08 March 2011

When Mommy needs a tantrum

I've read and been told that tantrums can be important developmentally as they give a child the chance to express very strong emotions that they don't otherwise know how to.  It is up to parents to teach appropriate emotional release.  Instead of hitting or kicking and screaming when angry teach a child to say "I'm angry!" and then ask for help with resolving what made them angry, maybe find a pillow to hit or kick.  When sad about something instead of laying on the floor flailing and crying go to someone or something comforting and cry.  Then take a moment to talk about what made them sad.  When frustrated with a task instead of throwing it and screaming, ask someone for help.  But sometimes, even in all of the tools and outlets you give a child they still need the release of a tantrum.  Think about it.  Even when you're being an adult and handling your strong emotions in a mature way there comes a point where you just need to have a good scream, find something safe to hit or throw and go off to pout.

I'm there now.  I have lost count of the number of shoes that have dropped for us.  I can no longer remember what a stress and drama free month is like.  The concept of not being on pins & needles because I don't know what is coming next is foreign to me now.  Today we added the excitement of someone using random number generators to use my account to buy iTunes and World of Warcraft stuff.  Thankfully it was caught quickly and we should be able to recover the money in a few weeks.  But it just added to the stress we already have.  It just made me stop and wonder if I really did do something to piss of the Universe.  I told Adam that I am just barely keeping it together.  I have often felt the edge, that tip, of my breakdown and have managed to push it away and set it aside until later.  I would love to be able to just let go and get the emotion out.  But the question is always "When?".  I could have tonight while cooking dinner, but Kara skipped her nap today and we had to eat so we could avoid her tired meltdown.  Besides, then dinner would have burned. Ok, not a good time.  I could have while curled up in bed with Adam.  But Rowan was starting to fuss and sound like she was waking up.  I don't want to be alone when I finally let all this pent up emotion out. Since one of us would have had to get up with her that was out too.  Not a day goes by where I don't feel the emotions getting ready to explode.  But not a single day offers me any time or space for it.   

I know it's not healthy to keep the emotions in.  But as I must teach my daughters appropriate emotional displays, so I must show them as well.  Somehow me falling to the floor in a full out tantrum and breakdown in the middle of making dinner or playing with them doesn't seem right.  I have no problems with them seeing the release and explaining what's going on.  But I at least want to show that there are appropriate times and places to do so.  Maybe then I will set a good example of how to handle those strong emotions.

05 March 2011

Hand me my armor

I admit it, I don't feel confident enough, able enough, or strong enough.  Adam was at a conference all this week and his dad was nice enough to come out and help me with the girls.  I was flustered, frustrated and at my wits end.  I wasn't able to cook a meal without someone watching the girls, despite the fact that I've done it before and do it often during the week.  I wasn't able to get them to bed despite the fact that I did it before.  When Adam returned he told me that he may have to go on a trip for business again in April.  I was devastated, especially when I found out my father-in-law wouldn't be able to come help me again.  It was if I was a damsel in all those fairy tales that needs rescuing.  I didn't used to be that way. 

At one point in my life I was a very strong girl who felt she could rely on herself and mostly herself alone.  While I craved the approval and attention from others, especially from boys, I could stand on my own and was independent.  Somewhere along the way that changed.  I met and dated someone who made me feel, and told me I was, weak, powerless and in need of saving.  I believed him.  I lost my sense of self.  When I finally ended that relationship 6 1/2 years later the damage had been done.  I felt part of myself being strong and independent.  I was no longer always a kitten in a tree.  But I still needed rescuing.  I met Adam and he helped me to regain some of my strength.  But at the same time, I saw him as a knight in shining armor come to help me from my peril.  I have seen him in that light a lot and leaned on him heavily.  He does work to help me be that strong warrior woman I used to be. 

My family had a nickname for me when my temper started to flare "Mighty Battle Maiden".  I would become this great warrior who would swing her mighty sword and strike down anyone in her way.  I have embraced that image many times, but always felt sort of sheepish about it.  Like I wasn't supposed to be that strong character.  I've always been drawn to strong female characters, especially ones who can hold their own (or more) in battle.  The ones who rarely need a superhero to come save them from the falling building because they have enough sense to not stand there and scream.  Instead they run and get the person who is standing there screaming to safety.  Somewhere along the way I have let myself rely on others too much.  I have no confidence in my ability to be a parent on my own.  I don't know if I've accepted too much help and have decided that clearly I must need others to do things for me, or if I've simply lost sight of Battle Maiden. 

When Adam and I lived in Madison we used to do a sort of LARP called Belegarth.  We had foam weapons and did battle against others.  I loved the feel of the sword and shield.  I loved arching and dreamed of all sorts of fun equipment.  But I was never confident in it.  I wanted to do more and become better.  But got pregnant and had no time.  We moved out to Maryland and learned there weren't Belegarth groups near.  And with a small child we didn't think it feasible to continue.  I still have my bow and my shield.  But we never did make our swords.  I miss it.  I miss the chance to be the Battle Maiden.  My name at Belegarth was Phoenix.  I wanted to be that bird who rises from her own ashes to soar again.  It was a reminder to myself that even though I was a damsel in distress I didn't need rescuing anymore.  I could save my own damn self.

Now with the possibility of Adam being gone for a week and no help coming I realize that I need to find that Phoenix, that Battle Maiden again.  I need to remember that both are still a part of me and I can do things on my own.  I may need help from time to time, but I don't need to be rescued.