I'm a firm believer in -- if you know what your triggers are, they can be easier to manage.
To help hold myself accountable, I'm going to share a new trigger of mine.
You see, people say I must have tons of patience. I do have six children after all. And one of those kids has severe special needs. I must be some kind of saint.
That couldn't be further from the truth!!
I've struggled with a short temper my entire life. No, I don't go off and whack my kids around. But I am a yeller by nature. And no, I'm not hollering obscenities or cruel things toward my children. But I do raise my voice. It's NOT something I'm proud of. I've been working for years at changing my behavior. Thankfully, even Mr. Amazing will say I've made progress. My children, probably not so much. But then again, I am known as a mean mommy because I actually have expectations of my children.
When I'm on my game I will stop, center myself and then whisper. That one change can make all the difference in the world. When I stop and whisper I am making a conscious choice to not let my anger get the best of me.
Try it. When you're angry do the opposite of what you WANT to do. For me, that means I need to whisper. And when I'm quiet, my kids are much more likely to listen to what I have to say.
Anyway...back to my new trigger...
Dolly and Dude had to go to daycare yesterday. They detest daycare on a very deep level. Dolly doesn't freak out anymore. But she doesn't like it. Dude hates it tremendously. (Dude was outside this morning singing a song he made up, "no more
daycare...no more daycare," because I told them they will be home the
rest of the week with me.) He freaks out every single time I drop him off. Then, he'll freak out multiple times during his stay. Then...he is a little off kilter the next day or so.
I don't mean that he's crying all the time. The difference is subtle. But one of the key behaviors is the inability to get engaged with toys or activities.
So today Dude and Dolly are off kilter. It's been a stressful couple of weeks. I'm sure all of this is not because of daycare alone. They had court. The visit with Miss Supervisor was confusing. Pumpkin had court. etc. etc. Dude and Dolly are picking at each other. Dolly is being particularly bossy. Dude is whining and fussing back at Dolly. It's annoying to say the least!
I warned them once that if they didn't stop fighting they were going to be separated. One child would play upstairs and one would play on the main level. "OK Mommy," was the response.
Sure enough, they got along for about all of 15 minutes. Then the whining took over again.
I hollered for Dude to come downstairs.
All the way down the steps he screamed a pathetic cry. Then he started in with my new trigger. He just wailed, "Mommy," over and over and over.
It's a normal response. Lots of kids want their mommy when they are upset. And Dude wants me. Every now and then his "mommy" will be for his first mommy. But most of the time he wants me. I can tell the difference in the same way a mom can tell the difference between a gassy cry of an infant and a hungry cry.
I hate myself for this being a trigger. But it is what it is.
Deep down I want to scream back at him -- I don't GET to be your mommy. The stupid system won't let me. So you had better just cowboy up and stop your screaming. It's not going to get you anything but pain and heartache.
I don't say this. Honest I don't.
But I didn't have the most stellar of mommy moments a few minutes ago.
So I'm owning up to my trigger online. I'm going to work on it. Next time he starts screaming for mommy I'm going to do my best to stop - and even if he's being reprimanded for something he did wrong - I'm going to scoop him up and hold him. It breaks my heart when he cries for me and I can't punish him for it. I'm just going to have to trust that his grandma will hold him when he cries after he gets to Dallas. Hope is all I've got. But it is MY responsibility to hold him now. Even when it hurts or makes me angry.