I am surprised at the way motherhood has made me parse my reactions to things.

My son did something that was a minor annoyance, it was no big deal at all, and it deserved something like, “Please stop, I don’t like that.”

But I was tired, and I’ve been a little sick and run down, and my stress level has short, medium, and long term stressors in it right now that (apparently) I haven’t been tending to as I should. So instead of talking to him like I wanted to, I left the room and told him I was because I wasn’t acting right. I did that instead of roaring at him and selling him to gypsies when he didn’t deserve it. Still, I didn’t have control of my face or voice as I left the room and I scared him. After I calmed down and wanted to talk to him about it (the same way we end his time outs) he was tucked into daddy-o and unwilling(unable) to get in the conversation right away.

So I said what I wanted to, and asked if it made sense later. It didn’t, so I tried again. It sunk in a little bit (thank you TV show that introduced “me myself time” to Jeff as a concept).

All of this is to say that I am far more conscious these days of the separation between surface / intention / motivation / causes than I have ever been before. There are a lot of things about this awareness that I like, I like how it gives me a toehold in a lot of conversations, I like the earnestness it brings out in my son, I like a lot of it. It also is a total pain in the arse, because I’ve never articulated anger well in my life but I want my son to trust what he sees when he sees it. So I try really hard to not play off, “Mommy was really mad” as “oh no, just frustrated / tired / blah blah blah” but to own, through my son’s recognition that in that moment I was really mad.

It is amazing how much I can learn from a little.

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