Yesterday, I was not my best self. Brady and 3 of his oldest friends started a week of camp at the zoo yesterday. Getting there and back is not the easiest, especially with toddlers in tow, but it’s a cool experience so it’s hopefully worth it. Taking two buses with two children and a folded stroller often makes me want to move to the suburbs where I could just drive everywhere.
But we made there it pretty easily and then Declan and I had fun in the park with our friends for a awhile before taking the easy way out and cabbing home for lunch. My mother-in-law came in for the afternoon so I went alone to pick up Brady and a friend.
After pickup we all decided a stop at the ice cream cart was a good idea. We got some treats and the kids played a bit. When an argument broke out, Brady got frustrated and then exploded at his friend who started crying. When I corrected him, he had excuses lined up and insisted he hadn’t done anything wrong before beginning to sob himself. I hate this behavior of his so much that I, in my 35 years of adult wisdom, responded by doing the EXACT same thing. Yes, as he raged at me about how it wasn’t his fault, I got more and more frustrated and, like a rubber band pulled beyond it’s range, BOOM, I snapped.
I yelled at him to apologize to his friend, to stop walking away from me, to act better. I used my growly angry voice and my mean, angry words. In essence, I acted like a child. When I finally calmed down, I got Brady aside and talked to him in soft words about why I didn’t like his behavior. I pointed out to him that losing your temper is something that happens, clearly it had just happened to me, but that that doesn’t mean it’s ok and we still have to say we’re sorry. I said I was sorry and gave him a hug.
But I still felt just awful. I was embarrassed for losing my temper in front of my friends, my friends’ children, and countless tourists enjoying an afternoon in Central Park. I was ashamed of treating my child that way. I felt like a failure as a mother, not only because of my behavior, but because of Brady’s behavior. Even though I was trying to teach my son that being human is ok, that emotions get the best of us sometimes, and that we just have to try to react better in the future, I was not allowing myself the same consideration.
Today I still feel badly about yesterday afternoon, but I’m working on it. I cannot changed the way I acted, but I can change my future reactions. I can allow myself to be human and I can use this to remind myself to take a breath next time and to be a better example to the child who has clearly inherited my quick temper.