• LuckyMama

    I am the product of a mother that yelled (and still does) about EVERYTHING. Before we had kids I told my husband that it was my goal as a parent not to repeat that behavior….it is seriously the hardest part about parenthood for me!!!!

    When I raise my voice or get snippy with our 5 yr old daughter my husband will jump in and it only pisses me off more. I now see that raising your voice is needed…just not to the degree my mouther used it.

    When I freak out on my daughter…I feel terrible, but I can’t help but think “If you’d listen to me like you listen to your father we wouldn’t have this problem!”

  • kcbelles

    Wow, first! That never happened, although with the troubles the Internet is giving me just trying to post this, I probably lost it by now lol

  • arishell

    It seems that we are afraid to show anger to our children. They have to learn to deal with anger out in the world and this is part of it! We are human and not superwomen, don’t be afraid to show your flaws!

    I regret yelling unreasonably at my daughter, it has only happened a few times and hopefully not that many more, though she is entering her teen years. Yikes!

  • Leball

    I am very human. And this hit home. BIG TIME! My son tests me alot. He is two and very smart. And there are some days that I loose it. I hate spanking so I become a yeller. I do not spank. I yell. And I always want to be sweet and patient, but then I yell. And after yelling and he cries, I cry. And I call my boyfriend and sob that I am horrible and I am sure I am messing up our son.

    I am afraid of failing, but I know that in the end, I actually am great. But I am human and not perfect. And I hate yelling. I can only imagine what Joey will tell me once he is five years old. O Jesus.

  • raeofsunshine

    I tried to give my four year old a guilt trip the other day. I didn’t set out to do that, but halfway through, I realized what I was doing, and, what the hell, decided to finish the trip!

    The next day, he asked me to play a game with him and I said “in five minutes” and he launched into a tirade about how “he gave me his sticker when he didn’t have to!” and how “he told me my shirt was nice when he was so hungry that one time!”

    It took me 30 years to learn to give a decent guilt trip and he learned it in less then 24 hours.

  • serenity

    I remember quite vividly when my son (who is now 29) was 6 and I had called him in from playing as it was bath time. We lived in a townhouse complex, it was summer, all the neighbours were milling about enjoying the warm weather and my son decided to run away screaming, “Don’t hit me, Don’t hit me”. My mortification suffocated me as I went to get him. I had never struck him, but would speak VERY STERNLY if needed.

    All my kids have left home now and when I look back I know I would do so many things differently if I had a chance to do it over. But I can’t go back. And they’ve learned to get over any neuroses I had instilled in them. Besides, they may not have been born if I did go back and do things differently:)

  • mommica

    Last waffle fry? Psssh, she’s kicked out. I still remind my brother about that time 13 years ago when he ate my very long McDonalds French fry that I was saving for last. Little bastard.

  • Milla

    man, Leta is getting off EASY. my soviet parents would routinely slap my sister and i upside the head whenever we misbehaved. and if they weren’t around to do it, a relative would fill in. not that you should slap your kids and i don’t plan to slap mine, but a sorta threat followed by self-restraint is hardly a parenting mishap. sounds like a triumph to me!

  • tracy

    Once, in the very recent past, I had an “episode” and slammed a dining room chair against the floor. And as if that wasn’t enough, I kicked my boots off & they went flying into the kitchen. My daughter (19 mos old & VERY aware of others’ emotional state), had a look of confusion, sadness, & horror on her face. She cried out “mama”, and went into the kitchen to retrieve my boots for me. I was so very ashamed. Ashamed beyond words. How could I behave that way in front of my child?

    I managed to calm myself (thank you, xanax) and tried to spend the rest of the evening trying to show Ellis mama was okay.

    Right after it happened, I tweeted about it. I got the support I needed in that moment; moms I respect told me I wasn’t terrible, that they’ve lost their shit in front of their kids, too.

    We replaced the chair, but the broken one is still in the garage. What, like I need to have our garbage men know I break furniture?? (you have to have a sense of humor about these things at some point, right?)

