Saturday, June 07, 2008

I Think They Call It A Conscience

Sometimes, in my daily parenting routines of feeding and wiping and cajoling and tickling, I get this weird feeling of being kind of... Above myself, or outside of myself. I am changing the fifth dirty diaper of the day, trying to hold Eli still with a combination of brute force, distracting singing, and random objects offered as chew toys (his current favorite is a baby hairbrush,) and I can almost feel my will power, hovering above me and coaching me through my desire to shout, "Just hold STILL for the love of God!" "Okay, the more frustrated you get, the more agitated HE will get," my mind offers in a reassuring, back patting kind of tone. "You will get through this moment, you really will, so just calm down and try something else." And so I do.

Or perhaps I am in line at the grocery store, and both kids seem to be singing, feeding off of one another in a strange, screamy sort of round, a little tune called "Icepick To The Eardrums." I can feel my face flushing and my pulse quickening as I try to quiet them, but then I will also hear the Inner Voice: "You're the grown up here, so no need to join in the hysterics. It doesn't matter if these strangers think your kids are annoying, or that they're brats, or that you probably don't DISCIPLINE them. YOU know that they're out past their naps, that their diapers are wet, and that they just need to get home, so try to be patient. Gentle tone of voice, now!"

There are days when it would be SUCH relief to just lose it a little bit, to feel free and justified in snapping and slamming and stomping around. I want to let loose with the list of the tedium/insanity I have already patiently put up with today and how I don't need this crap, I'd get more job satisfaction flipping burgers, and hey, YOU KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY! But I almost never do, thanks to my goody-goody inner coach. I am always relieved, once the moment passes, to have heeded her admonishment. But sometimes I just wish she would shut up and let me have my temper tantrum.

15 comments:

Banana said...

Perfectly put. Especially the part about not worrying what strangers are thinking, because you know that they are just tired or cranky.

Jana said...

Oh how I wish I had your self restraint! Guess I gotta work on that.

Momma Mary said...

How about this: I'll take your goody-goody conscience on Mondays and one or two other days per week. You can have my conscience on those days, which doesn't work nearly as well as yours. Will that work?

SLynnRo said...

You don't need kids to feel this way. I often feel this way about a lot of things in life. Your description applies just as well to me. Sadly, it is mostly about my co-workers. I largely spend my days placating 5 year olds in 28 year old bodies.

Marie Green said...

Whenever I indulge in my temper, I sound just like my own mother. And the sounds I hear coming from my mouth are the EXACT sounds that I despise(d) in my mom. So I try to be the "adult", just like you say.

But? Sometimes, I don't think it's all bad for kids to see us angry. They need to know anger, and to know that it's not a "bad feeling" to have. I just worry that I am not all that emotionally healthy when I deal with MY anger, and I don't want to be a bad model.

Great post, thanks! I needed it today.

Tessie said...

I like that "I'm the adult" self-talk, that seems helpful.

It's so hard for me becuase I rarely FEEL like an adult.

Chelle said...

I remember moments like that. Now and days, my Wishing-I-Could-Have-My-Own-Tantrum moments come during the five millionth arguement that the kids have over the remote control or the six billionth arguement over the last Otter Pop.

Good times.

Saly said...

I need to print this out....my "little voice" isn't working so well lately.

Motherhood for Dummies said...

you have some good self restraint and patient. You should give classes :)

Jenna said...

I love your inner voice. Could it have a conversation with my inner voice, the one that often says "Eff this. You are clearly sucking at this whole mommy thing."?

Swistle said...

I love this! I have that voice, too. Sometimes I override it.

I remember one of the first times I noticed it, when I was a medium-sized (gradeschool-aged) child and it said, "If you break that toy [in a tantrum], you won't have it anymore." Now it says to me, "If you break that, you'll just have to clean it up."

andi said...

Please send your goody-goody inner coach my way. I've acted like a tantrumming three-year-old more times than I care to admit.

Kelsey said...

I think I could really use some help from your inner-coach. I lose my temper so easily. BIG SIGH.

d e v a n said...

I loooove this post. My conscience seems to have been on vacation on and off for the past few months...

Mommy Daisy said...

It's kind of annoying isn't it. Although I probably lose my cool more than I'd like.