I have heard this question an uncomfortable amount of times recently from my little one (2-1/2). Of course it’s a rhetorical question. Sort of unintentional toddler sarcasm.
Hearing these words sends a flood of sadness through my body. I don’t want to be Angry Mommy. Not even for one second. But, this is the Cinderella lie of motherhood. The Happily Ever After Motherhood that we imagined in our teen years when our mothers could do no right. I remember knowing, without a doubt, that I would be Cool Hip Mom who only wore sexy underwear and never needed anger because I understood my kids through and through.
Its sort of sweet to think about the ways in which we are so clueless until suddenly, we’re deep in the reality of a situation. It’s like when your child- less friends give parenting advice. Or better yet, they give just a look to subtly indicate that if they did have a kid he sure wouldn’t do whatever it is that your kid is doing right now. Fast forward to when you see them a few years later chasing after their own little trouble-maker. Sort of a guilty pleasure moment, right?
So, what do I do with the magic mirror that my little one is putting in front of my face? In my quiet moments I try to look into it and get a handle on what happened in that angry moment. If I really admit the truth, most times, I am expecting too much of a little person who is already trying so hard to make sense of the world. I don’t want to play this role. I want to be the stability in her chaos.
I know that sometimes anger is appropriate, necessary to teach important lessons. Yet, often anger at children is misplaced. Its easy to spill it all onto someone who doesn’t know any better. Too easy.
I am working on practicing presence. Try not to facebook, answer the phone, make lunch, and play with my daughter all at once. Try to be angry when I have a good reason, not because I am overwhelming myself.
In each moment of parenthood we can play the role of the non-parent, the new parent or the seasoned parent judging our own skills. Its a tough juggle. I think I’d rather let it all down & just try to be Mommy. Think it’s possible?