  • My Baby Sweetness

    At this moments, my husband always says – this is why they send us out in teams.

    I don’t know how single parents do it. Seriously – my brain was so fried my pregnancy, I couldn’t even make sense of how to put the crib together. (I’d read an instruction and look up blankly at my husband. Which is the back of the crib? What’s a screw? Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?) And that was BEFORE THE BABY EVEN ARRIVED.

  • mommaruthsays

    Robots, indeed. I’ve never known someone who could keep it all together all the time. It’s impossible – and in a way, it’s good to let your kids see you’re human and you can make mistakes just as easily as they can. Parent, child – whatever the roles, we’re all human beings trying to co-exist together. And we’re never going to be perfect, no matter how hard we try.

  • Frugalista

    On a recent night my husband and I were screaming at each other after the kids were in bed. Mostly me screaming, him quietly infuriating me. The noise woke up our 5-year-old.
    As if that weren’t shameful enough, her calm and sweetness when she woke up made me feel like a real heel in comparison. She said, smiling, “Try to avoid the yelling. It scares me.” And then went to sleep.
    Eck.

  • Miss Anthrope

    My daughter is scared to death of having water on her face. She is a bit obsessive compulsive about stuff like that. She also REFUSES to look up when I’m trying to rinse her hair.

    After a while I had had enough, so I’d get her face wet on purpose- and I was not nice about it. This routine went on for a week or so. One day she totally lost it so I took her out of the tub and plopped her down in the middle of the floor and told her I’d come back in when she was over herself.

    Then I realized I was a monster.

    Every time she takes a bath she whimpers and says, “Not to look up, Mom.” She doesn’t have to “look up” anymore.

    Unlike most of those who have commented, I actually get upset WITH and AT my daughter. I fully realize that she has done absolutely NOTHING wrong. So I really don’t get stories of people feeling like they are awful people because one time their kid almost saw them maybe grumble, seriously? Any tips? Or should I be reported?

  • adrienne jackson

    things are definitely built in – like leta’s wincing, my daughter flinches when i have to drill something into her brain… i’m shaking my finger and she protecting her face like she’s been hit before, which really she hasn’t. but i’m sure it looks that way.

  • serenity

    Miss Anthrope – in no way was my post meant to indicate that I never got upset with or at my kids. We all do. And we’ve all done horrible, mean spirited, what the hell was I thinking things to our kids. We’re human. It goes without saying that we do try better than our parents, who tried better than their parents, but in the meantime we make our own mistakes – those that our kids will avoid with their kids, yet along the way they too will make new mistakes. Being human is too complex for us not to make mistakes.

    In general a good loving home will overshadow the isolated incidents that we heap more mounds of guilt on that it deserves.

  • minx

    SO TRUE! Life, being human, sleepness nights, the long (but fabulous) and monotonous days – jeez you mean you can’t be June Cleaver (or Mrs. Brady)?

    xoxo…

  • randomtissa

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I feel just a little bit more human as a mom now instead of raging monster. Thanks!

  • Miss Anthrope

    serenity- I totally wasn’t commenting in response to your comment. I took your comment to be about your general regrets about parenting and one horrified moment when your son made you look bad.

    I actually think the stories in the vid were SO mild I can’t believe these are their worst moments. Accidentally getting water on your kids face? Accidentally? I just relayed a story of putting water in my kid’s face ON PURPOSE. On one hand, I was hoping that so doing would make her get over her fear. On the other, I was also doing it in so much anger that there was no way she was going to take it as anything other than me being mean- and I was being mean. And I knew it.

    Locking your kid in the car? I’ve done that one. Maybe I’m horrible, but I didn’t think that was a big deal at all. I just called my husband and while we waited, my daughter and I played hide and seek with me popping up from the various windows. She was luckier than I was- she was in the warm car, I was out in the cold!

