Survival Mode

I read a post by a blogger who thought people might consider her crazy if they were to see or hear the way she was acting/reacting towards her children. I can so relate to Scary Mommy. I could see myself in her situation. I remember when Reagan was between two and three. There were two or three times when we had almost literal knock down drag outs. Seriously? With a toddler?

Nowadays the knock down drag outs are a thing of the past. Replacing them are nagging, yelling and threatening. I used to think that threatening-repeating parents didn’t have a grip on parenting. I still don’t. But I’ve become one. These days thoughtful, methodical parenting has been replaced by fly by the seat of my mommy jeans parenting where survival is the name of the game and often times that means talking to the wind. Or to myself. Or to the wall. Or in Chinese. My kids don’t hear me so obviously it’s one of these other options. Because they wouldn’t ignore me would they? Actually it’s kind of like that foreign language phenomenon. You’ve seen the shows where Person A meets a foreigner, Person B, and instead of speaking their language, Person A continues in his own language but just speaks louder and slower so maybe Person B JUST. MIGHT. UNDERSTAND. I am Person A and my girls are People B and right now they’re not understanding my attempts to yell at them. Survival mode.

Evidence that I am in survival mode as a parent: As I am attempting to lead Ashlyn across the street I see a car coming. So I growl at her to “stay with me, we’re in the middle of the road!” (You growl-read that right?) As I finish my basal instinctive attempt to save my daughter’s life I look up and see a new mother pushing a stroller. I manage a sheepish grin and a roll of the eyes with a look on my face that I hope said, “it’s just one of those days.” But who was I kidding. She hasn’t had one of those days yet. What I should have done was yell at her that she would be doing the same thing all too soon and if she were going to judge she better come back and apologize the day that she yelled and jerked her kid across the street.

And I could go on and on and on and each example would include some sort of growling or yelling. In fact, I’m pretty sure that people who regularly walk by our house are coming to know it as “the yeller’s house.” But my friend next door has admitted to yelling at her children as well, so I guess passers-by have a 50/50 chance of being right.

I’m making strides and trying to come up with other options and consequences that will actually impact my girls. Until then I’m hoping that the actions that I have to resort to in public won’t be judged too harshly. And if there is another mother in survival mode maybe she’ll feel a sense of camaraderie and we’ll both roll our eyes at each other and laugh sheepishly at what we’ve been reduced to doing.

P.S. For this post to have any remote sense of entertainment I’m afraid I had to make myself look like a constant screamer. Although I feel that’s how some days are, I am in no way always yelling at my kids. I’m my own worst critic when it comes to parenting and although I know it’s not that bad it certainly does feel it sometimes. My girls are generally good girls and that makes this season in life particularly frustrating. Why do I raise my voice? Survival mode is all I can guess. They certainly don’t react any better in the long run. So there.

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3 thoughts on “Survival Mode

  1. I know what you mean: my dad once came home and freaked out when he walked in on my mom holding my 4-year-old sister in a headlock, trying to give her medicine. She was just a really stubborn kid and WOULD NOT agree to take the medicine, even though she NEEDED to take it. What’s a parent to do? I think different kids just require different parenting techniques, and as long as you’re acting out of “survival mode” and not just out of anger, you’re being a good parent.

  2. familycalamity says:

    I read SM’s post too. It’s amazing what kind parenting style we’ll adapt too when our kids are driving us completely bonkers. It’s unfortunate there so good at it.

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