every week. It doesn't mean I'm a bad mom. It means I'm a normal mom. Kids will push every button we have because they're all about getting what they want, and they'll use manipulation, intimidation and guilt to do it. It's not like parents really have feelings, you know. ;)

    Of course we do. And we have a right to have our feelings, even if they're what some would call selfish. I've found that allowing myself to have those feelings actually models the self-trust that I want her to have - we've had lots of talks since then, and that's what she told me: seeing me walk through my journey and feel what I feel when I feel it has helped her be okay with not having a perfect "sunshine and roses" day. Yes, we talk now. It does get better. It does. :)

  3. You know, my first thought was "this isn't so bad at all, why does she feel like this is a Mom Fail?"

    And then I realized how my stomach plummets when my daughter and I have moments (days, mornings- what have you) like this (she's 10) and I realized I know exactly why it feels like a Mom fail.

    But you know, we are hard on ourselves, you know? Way harder on ourselves than we would be to someone else, I think. I think if someone told you this story you'd tell her to go easy on herself, she's only human.

    So, go easy on yourself. :) You're only human. :)

  4. In addition to echoing the above posters, I just wanted to say that your writing is beautiful.

  5. Oh, Julie. We are ALL works in progress. My inner voices are the lowest bitches this side of hell. Tamping them down is HARD. But. I push through, just like you did this morning. It's all about continuing to try to do better, whatever we consider better to be. I'm thinking you won this morning rather than failed because you didn't resort to yelling like I usually do (but yes, I know this is about how YOU feel about it). We are our worst parenting/life critics. Well, us and those damned demon head voices.