在悔和愛中的自我反思 Self-reflection through guilt and love
I yelled at my toddler the other day. I was stressed and lost my patience. When bursting out, I noticed that my emotions hijacked me, but I still chose me over us, or him-my child. Of course, I felt so guilty afterward for the whole evening, even the next few days.
"Take off your shoes, please!", "Wash your hands before touching everything, please!", "Go to the toilet because you already wet your pants, please! (he is still at the potty exercising phase)", "Shower please," "Come and eat dinner, please "... All the things I expected him to finish according to my schedule, he didn't. Instead, he just ran around the apartment, laughing. I started commanding him to do things louder and louder. Then when he squeezed out all the toothpaste from the toothpaste tube while brushing his teeth, I lost my mind and yelled like a crazy woman.
I was exhausted from the sleepless nights due to our newborn's arrival. Like many mums, I also face the pressure to arrange all schedules and complete housework within a limited time every day (including endless cooking, cleaning, washing, and folding clothes, feeding, and purchasing household items). However, my toddler is only 28 months old. He was actually tired after we returned home from the daycare, so he started to be naughty. And his younger brother started crying because he was hungry almost at the same time. Therefore, negative emotions continue to escalate and evolve into pressure, and this pressure eventually explodes at the end. At that very moment, no one in our family was in a happy mood.
Before going to bed that night, I apologized to my child for my yelling and reflected on the whole incident with him. I explained to him what happened and why I was angry. He kissed me good night and then told me he wanted to be hugged. I really feel sad about what happened...
When I was alone that night, I began to reflect on my entire parenting journey. I want to understand my emotional pattern, hoping to find a "calm anchor." Such a "calm anchor" can remind me that in the future, if I am about to lose my temper, I can think of such a "calm anchor" to remain calm.
I started trying to have a reflective conversation with myself, sounding strange but very helpful:
-What are the specific situations that my child easily triggers me to get angry?
When my toddler became naughty, he did not listen to me, did not do things I expected him to do.
-What does "listen to me, finish the things I expected him to do" mean to me?
It meant that he is an understanding boy, and we can also finish all the checklist tasks (like eating, handwashing, bathing, etc.
-And then what?
Then I can have more free time with him playing or reading, and then I can have more personal time doing my own things.
-Having more free time with him playing or reading means what to you?
I can bond with my toddler for spending quality time together; then, when he grows up, he will remember such moments.
-Why "remembering such moments" are so crucial for me?
Because I want to be a good mum, and I want to be there for him. Because I did not grow up with my own parents, I want to create such memories for my own children.
Suddenly, it was already having a crucial "Aha moment"!
I want to spend quality time with him later. Instead, I am trying to rush him to do things that he was not ready for at that moment; In this case, I led to a power game, which caused my child to cry and frustrate. I did not live in the present moment but in the planned future. I could have interacted with him in a more exciting way to complete these tasks and enjoy the moment. But I am not connected with him at all!
I am bringing my own original family problems into my own parenting. Because I did not get the "sweet parenting memories" from my parents, I am trying to create such memories for my child. Instead, I am trying too hard, and it just turns in a different direction.
I am the one with problems; I am the problems here, not my toddler! I am trying to correct him, wanting to connect! I am the one who needs to be "corrected"!
-Knowing about the "Aha moments," what would I do differently in the future?
For the "must-do tasks," Maybe I will use the "play-based method" or provide an "interesting choices method" to guide him to do it independently. For example, let him choose whether he wants to wash hands with the left hand first or right hand first. Or maybe sometimes I have to be flexible and more relaxed on those "must-do" tasks.
-When I think of "quality time bonding while doing the "must-do tasks" with my toddler, what visional pictures do I see?
We two laugh together at the handwashing sink, making stupid jokes together.
And that picture becomes my new anchor. Since that night, whenever I am about to lose my patience, I remember that picture. Somehow the tense just started losing up. I can quickly apply a new "fun strategy" to finish the "must-do" tasks without commanding.
Whenever I see my toddler's smiling face in front of me, I know that he is living in the moment, and he is who he is!
*Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash