I consider myself to be a pretty decent mom. I read parenting books, take parenting classes to stay up to date on the most recent child development research; I even facilitate a parenting support website! Since I know all of this research based information I work really hard to implement the tools that resonate with my parenting style. I feel that the purpose of discipline is to teach NOT to punish and that it’s important to understand how my child’s brain works and respond accordingly. I don’t hit, yell or shame purposely because I know that the relationship with my children is paramount to their long-term mental health and development. I love them more than anything and would give up my life if it meant saving theirs.
So now that you know my parenting philosophy I feel OK telling you that the shit that pops into my mind is often completely opposite of my outward behavior and actions towards my children.
Here are my Top 5 messed up thoughts…..
1. GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP!!
2. Are you fucking kidding me?
3. Why are you being such an asshole?
4. What is wrong with you!!
5. AHHHH can’t you go play by yourself already?
And what actually comes out of my mouth….
1. It’s time for bed sweetie. (after carrying her back to her room for the last hour)
2. Do you need a hug? How can we fix this? (when my daughters are having a meltdown)
3. We don’t hit. It hurts Mommy when you hit. (as my child is hitting me after not getting what she wants)
4. What’s wrong? How can we fix it?
5. Let’s come up with some ideas for an activity that would be fun for everyone.
If you are a parent you know that this stuff is hard, ESPECIALLY when you know all the things you should do to ensure your children’s health. By no means am I perfect. I actually make all kinds of mistakes on a daily basis (just ask my daughter, Madyson), but I do my best to repair them if possible by saying sorry and admitting when I could have done better.
My kids aren’t perfect either (obviously). They are little humans who are just doing their best, but sometimes their brains go off wire and they just aren’t capable of being “good” in that moment. They don't mean to upset us or purposely make us angry, but they will use these "misbehavior's" to communicate when they are feeling angry, tired, hungry, overwhelmed or any other BIG emotion.
When my own children are behaving in a challenging way it takes ALL of my will and brain power to respond in a way that is in line with my values and beliefs about parenting.
Being mindful. Taking a whole brain approach. Connecting before redirecting.
All of these wonderful tactics can be exhausting when they are practiced for hours on end. I share this with you because I want you to know that you are not alone and it’s OK and even normal to have some not so nice thoughts about your own children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent or don’t love them.
If you notice you ONLY have these types of thoughts AND you regularly act on them, maybe this can be your wake up call to make a commitment to try some new tactics in order to enjoy being a parent a bit more. Will it always work out well, nope, but you might feel happier, confident and relaxed in your role as a parent.
What kind of messed up thoughts do you have about your kids? Are you able to resist saying them out loud or acting on them? Do you find that you are yelling or damaging the relationship with your kids more than feels good?
If you are looking for a community of moms who can have compassion for you and your messed up thoughts I invite you to step into the Thriving Mama Society.
Jennifer Bronsnick, MSW, LCSW is passionate about supporting moms to be resilient. As a mother of three daughters under 8 and a survivor of postpartum depression and anxiety Jennifer knows exactly how challenging motherhood can be. She also knows that there is hope for all of us and with accurate information, support and inspiration that mothers and families can thrive.
Jennifer’s years of clinical experience as a social worker and her own personal journey gives her the unique ability to guide other moms on their path to health and wellness. You can also learn more about Jennifer, the services she offers and purchase her books on maternal self-care at www.themindfulfamily.com/jennifer.