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“Mommy, Are You Frustrated?”

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I unclench my fists.

I’m both annoyed and hurt by her question. However, she’s learning the signs.

“Yes, sweetpea, mommy is very frustrated right now.” Sometimes I make the face, sometimes I take a deep breath. Worst is when I continue to yell then break down crying.

“You have to calm down, mama. Relax.”

Bless her. The very words I say as I coach her through feelings bigger than herself. How is she so calm right now? Wasn’t it her incessant whining while the baby cried that set me off this time? Wasn’t she an irrational bundle of emotions just a few moments ago?

But everyday is bad, but some weeks are worse than others. Those are the weeks I question and doubt myself. The times I’m convinced something is wrong with me.

What the hell IS wrong with me?

I love my children with all my heart but sometimes…. sometimes I can’t handle it. I struggle to be patient and calm. I react and it let my anger consume me.

We will have a string of good to great days and I think I’m making progress. Every day I vow to do better.

Yell less. Be a better role model.

Until my fuse is lit again. “STOP YELLING!” I yell at my daughter, ignoring the irony.

If I’m not yelling then I’m throwing something. There’s something about chucking things at the wall that releases a huge amount of tension. The big crack or thud makes it even better.

When I can’t hold it together I feel awful. I don’t always lose my composure. But the scratchy sore throat on nights I’m not sick really opened my eyes.

Things need to change and they need to change now.

With Mother’s Day tomorrow I almost feel guilty being celebrated. My kids love me despite my flaws. Yelling became my easy out to dealing with difficult behavior instead of parenting through it in a positive manner. I caved under the stress. I was fooled into thinking yelling was effective… all the time. It’s not.

I felt it was time to talk about this with you. Yes, we usually only show you our “highlight reel,” but I try not to hide the reality of the not-so-pretty. I want you to know you are not alone…and I want to know I’m not alone either.

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