  • snarkalicious

    I think it’s really important that we recognize when we’ve “lost it” or made a mistake with our kids and admit that to them. As a mother of five I have lost count of the number of times I’ve gotten angry and said something or imposed some ridiculous punishment, and then later cooled down, gone back to the child and apologized. They still get punished, mind you (and giving them extra chores or taking away things like video games or phone privileges works SO well) but I will compromise and negotiate. After all, those are skills our kids will need as adults, so it’s up to us to teach them. And don’t discount that old standby our parents used-asking the kid to tell YOU what they think their punishment should be! They are almost always harder on themselves than we would be…

    Shannon

  • Roo8382

    Thanks for the courage and the stories. I do not have kids yet, but I ABSOLUTELY understand what Heather means by “blacked out with anger”. Yeah, I have a scary temper. It’s one of my biggest worries related to starting a family. Thanks for giving me the courage to know that I can make mistakes and still be a good mom. :)

  • Rebecca Siewert

    I loved this video…. With a 4 year old it is a daily occurrence to regret something you said or did. I think its just part of parenting….

  • sandi

    I have one child out the fifteen that flinches every time I walk by. It’s embarrassing as hell in public because he acts like he’s been beat. For the life me I can’t figure it out. And a few times he has made me mad enough doing the duck and cover thing that I have wanted to smack him, but I have to believe this is an innate response. None of my other kids, all who have raised in the same house, flinch when I walk too close to them.

  • Stepher

    Now that my son is 16 months and I generally get a full-nights sleep my fly-off-the-handle moments are few and far between.
    But I still to this day remember a moment when he was maybe two or three months old and he would. not. sleep. at. all…he wouldn’t sleep during the day and was up every two hours for feedings, I was suffering with PPD and sleep deprived (obviously) and one day I just just snapped at him…
    I was in his room in the rocking chair and he’s wailing his head off and I held him up to face me and I was crying and saying, “I hate you, I hate you!”
    To this day I am absolutely mortified and ashamed of what I said to him…I can’t even fathom saying something like that today.
    Of course, since then there have been other “snapping” moments – throwing one of his bottles across the room, putting him in his crib and slamming the door shut – but none have made me feel as down right dreadful as that.
    And just learning that I’m not the only mom who’s made such unwise choices, makes me feel tons better. And it’s amazing, I read other mom’s stuff and think, “eh, that’s not so bad.” But when it comes to OUR own children, any outburst, seem so much more life-altering and traumatic…

  • kristanhoffman

    Like you said, Heather, pretty much every parent is going to lose it sometime. If it makes you feel better (and I hope it does because it broke my heart to see you trying to laugh instead of cry when you quoted Leta’s “Don’t harm me!”) my mom spanked me multiple times and yelled at me frequently as a child, and we’re still very close. Complicated, lol, but close. But I don’t fear her and I’m not psychologically damaged. As long as the foundation of love is there, a few slip ups won’t crumble the house, you know?

    {big hug for all the mommies out there}

  • Becca

    Oh the Internet (and Esp DOOCE!) is a wonderful thing. I feel so normal! I love that we don’t have to pretend to be perfect.(although I for one NEVER lose it…ahem)

  • sabina

    Once I was alone with my daughter, then three, while her father was away. She was being impossible, I don’t remember why. I was exhausted and sleep deprived and had had a bad day at work, and at the height of whatever was going on said, “You know, if things are going to continue like this I just don’t think I can be your mommy.” Yes, I am a monster too.

    She said calmly, “Call Daddy.” I said, “Fine, talk to Daddy.” She said, “Daddy? You need to get me because Mommy can’t be my Mommy anymore…. waaaaaaahhhhhh.” Took this idiotic thing I said SO seriously… I will never forgive myself. She handed me the phone and my husband said, “What the hell did you say to her???” and I had to admit the horrible thing I said. Even now, one year later – and we are thick as theives, my daughter and I; we have a very strong relationship and I know she knows she is adored – every once in a while she says, “You know that time you couldn’t be my mommy? Don’t EVER do that again, OK?” Oh, the shame.

