Sunday, October 5, 2014

When Parenting Is Too Much To Handle

There are those times in parenting where you don't know what to do. I've lost my shit with my kids (read more on that here: http://ashlen-kidspert.blogspot.com/2014/07/youre-going-to-make-mommy-lose-her-shit.html), there have been times where I've remained silent because I didn't know what to do, but Friday night marked a new level of parenting I had not yet reached: so seething angry at my children that I ran out of my house. Let me back up a bit before you begin thinking I just left my young children.....

Friday afternoon my children's behavior hit rock bottom. They suddenly seemed to forget any house/family rules we've had in place since they were born. They bitched about dinner. They ignored all dinner rules. They screamed. There was no talking, only screaming. There was fighting. So. Much. Fighting. They were being assholes. Complete and total assholes. And that is putting it nicely.

Nothing I was doing or saying was changing anything. At 6 p.m. I called my husband and told him "I'm leaving as soon as you get home." I was nice enough to forewarn him of the hell he was about to come home to. Then something happened.

The boys got into a fight. Not a physical fight, but a "Max knocked into me and didn't say excuse me!" said through sobbing tears. To which the offender responded, also through sobbing tears, "but Harrison was taking up too much room!" All while Elizabeth screamed on the floor for no reason other than to get in on the fight too. I stared at them. Talking calmly hadn't helped, yelling only made me lose my voice (which I didn't have much of anyway thanks to a cold), time outs or thinking about our rules wasn't working, I'm pretty sure I had taken away every luxury they know of. I was so unbelievably angry at them that I just no longer cared. I said to them "fight as much as you want. I'm done. Beat each other senseless if you want to." I took a deep breath and walked away.

I put on my sneakers, did a load of laundry, cleaned up their uneaten dinner plates, laid out pajamas.....all while my kids screamed even louder because I wasn't paying attention to them. I saw my husband pull into the driveway and I walked out of my house. I quickly told him good luck, hopped into our minivan, and drove off to my sanctuary (also known as Target).

I blindly walked the many aisles of Target. Every single one. As I walked, I thought. How had my children become this way? I had noticed a gradual decline of certain manners, but I thought how I was handling things was working? What the hell happened? Was I doing it all wrong? Did I just totally lose my way with kids? Was I a horrible parent? What do I do to change their behavior? I started out as a parent thinking I would be a parent of few rules. Six years later and we have more rules in our house than any other family (it has something to do with 9 kids running around our house most days, much more than most other families). Was I even doing this parenting shit right? Then the guilt set in. I should have handled everything better. I could have done a million other things. I bet other moms would know exactly what to say or do to get their children to behave "perfectly." I didn't give them a kiss goodbye. I didn't tell them I loved them before I ran out of the house. What if they go to bed tonight thinking I left them? I literally walked around for an hour blindly throwing crap in my cart.

I paid for my $90 of crap (yes, only $90 for roaming each aisle for an hour! This is a goal I've never accomplished) and headed home. I was somewhat rejuvenated to handle things, I was a lot less angry, and I had a game plan in my head that I was going to put in place.

I would like to say that the weekend ran smoothly with my new plans in place, but they didn't. We had to skip a day trip to the Ledges and a pumpkin patch. My voice is still weak from raising it to get my fighting children's attention. I have said "use your words, no more whining!" a million times in the past 48 hours. I have had to show my six and four year old how to chew with their mouths closed because apparently they "forgot how to do it" (how does one even forget how to chew this way??).

I felt much better after hearing from fellow mommies that their kids were being horrid as well, but I still feel a bit of ashamed guilt about running out of my house to get away from the hell that were my children. I've met many obstacles in my parenting career, yet none where I just couldn't take it anymore. This was the first time ever I had been so angry at my kids that I just couldn't deal with things. I have happily walked out of my house after a rough day, but none have been quite like this. I was pushed to my limit (actually a bit beyond). My kids were too much to handle. My role as a parent was too much to handle in those final moments. I'm alive, not completely unscathed, but I like to hope I'll be a better parent because of it.

Have your children ever pushed you to your limit? How did you handle it?

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