By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | December 5, 2012
Last week I was talking with my friend Ana and the topic drifted to our parenting disasters. My anger issues are legendary but I’ve always known Ana to tip the scales in the opposite direction. So what was her best-kept secret?
There was one incident I have worried about for many years, I told Ana. I was upset with Chelsey for something silly that I couldn’t even remember, went into her room and looking her straight in the eye, used my arm to bulldoze everything off the top of her desk. I looked at the heap of books on the floor; notebook, small toys, trinkets and other items, then back to Chelsey and marched back to the kitchen.
What did I just do? Can you imagine what my actions showed Chelsey? My behavior shouted loud and clear that her belongings had no value to me and she may have included herself in that summation. It also told Chelsey that I, as her mother, was all-powerful, all-knowing and could destroy anything as I saw fit at the drop of a hat. My behavior that afternoon informed my daughter that there was no discussion and anything she might be thinking was completely irrelevant and unimportant to me— the all-powerful, all-knowing, superior being.
That night as I prepared our meal I was already disappointed with what I had done and vowed never to let that happen again but I still worried about permanent damage. Ana said her experience with her son was similar to mine, on a scale of one to ten— it would definitely rate an eight. Her son came home after a tough day at school and plopped his backpack down in the middle of the floor then went to have a snack. Ana asked her son to pick up his backpack and put it in his room. He went to the bathroom then sat on the couch and turned the TV on to watch cartoons. Ana asked a second, and then a third time for her son to pick up the backpack from the floor. What happened next surely surprised her son and now me. Ana calmly went over to the window and carefully raised the glass, then slowly raised the screen, then picked up the backpack and chucked it out the window books and all then went on about her chores as if nothing had happened.
We learned over the years that much of our problems with impatience with children pointed towards Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS. I was in denial that something so ridiculous would affect my anger and behavior but in hindsight I’m sure it did. When my brothers were all younger we quickly recognized when our mother had her period, we passed a knowing look between us. Her behavior would start the week before her period and lessen near the end of her last day. She kept Hershey’s Kisses, Heath bars, Reece’s Cups and Butterfingers for cravings she couldn’t explain. Except for the chocolate, she was harder to pin down because she was normally a workaholic, very strict and prone to physical violence. A yellow legal pad filled with chores or being struck from behind was a common cue for me.
Thinking about my earlier conversation with Ana, I asked Chelsey about the ‘bulldozer’ that day and what had she remembered. She said she didn’t remember it at all but she came home from school one day and found her entire room trashed. No, that wasn’t me, it was her sister, but I feel a heavy weight has been lifted. Katie smiled and admitted to trashing the room but couldn’t remember why she did it. And, such begins another chatty session that brings us closer.
Perhaps the take-away message is to be keenly aware of moodiness and anger fluctuations and tracking your or your spouses’ periods. If a problem presents itself then you are armed with the evidence for discussion or seeing the doctor. If you have ever behaved with your children in a way that you are not proud of then it may be an indicator you need to seek out help. Help could be a Parents Anonymous Group, counseling, or talking with your family doctor— I prefer our groups because attending is free of any charge. You can also ask for and get solutions the same day and if you need to, you can call other parents from home before you bulldoze.
Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.
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