  • JustLinda

    When my daughter was 4-ish we were in that bastion of fine dining, IHOP. They had seated us at the table furthest back (I tried not to read too much into that). My daughter was acting up and wouldn’t behave and I was going to take her outside so she didn’t disturb other diners who were enjoying their quality IHOP dining experiences. Or at least enjoying their Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.

    Anyway…

    My husband and I, like you and Jon, don’t spank, hit, shake. But I do get angry and I’m sure she knew I was angry. As we were walking through the ENTIRE restaurant, she kept repeating (loudly) “Don’t hit me! Don’t hit me!”

    Christ on a pancake, I felt like a heel, the way they were all looking at me.

    (So there’s one where I was NOT guilty but felt like a shitty parent anyway. I would prefer not to confess my true parenting sins here in front of all of the fine people on the internets.

  • Sassafras Mama

    Like every other parent I have, in fact, lost my cool on occasion. And afterward, I’ve felt like a jackass. No special stories of my stupidity, just your garden variety of losing it.

    But I wanted to say thanks, Heather, for the recognition single parents. I am one; have been for nearly 4 years. My son is now almost 10. I sometimes skip momversation because it makes me feel lonely for the days when I wasn’t a mama alone. But today I’m glad I watched.

    Thanks.

  • mommasj

    I feel super special to have my question chosen! This is something I’ve dealt with since the moment I gave birth to my daughter, but have never really talked about it before now, because I’m scared of what people will think. Knowing that so many of you have felt the way I feel has helped infinitely.

    @Miss Anthrope : I lose it WITH my daughter All.The.Time. Seriously, it’s probably a daily occurance. And I hate that about our relationship (she’s almost 4). I hate that I feel like we’re going to have the same relationship I had with my mom, and I hate that even though I am aware of my outbursts and unnecessary yelling, I can’t do anything to stop it. We’re both going through a tough time right now (husband is deployed and I have a two month old son) so I just keep trying to be more patient and hoping everything will get better when the hubs comes home.

  • Greta Koenigin

    Okay, ready? The f-words. The ones that come out of my mouth and don’t land in my closet when I’m by myself and out of earshot of my kids, but the ones I use (when I lose it) to describe the (blank) clothing on the floor, or the (blank) driver that’s sleeping at the wheel or the (blank) b.s. that my children won’t go to sleep. I don’t call them f-words, but I shower the air they breathe with them. I HATE this, and I am working on this. Sorry, daughters.

  • jessilee

    One time when my daughter was 3, she was being a pain in the rear at Walmart(I know how classy are we?) and having tantrums. So as I’m taking her outside she’s screaming “I want my mommy” that was fun to explain to security. I put her in the car and she asks to hold the video I had purchased for her(before the bad behavior) and I gave in just so the whining would stop. As we’re pulling away I see the video go sailing off. It was summer so the windows were down. I was just SURE she had thrown the video out the window. I stopped and retrieved it and I was SHAKING with anger and was yelling at her..and then I spanked her thigh. In anger. She was crying saying she didn’t do anything..and I realized I couldn’t remember taking it off the top of the car to get her. I had just spanked(first and last) my daughter for MY oversight. I felt like crap about it for weeks. It wasn’t the last time I did something that made me ashamed but that was the biggest. My daughter can press my buttons like no other.

  • jmcg

    Thank you so much for that story on Momversation. I have so been there and love that you offered such an honest story. You are brave, and we all benefit from your courage.

  • jodi.belshe

    I think I do something at least monthly. But the thing I’ve learned is that it’s OK, in fact, I think it’s good– it provides me the opportunity to apologize to my kids, which I hope shows them that I’m human, I make mistakes, and that when I do I take responsibility for them and try to make them right. So when they make mistakes, and they will, they learn to take responsibility for those mistakes, apologize for them, and learn from them. We’ll see in about 20 years if I’m right….

