Needing tips on how to be a better mom :(

Jacky - posted on 02/16/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I'm a mother of 3 beautiful babies. They are 6 years old, 5 years old and 6 month old. Ive always had what I would call an anger issue. I stay aggravated. I would never ever physically hurt them. I don't even smack or give a spanking half of the time. Its just constant every thing from sounds to talking just anything annoys me. I always let them play and I enjoy the fact that they have fun. I hardly ever really play with them though. I fuss at them more than I should. I have basically been this way the whole time. I stayed at home a few years with them and I have recently went back to work. I'm working full time 7pm to 7am. And with them during the day. My mother family life as a child and a teenager was never really
good or stable. I just feel like a horrible mother. A bad
person. And I want to do better. You guys give me any advice. I'm ready to be better for my children.

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Cecilia - posted on 02/16/2013

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I think Rebekah covered what I was going to say here. Seriously work on one thing at a time. A good thing i do with myself, is take a time out. When you feel overwhelmed or just need that break, take it. Go stand on the porch and drink a cup of coffee. I assume the 5 and 6 year old are in school so put the baby somewhere safe and simply take a break. If the older kids are home simply tell them mommy is going to time out. And you'll be back in a moment. Make sure they are also in a safe area.

As far as the anger goes, besides therapy. Maybe get a punching bag or something in the house. It does sound silly but it might work. Find a way to take the aggression to a different place. It might sound dumb to some but i've taken a baseball bat to a tree for a good 15 minutes before. You know how worn out and better i felt after that? Of course i wouldn't suggest the children be around when you do this. Number one, you will be swinging a bat around.

As far as spending time with them. Find something you like that they can be involved in. Maybe baking cookies, or start with rice crispy treats since there are little places for them to make mistakes..

Rebekah - posted on 02/16/2013

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First of all, you are motivated to do better, so that alone is something to be grateful for. Keep in mind, we could ALL do better in one area or another, but rather than criticize yourself for it, set a plan in action for what you could start to do differently. Pick one area that you want to do differently (fuss at them less? play with them more? find healthy ways to let go of your aggravation? remind yourself of ways you are a good mother?) and make a goal for the day and do it. And then do it again the next day and the next, until you feel more comfortable with the changes you are making.

If you don't want to repeat the family life you experienced as a child, let that give you a direction in how you want to parent (meaning, go the other way!). So if you feel like your mom wasn't consistent with you (hypothetical example), then make a decision that you will strive to do differently as a mom for your kids. Sometimes it can be hard to do differently than what we were raised with, but it can and has been done. You are not bound by your past. If you are looking for better examples of parenting to follow, look at those around you whom you want to emulate and pay attention to how they handle situations that you struggle with. Arm yourself with what you need to change... depending on what that is, you can likely find all kinds of parenting books, classes, or self-help materials to help you change your approach. Some have workbooks that require you to take a more active role in making change.

Are you around people who encourage you, or criticize your parenting? Is your calling yourself "a horrible mother" something that is internal, or does it come from somewhere else? I think we need to own our mistakes and weaknesses, but its counterproductive to label yourself (or have someone else label you) as horrible. Distance yourself from those that tear you down and instead seek out those who can be supportive as you work on changes.

Is your work schedule contributing to your overall mood or the dynamic at home? When do you have time to sleep? Are you under-rested? If so, that might be one factor that leads you to feel irritable or easily annoyed. Do you have time for yourself? Time for things you enjoy, or with your girlfriends? I know as a mom, that time doesn't magically fall out of the sky...you have to plan it. But it helps to maintain who you are as a person, and if we don't get our needs met to a certain degree, we will be left with anger and not be able to be the best we can for our kids.

You mentioned that anger has been a long term issue, so another option would be to delve more into that and find out how to take control of that. (again, lots of good self-help material out there, or if you have the time and finances, counseling can do wonders there too...not just for anger, but self-esteem and parenting strategies, etc)

One more thought... a great way to change one's perspective is a gratitude journal. Its a daily exercise where you write down at least 3 things that you can be thankful for about your day, your efforts, your circumstances, etc. Challenge yourself to pick different things every day. If you can get yourself into a more positive frame of mind, it can help you be more positive for your kids, kinder to yourself, and hopefully motivate you to keep going with the changes you are trying to make. Its important to acknowledge what is going right.

Sorry for the long response... I give you credit for putting yourself out there and wish you well as you redesign your approach. You are doing it for all the right reasons...your kids! Just be merciful with yourself and look forward.

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