I remember it being a cold February morning – I had been a stay at home mom for about 10 months and definitely not loving it. Even though I had the sweetest, most compassionate 3 year old at home with me, I couldn’t seem to get over the thought that kept swirling around in my head – “I’m a terrible mother”. And why was that thought in my head? Because I yelled, I screamed, I cried, and I only had social media as my window to the outside world – a soulless algorithm which displayed every “how to” mommy article and everyone’s “best” moments for me to read, worry over, feel guilty over and cry over.
But this particular morning was like none other – we were getting ready to go to the Natural History museum. I had just come off yet another insomnia filled night, had endured a fight with my husband that morning, and there was a fresh inch of snow on the ground outside. My anxiety, my anger but above all my resentment, were through the roof. “Why did it have to snow?? Why was my husband being such a jackass??”, I thought in my head. I focused solely on the negativity and let my anger feed my thoughts, not paying attention to the little boots my three year old was asking me to tie on his feet. While the thoughts swirled around in my brain, my little boy did the most innocent thing – he accidentally kicked me. But my reaction is one I’ll never forget – my eyes got wide, I screamed so loud and punched the ground with all my might. All that rage, resentment and anger that had been swirling around in my brain came out in one mighty blow, right there for my baby to see. Within seconds, tears welled up in his terror-filled eyes and he began retracting from me. I couldn’t believe that I had just done that – that I had been capable of having such a violent reaction based purely on the thoughts swirling around in my head. I crumbled into a weeping pile on the floor, asked my son to hug me, which he eventually did, and we both sat there, rocking and crying on the floor, while I whispered “I’m sorry” over and over again.
I’ll never forget that day. But I’m glad to say that I learned so much from that day – I learned that I needed to take care of myself. I began seeking therapy, I signed up for massages, I bought a journal but above all I started being honest with myself – I was not happy being home with my son and I knew in my heart that I would be a much better mother to him if I worked. I took that day as a sign to focus on myself and figure out what would help me out the most, because by helping myself, I would inevitably help my family too. I’m so happy to say that now, three years later, I’m able to control my anger, and while I do yell, I haven’t scared myself or my kids since that day. I’d say that’s a victory.