I started the morning with a painful drilling of my tooth. I blacked out at the gym. My tooth still hurt. My arms were sore from the workout, and she was arching and twisting in ways that caused severe pain. I was stressed. I was in a hurry to get out of there. People were looking. She wouldn't stop. It was the same thing over and over and over again...
It was a hundred tiny things that bubbled up at the same time into one outburst. One moment of sheer frustration, one yelled "No!" at my child. My child who didn't stop when she heard me yell, who didn't even react, for that matter. My child who didn't understand that Mommy was in pain or that she shouldn't be grabbing bags of chips off the rack or that she was making the simple task of buying sandwiches more difficult. My child, who didn't understand that she was doing a single thing wrong, who was only aware that there was something exciting in front of her, and she could reach out and grasp it, and so she was doing so with great delight.
I yelled at my child today. Because I was frustrated. Because I was in pain. Because, sometimes, that's what we do as parents. We snap and we scold our children a little too loudly, even though they don't understand a single thing that's happening in that moment and couldn't possibly grasp the meaning of your shout.
I am not at all proud today. I know better, but I feel like a lousy parent. I mean, I'm studying Early Childhood Special Education. I have made a choice to devote my LIFE to children who will be difficult to handle at times and who won't always understand me. I should be more patient, right? More understanding? More selfless?
I'm the mother of a child with special needs. I should be perfect, shouldn't I?
Each of us knows that it's a ridiculous notion. There is no such thing as the perfect parent. There isn't a person alive who NEVER loses their cool for an instant here and there. Especially parents of children who don't fit the mold... We know better than anyone, don't we, that sometimes you just get fed up? Tired? Stressed?
It's completely forgivable. It's understandable. It's HUMAN.
And yet... None of that stops me from beating myself up over it. I yelled at my child today. My beautiful, perfect little girl who didn't understand a single thing that was going on in that moment. My angel, who kept right on grabbing those bags of chips after I yelled because she didn't understand that no means no or that Mommy was frustrated or that anything at all was out of the ordinary.
I am not a bad parent for yelling "No!" at my child. I know this, and tomorrow, it won't be weighing on my mind and on my heart... But today, I'm having a really hard time being okay with this. Today, I feel like I failed her.
Just goes to show you, every day is a struggle, but, in the end, we endure for these amazing kids.