I love my child so much that I don’t even have the words to describe the depth of that feeling and probably never will. There are occasions and life contexts when words, even the best and linguistic rich vocabulary do not completely capture the essence of your feeling for someone. One’s love for one’s child is one such life occasion and context. It is perhaps in my inadvertent use of the word ‘occasion’ that perhaps lays my sentimental ambiguity. If I love my child so much that I cannot put that feeling into words, why do I yell at him?
I yell at my child when he refuses to eat and on occasions when he has trouble sleeping. I feel horrid even as I write this. Now I have never been a patient person. I have moments when I am completely enveloped by fury. If I see a therapist, that person might recommend mindfulness as they sometimes are known to do but that is not for me. I am not theoretically opposed to practicing mindfulness and I have honestly tried it a few times but it just doesn’t seem to work when anger overwhelms any other emotion I am feeling in that moment.
I have tried rationalizing my feelings in the moments when I am angry and yelling at my son. I try really hard to please him with love and affection, by singing songs, making faces, providing distractions in the form of toys or other items, but at times, nothing seems to work and I worry about him not eating well, that perhaps my food tastes bad, perhaps he is sick of the same kind of food every day, and that because he is not eating well, he is not going to sleep well either. Honestly, the not sleeping part is what worries me most when he does not eat. So I yell. I scream. I throw things (today I threw my cell phone on the carpet because even cartoons wouldn’t get him to eat). I have tried begging while crying…literally begging him to eat and while I cover my face as I cry, taking a pause between the begging, he lovingly tries to push my hand away from my face because he wants to see my face and yet, when I do it, he yet again, refuses to eat.
Today, Aaron had had it. When I yelled, maybe for third time, Aaron said that, that was not good for Baby J and in my moment of anger and frustration, I said, “I don’t give a shit!” and he said, “I DO!! Stop yelling. You are an adult. Act like one.” I am an adult and indeed, I should act like one otherwise, what is it that I am teaching my child? That when someone does not want to do what you want them to, yelling (that does not help at all) is the best way to go in terms of strategy? That is so flawed in so many ways.
In any case, I have no wisdom here. I am a flawed mother. I am nowhere near even “good enough” or “okay mom” because even a ‘good enough’ mother would not yell at her child. She might get into her car and scream her brains out to no one in particular, but she isn’t going to yell at her child. I am perhaps a ‘barely-scraping-by’ mother.
I can end this blog on a positive note saying that I promise to do better by my child. Not yell. Count to 10 and so on but I know these resolutions will be short lived. Instead, I am just going to try again to not yell at J. He does not deserve it. He does not understand it except perhaps think about why mommy is talking at him in a very loud and harsh sounding tone. I don’t want my yelling to scar him or for him to think that, that is alright. It isn’t. I have to be self-reflexive about this and know that this is my doing and only I can undo it.
Let the process begin…