This evening, I had to make a quick business call from home. Thankfully, it isn’t something I have to do often any more (once, I had a psycho boss that would call my cell at all times of day or night just to “chat”). I knew it would only take a minute, and the kids were playing relatively quietly in the living room, so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. “Hey guys,” I said, to both kids and the hubster who was playing on his iPod, “I’m just going to make a quick call for work…can you just keep it down?” They all seemed to acknowledge that they heard my request, so I dialled the number.
Not two rings in, something happened. My kids instantly went from playing with each other and speaking in normal tones, to running around me in circles, screaming. They became possessed beings, laughing maniacally and chasing me while I ran from room to room, laptop in one hand, cell phone wedged between my shoulder and ear. I apologized profusely to the person on the other end of the line, who certainly must have thought I had 10 kids instead of two, and tried desperately to sound light hearted and playful, while mouthing “STOP IT” and putting on my best mean mom face. I ended up in the only room in our house with a lock on the door: the bathroom. As I attempted to finish my call, with my laptop balanced on the sink, my two lovely children screamed and pounded on the door. And where, you might ask, was my husband this entire time? In the living room, still playing on his iPod.
I’d like to say that all of those “how to model calm behaviour in front of your kid” parenting sessions we took paid off in that moment. But, my anger got the best of me. I got off the phone, and yelled at the kids for raising a raucous, then yelled at my husband for ignoring the entire incident. There was a good minute in our house where we were all yelling at each other at once. No one could actually hear what anyone else was saying. No one was taking deep breaths, or counting to ten, or “using feeling words” to express our frustration. I briefly wondered if our neighbours could hear the chaos.
When it was all over, and consequences were doled out (no bedtime story for K, early bedtime for G), I felt oddly calm. I firmly told K that I was disappointed in her behaviour, but I still loved her. I apologized to G for yelling at him, and asked him to make a better decision the next time. I haven’t quite apologized to my husband for my outburst yet, but hey, two out of three ain’t bad. 🙂
I know freaking out and yelling isn’t the “right” thing to do. I know I should be “modelling good behaviour” for my kids. But you know what? Sometimes, I think the yelling needs to happen. In the past, I have felt overwhelming guilt for losing control of my anger in front of my kids. But maybe they need to see that I’m not perfect, and that even I let my emotions get the best of me sometimes. After all, I’m only human. I think I would rather them grow up seeing their parents mess up and own up to it than thinking they need to live up to some perfect image that we struggled to portray.
So there you go, I screamed at my family tonight. And I don’t feel bad. And while I am momfessing, I might as well also reveal that I had FIVE pieces of pizza for dinner. AND I am pouring myself a glass of wine as I type. Mom of the year over here, people! Mom of the year!!