  • oshouldknow

    I used to grab my little boy by the ear and give him a little pinch, thinking that was better than a swat on the rear. But, then the started covering his ears and running when he thought he was in trouble. It sort of didn’t look too hot in the middle of the grocery store. So, had to move on to something that didn’t cause pain.

  • The Dalai Mama

    I have been put into time-out by my 3 1/2-year-old for being mean to him for “no reason.” I love my kids with every fiber of my being, but sometimes I forget that they are kids. I forget that their idea of moving fast is a half a step slower than they would usually walk, etc.

    Parenting is the toughest job a person can have and their are days when I should be sent home without pay. But at the end of the day there is nothing better a snuggle on the couch with the kid who put you in time-out for being mean–”mom you’ll be there a long time because you are old.” Thanks son…I love you too.

  • doublebuttons

    Unfortunately, I regularly lose my patience with my boys. I, too, am a yeller. But by far my worst moment was when I cut up one of my 3yo son’s favorite blankets. In front of him. Just to see if I could get him to be upset. I wanted him to be very upset about it.

    This incident didn’t just occur out of the blue. This was at the end of a long day where my patience was worn very thin and I discovered my son had cut up a piece of cloth with my painted hand and foot print from when I was five. Something completely irreplaceable. And he thought it was funny. Showed no remorse at all. This was the last straw.

    I yelled. I cut. and I yelled some more. I thought (and hoped) he would understand how it felt to lose something that meant a lot to him. And frankly, he didn’t really care. At all.

    Still to this day, I am COMPLETELY ashamed at how much I acted like the 3yo.

  • mommy may I

    I also have a challenging time dealing with my three kiddos and the last incident that tugged at my heart happened last weekend. We were skiing as a family, and as I helped my 4 year old up from a fall she said “Wow, you are being such a nice mommy right now.” “I mean, you aren’t yelling at me or being mean mommy. You are helping me.” OUCH!- Dr.Jeckyl/Mr.Hyde much mommy?

    Of course there was a line full of parents with nothing but idle time on their hands to watch this play out. I felt horrible and still do. But reading these comments make me feel less lonely and more human.

  • Candy

    On the heels of a 20 year long emotionally abusive relationship, I can now say that the worst parenting moments I’ve had involve the things I didn’t say. I will let their father be responsible for the things he has done and said, but when I chose not to intervene, I was causing my own damage. Never again. Fear and anxiety are logical in these situations, but no excuse.

    I am the luckiest mother in the world when I look at my 2 relatively healthy children and wonder where the heck they got all those coping skills. I learn from them every day, and I am a better parent because of them.

    Thank you God.

  • KathyatJunkDrawer

    My mother was that robot. Can’t remember a single time she flipped out. Does that mean I’m a calm and even-keeled person? No. In fact, I’m probably not because I didn’t want to be a robot myself.

  • Secho

    I can’t even bring myself to read these comments even though I want to because I don’t feel like starting the day bawling.

    Anyway, there’s a post on mothering.com where lots and lots of mothers share their not-so-shining moments.

    http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=394579&page=1

  • JJM-JJM

    Having water squirted in the face and flung into the bed?
    And you’re thinking that’s a worst-parenting moment?
    What?

    If that’s the worst, your kids have it incredibly easy. These are just stories of when things happened to go wrong and the kids happened to be there. If you’re beating yourself up over that, you love your kids too much.

    Ergo: you’re doing fine.

    Puts my own parents in a different light though!

  • greenplanner

    A child (or another adult for that matter) may easily feel physically threatened when no actual contact takes place. Getting in someone’s face, leaning toward or over them, and aggressive posturing all convey a threatening message. Yelling at a child is never okay.

  • Megan Ellen

    I’m not a parent (yet), but I do remember what I drove my own parents to on occasion, and also what my brother would do, which was much worse. Even saints are sorely tried at times.

    Those who say they have never done anything wrong with their kids are probably not being honest with themselves, and those are actually the only people I’d worry about. Those that make mistakes, own up, figure out how not to repeat it and move on are just being good, normal – but human – parents.

  • SOLO dot MOM

    Wow, if I got a dollar for every time I raised my voice at my kiddos; um well lets just say I could probably quit the day job.

    I am working on the “getting intense and raising my voice as a reaction” thing that I have going on. But when you have to repeat a statement/request about a dozen times… after a while… well lets just say each time gets a little louder, thinking they can’t HEAR me.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing as always, you remind us it is ok to be human… since we used to live with lions and all.

  • Lawnchair

    Oh you have all made me feel so much better. And so well timed. I rocked my son to sleep the other night bawling my eyes out thinking how do you even like me because I’m a yeller too. My mom was a yeller and we couldn’t have been any, any closer – so will it hurt our relationship? Not likely. I was telling someone at work about it the other day and they said, ‘you’re recognizing that you’re having an issue. the issue would be if you were yelling and didn’t see anything wrong with it.’ I like that advice. Hang in there everyone…we’re all doing awesome!

  • carolinagirl

    I had my moment just a few nights ago. My four year old son is the SLOWEST EATER EVER. Sometimes my husband and I are finished eating AND cleaning up the kitchen while my son is still at the table working on his half eaten meal. The other night, after a particularly long day at work, I didn’t have the patience for his slowness. After watching him chew the same bite of food for what seemed like an eternity, I slammed my fist down on the table and demanded that he swallow his food NOW! He insisted that he couldn’t because he was still chewing it and I in turn insisted again that he swallow it immediately! So he starts trying to force his food down all the while looking up at me with the most pitiful brown eyes you have ever seen. How ridiculous could I be, right? I felt horrible and scolded myself for hours.

  • kellic78

    Hubs and I don’t have children, but we are planning to embark on that journey after the summer of 2010 (OH ****, I JUST SAW A CALENDAR AND IT SAYS THE YEAR IS 2010!) Anyhow, I consider this blog my boot camp. While some of these community questions have made me double up on birth control (see “Toddler Tantrums”) others have offered reassurance. I CAN DO IT! I CAN DO IT! Thanks to Dooce and the Dooce community, I’m pretty confident I’m going to be “The Perfect Parent.” I’m kidding… but I have learned to remove the scowl off my face when my ears are assaulted by a toddler screaming in public, and now offer a sympathetic/understanding glance to the parent as I was instructed to do by my fellow community members. In reality, I’m like your little protege. When my toddler is throwing a fit at the supermarket, and I’m laying on the floor next to the cart, crying, in the fetal position, won’t you all be so proud???

  • dooce

    Yes, kellic78! Seriously, just hearing that you might think twice about scowling at a toddler tantrum justifies the existence of this community! AWESOME.

  • ladylozreena

    This is one of the few times I have ever commented on Dooce because I want to say that all you people who feel awful for yelling… stop it!
    It happens… Think about it some more…
    Did you physically hurt them? unlikely
    Did they learn to not do the thing you were shouting for? probably (even if it was something that they didn’t need to learn not to do!)
    If it was something not naughty or completely safe they still stopped probably and you know what…? Its good and healthy and safe that they know not to do something because you (the Parent!) have enforced it.
    Sometimes kids need to be told very forcefully that something shouldn’t happen. Maybe they were doing something dangerous or disrespectful or painful… If you just lost it because they were being “annoying” then maybe you need some time away somehow to get some perspective but at least you can learn from THAT fact too.
    Most parents shout. Most kids remember it. Most “normal” families grow up and the kids have a healthy respect for their parents which is – in part – fear and awe. As a parent thats what you sign up to. Wait til they are in their 30′s before you can be friends and equals. Right now… relax when you can and talk to them about what they are doing to make you shout… when you are calmer.
    You are good parents.

  • SusanMD

    I’m trying hard, this new year, not to yell at my kids. When I feel my blood pressure starting to boil, however, it comes out more as very loud, high-pitched talking with sort of a sing-song melody to it. Trying to convince self it’s not the same as yelling.